Happy...happy weekend :D So many people to thank to...
  • Thanks to Warren Tan & William Tan for organising a review at Tree Monkey.
  • Thanks to Emily for extending the invitation to me ;)
  • Thanks to Waco for the super SPEED ride!
  • Thanks to Criz and Cariso for sharing review informations.
Great job to CK Lam (Criz too!) in co-organising the event. Haven't visited this corner of the island for ages. Time to have some good food and good fun!

Tree Monkey is located at Teluk Bahang (Penang), sharing the same area with Tropical Spice Garden (which have recently been chosen as the 'Speed Bump' place for Amazing Race).

Tree Monkey claims to be a "Back to Nature" Alfresco Restaurant. Below are some random nature shots. FYI, we have to pay for entering the Tropical Spice Garden. There is an entrail to the garden through the back door of the restaurant.

There is also a boutique for visitors to get some souvenirs. Those Sandalwood Soaps looked really classic eh?

Below are my snapshots of the restaurant. According to Mr. Patt, the furnitures were imported all the way from Chiang Mai. From what I've seen, there is a particular table that is made of whole wood. Also there are many items salvaged from old torn down pre-war houses such as the wooden doors, granite steps at the backyard and the tiles at the entrance of the boutique.

No nails were used at time of building the place. The whole area is build using the timber-framing way.

It was great to know the boss, Mr. Patt Khor and person-in-charge Ms. Wisakha has taken great care in setting up the review area. I believe any customers who walks in would be treated similarly ;)

Those glasses of drinks served on the table were our welcome drink, Sunset Paradise - RM10.00 (only available from 6.00pm-7.00pm) Interesting isn't it? Drink with a time frame? First time hearing it. Sun was setting while we had our drinks, feels great. I did not capture the sunset view because my camera will not do justice to the beautiful scene.

Judging from the deco, Sunset Paradise should be a mixture of pineapple juice and orange juice? Anyway, the sweetness was just nice and a cooling drink.

First off...

Thai Tapas (choose any types of appetizers served with sweet chili sauce)
8pcs - RM30
12 pcs - RM45
16 pcs - RM60 (max 4 pcs on each item)

There are 12 choices for the appetizers listed in the menu:
Thai Toast, Money Bag, Herbs Chicken, Spring Roll, Pandan Chicken, Otak-otak, Mussels Salsa, Lemongrass Stick, Prawn Sarong, Prawn Sabai, Thai Fish Cake & Darling Crab.

On that day, only 11 pieces were served to us as Darling Crab was not available.

The owner had mentioned that all of their 4 chefs came from North-east Thailand. Their food are well known to be less oily than their southern counterpart. This applies on their fried finger food too. Not greasy at all.

Their Otak-Otak was different from what you would get at other places. The taste emphasized more on the coconut cream rather than eggs. Its not very herb-by because they do not use Daun kaduk (Wild Pepper / Piper Sarmentosum). They used sotong for this Otak-Otak and its not rubbery at all.

My personal favourite appetizer would be Mussels Salsa. So appetizing! I can't really stomach mussels without seasoning. There would be this fishy kind of smell to it. However, the addition of salsa to the mussel makes it a whole new different story. On the first bite, you can definitely taste the strong Thai Basil leaves. Then along the way, some garlic bits and ending with a medium-spicy note to it. Lovely...

It certainly increased my appetite for next dish :D

Before I forget, it seems that every plate of tapas that were served to us had a different fruit/vege carving to it ;) Pretty...

Let's move on to the next meal...

Asian Tapas (Choose any dishes, served with 2 Tumeric Rice)
8 dishes @ RM60, 12 dishes @ RM90 (max 2 dishes on each item)

Again, there are 12 choices for the Asian Tapas listed in the menu:
Mango Salad, Satay, Nam Tok, Crispy Herbs Fish, Chili Paste Prawn, Sweet Bean Curd, Kang Kung Belacan, Son In Law Egg, Masaman Curry, Panaeng Curry, Tomyum Soup & Tomkha Soup

Not overly sour and I think there were hints of papaya?

