Passable burger but the beer saved the day
I kept my birthday under wraps even before I moved to Penang, a foodie paradise located off the northwestern coast of Malaysia. But despite my attempts at anonymity in this new place, someone at work still managed to find out the exact date.
It was a Monday when one of my colleagues randomly asked what my dinner plans were for my birthday. He added that if I don’t have one yet, then maybe we can have a pint or two right after work.
“You could not have known,” I answered. “It’s not in my Facebook or Linkedin.”
“I happen to have a well-informed source,” he replied.
That is the quick backstory as to how I ended up at Beer Factory for my birthday this year. (Why I moved to Penang – this will be a subject for a future blog entry). I’ve been told that this is one of the livelier restobars in this part of the island. They do have two other branches in Penang (George Town and Butterworth) and several more across the country.
We arrived to an almost empty space that had a generous display of the Jalur Gemilang, the Malaysian flag. Aside from the back-to-back national holidays, Malaysians have every reason to be unabashedly patriotic and proud, especially after a historic election a few months ago.
The crowds steadily came in thereafter and before we even realized it, the place was packed already.
We placed our orders as soon as we were seated. I had their Classic Beef Burger because I imagined that it would pair well with a glass of ice cold beer. It looked Instagram-friendly but tasted passable for its RM27 price.
I just felt that the patty begged for more fat for flavor and to make each bite juicier as well.
My friend ordered the Char Siew Aglio Olio, which was a dish I wished I had in retrospect. On his bowl was spaghetti sauteed with chilies, topped with char siew (sweetened pork) and garnished with cucumber slices for texture.
Although the restaurant has other interesting bar chow options such as the XOXO Baby Squid and the Heavenly Pork Ribs just to name a few, we really came to Beer Factory primarily for the beer.
The beer saved the day
Beer Factory offers the usual suspects, but we unanimously chose the Kilkenny, an Irish cream ale that evening. I liked it because it has a more rounded flavor and smoother finish compared to the more popular lager brands in these parts.
A pint of Kilkenny, however, does not come cheap. In fact all alcoholic beverages in Malaysia are quite pricey thanks to the country’s beer tax, which is said to be the second highest in the world. That by itself is a compelling reason to drink everything here in moderation.
I am way passed my binge-drinking sessions anyway. These days I just find satisfaction with just a properly poured pint or even a bottle of crappy brew. I look forward more to the company and the conversations that came with it. Speaking of which, I remember we talked about leaving the rendang alone (no one should be permitted to deconstruct it), which country has the best nasi lemak and my realizations now that I am a year wiser.
There are two takeaways here. First – everything is forgiven (should I say passable?) after a bottle of beer. I even began to appreciate the omelette on my burger and forgot that it reminded me of what I had for breakfast.
And finally, I’d like to think that I have a new friend now (one of many I hope), in a country that I seek to know more – one char kway teow, one laksa, one chendol, one burger and one beer at at time.
Summerton Bayan Indah,
Persiaran Bayan Indah,
11900 Bayan Lepas, Penang
+60 10 899 3535
Opens 4 PM onwards.