Nights at Weissbrau are abuzz with a mixed crowd of younger folks socializing over some liquid lubrication, families supping on a nourishing meal and a gaggle of expats and locals conversing animatedly over lengthy dinners abetted into the wee hours with some frosty brew. While the crowd is diverse, what is unchanging is that they keep returning. 90% of the customers at Weissbrau are regulars.
If I lived in Penang I'd definitely be part of that reappearing percentage. Excellent food, a cheeky good humoured manager, spacious indoor/ outdoor seating options and cold cold drinks are a magnet. Both Chef Pascal Schnyder, and owner/ manager Wayne Yoon believe the key to first rate food is quality produce. As a result you'll see Wayne on site every day personally checking on goods delivered and kitchen standards. You'll find no artificial ingredients in any dish. Food is flavoured naturally with fresh herbs and even things such as mayonnaise are made from scratch. Both seem to have quite a dislike towards chemicals - no msg, no artificial flavourings, colourings or preservatives - just home made country style food. Weissbrau challenged my stereotype of porky German cuisine being fatty and unhealthy. It's quite the contrary at this restaurant - home style wholesome cooking with very little additional fat utilizing fresh unprocessed ingredients - eating here feels like Sunday at grandma's (even with the beer, my grandma enjoyed a few cold ones with her lunch).
Weissbrau's Caeser Salad has to be a contender for the best in town - CRISP Romaine leaves, tangy house made dressing (not drowning the lettuce but dobbed discretely adding moist blops of cream and tang), crunchy not oily croutons and of course real bacon bits. The Seamen's Style Mussels (Moule Mariniere) are an aquatic sensation - NZ mussels submerged in a steaming ocean of veges, herbs and white wine broth kept simmering in a flamed cast iron pot. The Herbed Smoked Sausages are superb and popular with westerners (Penangites relish the chili version) - packed with pork and garden herbs and accompanied by a sweet onion mustard gravy. You'll notice that the bangers are not uniform as they are hand piped into natural sheep casing rather than commercially produced plastic/ collagen (again showing dislike for anything artificial). Don't leave without trying the Crispy Pork Knuckle! It takes three days to prepare. Only the foreleg is used as it comprises more meat and less fat making for a more succulent and hearty cut. It's soaked in brine overnight, boiled 4-6 hours to extract the fat, naturally cooled another 4 - 6 hours in the pot allowing the herby stock to soak in, then pickled with mustard, chilled, and finally deep fried quickly just before serving to get the crispy exterior. Add red wine gravy, sauerkraut (shredded cabbage in white wine vinegar) and roesti (grated potato pan fried in clarified butter) and you have a meal that will keep you returning. For the final round, the super creamy Chocolate Mousse with Poached Pear is unbeatable - an intense bittersweet chocolate punch of velvety mousse, followed by a left hook of Hennessy VSOP and a right jab of nectarous pear and you've got yourself a knockout.
Nothing goes better with German food than German beer and Weissbrau will make drinkers very happy with their selection of cold brew. A solid range of bottled and draft brews are served cold and in customized glasses for each style. We tried the Mein Cristal by Schneider Weisse and found it to be the perfect refresher for hot tropical island weather and an ideal choice for the heat of the day. Switch over to Meime Blonde Weisse or the Unser Original as the sunlight fades and the evening beckons. For those who prefer a different drop, wine and spirits are readily available. Their house white, a Lyrebird Colombard Chardonnay 2008, is a soft round Australian chardonnay with classic tropical fruit flavours, and seems priced fairly at 24RM a glass or 118RM a bottle.
It's clear to see why Weissbrau is fast becoming a habitual haunt for foodies (and drinkies) on the island.
Reason to visit: Pork Knuckle, Seamen's Mussels, 'Korean waiter' Wayne, cold beer
You can see photos and more reviews of restaurants around Malaysia and the world at theyumlist.blogspot.com