Ms. Wisakha mentioned that the fresh herbs used in all their dishes came from Tropical Spice Garden. They have one of the best gardens in Penang as their backyard. I don't see why shouldn't they do so ;)

Among my favourites are Nam Tok (Grilled beef) and Panaeng Curry (the one that taste like Otak. if wrong please someone correct me :P) The beef are simply great. None of the beef slices were tough and dry! Nam Tok's beef has a light smokey flavour to it, seasoned minimally with ground peanuts and onions. That allowed us to taste the beef's natural taste.

Panaeng Curry on the other hand was flavourful. Imagine eating Otak made of beef. The meat was soft, smooth and tender. Cariso, Lingzie and I were happily chomping up all the beef (both Nam Tok and Panaeng Curry) from the other tables :D

Tomyum Soup was nice. Pretty close to the Tomyum I had back at Phuket. Sourish spicy but not too spicy. Very flavourful. The prawns, sotong and oyster mushroom were all cooked just nice. No signs of rubbery carved squid or shrinked prawns. I actually finished my plate of tumeric rice with just the soup alone.

Tomkha on the otherhand was much milder in terms of spiciness. The coconut milk added, cuts the spiciness to a minimum level. The chicken was definitely the highlight of Tomkha Soup. It was so damn smooth and soft that Waco would believe it's fish if we told him so :P

I am a fan of herb rice. I've tried Nasi Ulam, Nasi Kerabu and our local style Nasi Kunyit. But never Nasi Kunyit added with Coriander. Fortunately they only added a little bit to the rice giving it a different depth of flavour. Something I never thought of. The rice goes really well with Tom Yam :D

Finally the Thai Coconut Ice Cream (RM8.80) dessert was served to save us from all the heat and flavours that went on. Super smooth indeed. Topped with my favourite fruits, jackfruit and attap chee (attap palm seeds/buah nipah/Nypa fruticans). Jackfruit used was slightly overripe thus heightens the overall flavour of the ice cream.

To wrap things up, Spice Tea/Coffee with Condensed Milk (Hot or Cold) - RM8.00 were served.

Brewed with spices, thus the strong Cardamom seed flavour in both drinks. As for coffee, the Cardamom taste hits first then the coffee flavour seeps in. All in all, the hot spiced drinks did a great job in removing my bad breath after having a number of dishes with garlic.

Great outing indeed. It was like a gathering with a lot of catching up. Absolutely great way to end my weekend.

For those who are planning to have a meal at Tree Monkey, its best to call up to make reservation.

Tree Monkey @ Tropical Spice Garden
Lone Craig Villa, Lot 595,
Mukim 2, Jalan Teluk Bahang,
11100 Penang.
Telefax: 604-881 3494
GPS: 5.463599, 100.229199

Additional info:
  • Business hours: 9.00am - 12.00 midnight daily
  • 80 pax capacity
  • WiFi available
  • Pork Free
  • Vegetarian available
  • Alcoholic beverages available (RM30 per bottle corkage charges)
  • 10% service charge would be applicable

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  1. Unknown // August 26, 2010 at 3:31 PM  

    wow.... dear, nice write up. ^-^ It was indeed a nice weekend.

  2. Cokeworld Citizen // August 26, 2010 at 8:31 PM  

    Food Paradise:
    You mean fast izzit lol...

  3. buzzingbee // August 26, 2010 at 9:12 PM  

    suddenly everyone seem to be in fast gear...posting-wise :P
    Gues I got to buck up hahaha

  4. cariso // August 26, 2010 at 11:27 PM  

    I love those angles that you took on the surrounding of the restaurant (slideshow). Can give tuition?! :)

  5. Cokeworld Citizen // August 27, 2010 at 7:43 AM  

    haha i simply write...not like others...

    Thank you lo...tuition? I dunno how to tuition you on it le :P Maybe start by seeing diff angles?

  6. ck lam // August 27, 2010 at 10:08 AM  

    Great write-up and attractive slide show! It was nice meeting up with you again :)

  7. Cokeworld Citizen // August 27, 2010 at 8:38 PM  

    CK: Hi! Thanks for the compliment :D Yeah, enjoyed chatting with you too.