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Star: 6 August 2010
NESTLED amidst lush tropical foliage overlooking the coastline, the Tree Monkey at Tropical Spice Garden offers guests a unique jungle dining experience unlike any other.
Only just opened, it is accessible for walk-in diners via a separate entrance, or at the end of the trail for visitors to the spice garden in Teluk Bahang, Penang. Either way, one is bound to be charmed by its back-to-nature dining concept.
on a wooden platform, it affords panoramic views of the Andaman Sea, with
the gentle rumble of breaking waves within earshot. Dusky Leaf Monkeys
which prompted the outlets name roam freely among
the branches mere metres away.
and vista: Bite into delicious finger food like the Thai Tapas (front)
Its decor draws inspiration from traditional Balinese aesthetics, with imported hardwood tables and chairs complemented by an attap-covered gazebo and lounge. Even its construction leans heavily towards traditional methods and craftsmanship, using almost no nails at all.
The Tree Monkeys proprietors describe it as a hidden secret, just waiting to be discovered. Rustic and laid back, its the ideal spot to relax and unwind from the stresses of city life, whilst being one with nature.
Their pork-free menu is a mixture of Northeastern Thai, Asian and Western cuisines, complemented by a great selection of beverages to suit every palette.
Nam Tok: A refreshing
Being so close to the spice garden also has its benefits. Besides the gentle whiffs of aroma emanating with every gust of wind, it also allows the restaurants chefs access to the finest herbs and aromatics, and straight into the kitchen.
Those who walk around the spice garden will be pleasantly surprised to find the exact same aromatics in their dishes when they stop to grab a bite.
Even the drinks are spiced up. Two of their signature beverages, the Spiced Coffee and Spiced Tea, are infused with ginger, star anise, cinnamon, cloves and cardamom. Its a distinctly different flavour twist on your favourite cuppa.
One of the crowd favourites is the Thai Tapas an Asian incarnation of the quintessential Spanish snack food. Ideally enjoyed in the company of friends, diners can pick and choose their own combinations.
options include the Mussels Salsa, Prawn Sarong, Lemongrass Skewer or
Thai Minced Chicken on Toast, among others.
Another Spanish classic accorded an oriental twist is the Asian Paella, served with squids, prawns, fish and mussels.
Otherwise, one can indulge in flavours a little closer to home with dishes like the Nam Tok (northeastern Thai beef salad), Mian Kham (spices roll), Tom Yam, Thai Green Curry, or the Tumeric Rice with Chicken Masaman Curry.
Come evening, a gorgeous sunset looms just over the horizon. The night time ambience is rather different, and a good Northeastern Thai Barbecue should have the taste buds salivating.
Spanish inspired: The Asian Paella with rice, squid, prawns, fish and mussels.
Wonderfully chargrilled cuts of poultry, beef and seafood are complemented with equally delightful homemade sauces.
The restaurant, which is equipped with WiFi and can cater for up to 75 pax, is also available for functions, weddings, parties and birthday celebrations. Menus can be customised for guests, with a buffet option for groups above 50.
The Tree Monkey at Tropical Spice Garden is located at Lone Crag Villa, Lot 595 Mukim 2, Jalan Teluk Bahang. Theyre open daily from 9am till late at nigh.
call 04-8813494 or log on to www.treemonkey.com.my.
Straits Times: 4 September 2010
MONKEY - Back to nature
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Tree Monkey @ Tropical Spice Garden, Lone Crag Villa, Lot 595 Mukim 2, Jalan Teluk Bahang, 11100 Penang, Malaysia
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