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Affordable yet satisfying fare at eatery serving fusion food in Penang.

ESOTICO CAFE
50 Jalan Sungai Tiram 3
Penang
Reservations: 04-611 9593
Open 10.30am to 10pm daily, except Wednesdays
Pork-free

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THERE is much to savour at Esotico Cafe, a fusion eatery dishing up a selection of Western fare alongside Oriental favourites.

Located in a row of shophouses along Jalan Sungai Tiram 3, Bayan Lepas, Penang, the cafe has a name that is derived from the Italian word for “exotic”.

The name also refers to the Italian and European-inspired offerings that make up most of its menu.

These include the pasta selection which includes Spaghetti Bolognese, Carbonara, Aglio Olio or Seafood Napolitan, as well as the Seafood Lasagna.

The prices are very affordable, ranging from RM9.60 to RM15.10.

The Italian Fish (RM12.90) and Italian Chicken (RM13.90) are crowd favourites. Both are layered with tuna and topped with mozzarella and cheddar cheeses, and grilled golden brown.

Its complementary flavours and contrasting textures in the mouth make it a delightful treat for almost all who tried it, according to head chef H.S. Chew.

He has worked in the Netherlands and the experience there provided a wealth of inspiration which he uses to improvise Dutch-inspired dishes to suit local palates.

These include the Dutch Onion Lamb Steak (RM21.70), or Dutch Onion Ribeye Steak (RM23.90).

For a signature offering, look no further than the Esotico Chicken (RM10.10), a succulent poultry fillet lathered in a creamy and cheesy, cheddar-infused gravy.

There is also the Esotico Fish (RM9.60), should one desire a seafood variant instead.

Other must-try items include the Grilled Garlic Butter Chicken (RM9.60), Fish Cordon Bleu (RM12.90), Grilled Salmon (RM20.60), Lamb Shank (RM31.60), and Hungarian Beef Goulash (RM16.20).

Currently, there is a promotion allowing diners who order a main course and drink to add a Chicken or Mushroom Cream Soup, for only RM1.50 extra.

Rounding out the a la carte menu are tasty Oriental offerings such as Fried Noodles, Fried Rice, Kung Po Chicken Rice, Kam Heong Chicken Rice, and Mee Udang, all priced between RM6.60 and RM12.

There are also Lunch and Dinner Sets priced at RM19.90 for two, and RM36.90 for four pax.

The sets comprise three dishes, bowls of rice, and soup of the day.

For the first dish, choose between chicken or fish which can be prepared in either Kong Po, Sweet and Sour, Mushroom, Black Pepper, Jing Du, Sesame, Salad, Plum Sauce, Dry Curry or Black Bean styles.

Next, choose either tofu or egg option.

The tofu is available in Claypot, Thai Sauce Tofu, Minced Chicken and Mix Vege versions.

For the egg, there is Fu Yong Egg, Onion Egg or Tomato Fried Egg.

The third dish is a vegetable one, with the list including items such as Kailan in Sambal, Chinese Pak Choy, and Fried Bean Sprouts with Salted Fish.

The cosy cafe, which is rather popular with workers from surrounding offices and businesses, also serves value-for-money lunch sets priced at RM9.90 from 11am to 2pm daily.

The set consists of a main course, soup, drink and dessert.

Diners have 18 choices for the main, ranging from Sweet and Sour Chicken/Fish Rice, to Belacan Fried Rice and Oriental Fried Spaghetti – all great for a quick midday meal.

All prices are nett.

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