On Wednesday, September 16, we four had a fun evening and tasty dinner at Pinang, located in the Shoppes at Louviers on Papermill Road, Newark. (http://www.eatpinang.com/)First impression on entering the restaurant was that it is an attractive room with well spaced tables. Décor is sleek and understated. None of the kitsch one so often sees in Eastern/Oriental restaurants. Music played unobtrusively in the background. Since it was a weeknight, the restaurant was not full, so we couldn’t really judge the acoustics but there were a fair numbers of diners there and we didn’t notice any excessive noise – especially since we were making plenty of it ourselves!
Service was attentive without being pushy and we were certainly not rushed. Our server was quite patient with the indecisiveness of four newbies to Malay cuisine. We had checked out the menu online before heading out; good thing, because it goes on and on and on. Plus there were specials listed on a blackboard by the door to throw another wrench in our decisions. Although Pinang offers Pan-Asian choices, we wanted to keep our selections as strictly Malaysian as possible. Here are our choices and our opinions:
Mussels in a soup flavored with curry and coconut: This was a special that night. The mussels were the large New Zealand green mussels—really too big to eat in one bite. We all found the mussels to be overcooked and dry, but couldn’t stop slurping up the delicious broth.
Roti Canai: Delicious!! These pancakes served with a potato-curry-chicken dipping sauce were a hit with all of us. The pancakes were tender and not at all greasy; the sauce so good you were sorry when it was gone.
Baby Oyster Omelette: No skimping on the oysters here. It was generally liked and the sauce served with it was a great complement. But none of us liked this dish as much as we did the Roti Canai.
Beef Rendang: A traditional beef preparation, slow cooked with spices, lemongrass and coconut milk, and served with a garnish of sliced cucumbers. It got mixed reviews. Some felt the beef was a bit dry and stringy; others enjoyed the combination of textures and flavor.
Malaysian Buddhist: We felt righteous: we ate our veggies and healthy protein with this dish of mixed vegetables and bean curd. But it lacked “Wow” and was pretty uniformly the overall least enjoyed dish. Not offensive – just boring.
Green Nasi Lemak: Hands down, the favorite dish of the evening. Coconut fried rice with shrimp, eggs, veggies and a ginger sauce. We left a clean plate!
The kitchen will adjust the spice levels of all menu items based on your desires, so do not fear all the dishes listed as “hot and spicy”. Drinks include beer, wine by the glass and Malaysian iced tea and iced coffee. Most menu options are quite reasonably priced.
Bottom line: we look forward to going back to Pinang. There’s so much more to try!