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Saturday, November 23, 2013

Vino Vino Bistro Review @ Bay Avenue, Penang

Located right outside of Queensbay Mall, where its know as Bay Avenue, there lies this place called Vino Vino Bistro. Before I got inside, my first impression was that this looks like a typical bistro that have a good variety of drinks until I looked up and saw that there was this big signboard which says Yakitori. Then thoughts started running through my mind on what exactly does this place serve?
So lets step inside to find out more I said. On this invited review, I wasn't really sure what to expect of the Japanese food from such a classy bistro but as always, try and see lah. Inside the bistro, you will be amazed at their selection of wine and liquor and I got to know its because their parent company is one of the sole importers and that this outlet is one of the smallest after their flagship in Sabah. But this place feels really cozy and one can choose to be in the airconditioned comfort or outside watching the cars go by. There is also an upper floor section which also have a live performances on every Wednesday and Thursdays after 8pm. Well do continue to read on especially on me finding what amazing Japanese food they serve here besides having a fully loaded drinks menu!
Here is their info : 
Block H-10-1, Lorong Bayan Indah 2, Bay Avenue, 11900, Bayan Lepas, Penang, 11900, Malaysia
Phone:+60 4-645 9922

The exterior of the building with the outdoor seating area right in front
I can't wait to try out the Yakitori. Its made by Japanese chefs and also uses charcoal from Japan

Look at that well stocked bar!
And the whole wall of wine and liquor
The chef working his magic on the Yakitori
This one may look simple but getting the timing right is everything. Seeing his agility and speed is probably what sets him apart and gets the Yakitoris tasting good.
Still or sparkling water?
Or champagne? Apparently they have this called 1/4 champagne which is a nice change though its not cheap. Kind of like ordering champagne by the glasses

Some white wine to go with the sashimi later.
One of the better sashimis I have had in Penang. Yon Shu Mori at RM55. The fish were thickly slice and this really allow one to savor the sweetness of the fish. Its tuna and salmon here (2 different cuts) with butter fish as well. I thoroughly enjoyed this one and really wish there was more to go round.

Enoki Gyu Mai RM20 is enoki mushrooms wrapped with beef and even though I didn't try this one, it looks really delicious. The juices were just overflowing and it was snapped up really quick.

One item which I payed attention was the Sashimi Salad RM29. No doubt there were nice slices of sashimi to go with the salad but as a salad, I always focus on the vegetables and dressings first. This one fell short as it lacked that authentic Japanese salad dressing and opted for something more common like mayonnaise. It would have been a winner had it been like a miso or goma based dressing but again, the sashimi was good.

Now here comes a winner! This is the Sushi Yakitori Set where you get 5 pieces of sushi and 3 sticks of Yakitori. At RM39, this one is well worth it and it was heavenly. Why do I say that, well, just look at the pictures of the sushi. Thick and long slices of fresh fish enveloping the sushi rice is all that is needed to show what a great piece of sushi this is. Its not very often one gets such well made sushi and the ones here are top notch!
Just look at those pieces of sushi! Looking at it makes my mouth open wide
The best part is that its a complete meal when you add the 3 more pieces of Yakitori which we will get to very soon
Another interesting item is the Ebi Renkon Age at RM15. This is deep fried lotus root and I was first thinking that its really a thick piece of lotus root which is used but I was so wrong. The lotus root has actually been blended and mashed and then its made into these balls and deep fried.
I have to say that the aroma and flavor of the lotus root has been fully exploited as once you bite into it, the flavors come bursting out. Now, one tip though, as its fried and ladled with the sauce, you should eat this as soon as possible. Why I found this out was that there was half a piece which was left neglected and I had it after about 15 minutes and it became really soggy, though still wonderfully flavored.
Kinoko Foil Yaki @ RM15 is a BBQ mushroom platter wrapped in foil. There is 3 types of mushrooms in this combo and this would appeal to mushroom lovers (I so happen to be one). Its very simple yet as the mushrooms has been inside the foil while its cook, once open, the aroma, especially that of the shitake really hits the spot.
Add a dash of lemon juice to kick it up a notch
And finally, as the main signboard suggested, their signature Yakitori!
We had a sampler plate made for us so we could savour abit of what they had to offer. Its good to know that Yakitori is not just confined to meats but there is quite a number of vegetables as well. The Yakitori is simply seasoned with some salt and they are perfect with a beer or wine.
From left to right, we have as below :
Eringi (King Trumpet Mushroom) ~ RM3
Shitake Mushroom ~ RM3
Okura (Ladies Finger) ~ RM3
Tsukune Mentaiko (Chicken Meatball with Fish Row) ~ RM6
Tsukune Cheese (Chicken Meatball with Cheese) ~ RM6
Aspara Maki (Asparagus wrapped with Beef) ~ RM7
Aigamo Kushi (Duck Breast Meat) ~ RM7
Tebasaki (Chicken Wing) ~ RM6
Momo (Chicken Thigh) ~ RM5

I can safely say that Yakitori here is definitely scoring high points. Especially the smoke duck breast and chicken wings, these 2 were exceptionally good. The chicken wings would be like the number food to go with some ice cold beer as its not only crispy but the saltiness helps it tremendously. Yakitori fans should definitely check this place out
Another view of the Yakitori's
Tokusei Tsukune (Special Meatball, Chicken + Beef) ~ RM6 is one of their signature meatballs and its serve with a bowl of half boiled egg and what you do is that you dip the meatball into the egg and have it together. I had some of the egg and I can tell that this is a yummy meatball even though I didn't taste it. It was all juicy and all for sure.

This red wine went very well with the meaty Yakitoris
And now some photos of the Yakitoris being prepared
The chef paying 100% attention
For Japanese whicky fans, the Hibiki range here is amazing
So goes the wine as well
A couple of shots of the area on the upper floor
A much smaller but cozier bar
Ample sitting areas
There is even a karaoke function room which can be booked
Just mention The Macallan Room!
Cigars for a change?
This is how the ground floor looks like too. Very nice setting
And the Yakitori and Sushi Station
Overall, I was truly surprised as I never thought such high quality Japanese food can be had here especially when its not even advertised as a Japanese Restaurant. The food here would put many Japanese restaurants to shame and this place definitely won me over for their great food. There are of course some winners and losers but overall, theres more winners here for me and will surely return again.

1 comment :

  1. The wine vending machine was the main point we went there for dinner but we were told by the waitress that they don't have the vending machines for wine and we were asked to buy a whole bottle of champagne.
    The bill went to to RM980 for 6 person!! This is totally overpriced because we didn't even ordered any wine! And the service sucks, unfriendly waitress. Will definitely put this bistro on our blacklist.