The newest mall in town has quietly opened at the Newport City complex right infront of the Ninoy Aquino International Airport’s Terminal 3 (NAIA 3). This classy mall, which forms part of Resorts World Manila, is the latest addition to Manila’s list of high-end shopping destinations.
The Newport Mall features an attractive “open air” piazza on its second floor, and it’s connected by escalator to the ground level of Resorts World Casino, with its intimidating list of international luxury brand names. I put quotes on “open air” since it’s not actually open, but covered by a translucent roof, which gives it a wonderful “diffused” light all day long. The lights here are also attractive during the evening.
The “piazza level” is enclosed by upscale restaurants, with the likes of Mr. Kurosawa of Sumo Sam fame, Crisostomo of Chef Florabel Co, Krazy Garlik of TGI Friday’s and Italianni’s lineage ,and a UCC Terrace, among others whose names escape me as I’m writing this. The third floor has some upscale boutiques with the likes of The Travel Club, Lacoste Footwear, Guess and others, along with cafes such as Coffee Bean and Tea Leaf, and Crepes and Cream. The top floor meanwhile has four of the metro’s newest cinemas, along with some restaurants that cater more to movie-goers or those more budget conscious. Here you’ll find the likes of Cafe Mediterranean, Stacker’s Burger, Kopi Roti Express and even a McDonalds.
One restaurant on the cinema level roused my curiosity ever since the first time I saw it. The place is called Old Penang, and it had a simplistic, asian feel to it. Small round tables and small stools in uniform sizes make up the entire dining area, with the kitchen in full view behind it. They serve Malaysian hawker cuisine, and they do make some effort to present food the hawker way (meaning, devoid of any presentation whatsoever, and served on bare white plates).
Their menu is quite short, but I’m a fan of restaurants with short, non-confusing menus, and they have some of the more recognizable dishes from the Malay peninsula. They have two versions of Hainanese Chicken, the Nasi Lemak, Char Kway Teow, Hokkien Mee, and that Hokkien Mee variant with prawns (I guess Hae Mee?), among others that I can’t recall right now, plus drinks like milk tea or coffee with milk.
We had a seaweed soup, the roasted variant of Hainanese chicken rice, the char kway teow, a special fried rice, and the nasi lemak. I also had iced teh tarik to complete the Malaysian feel, while the rest of the group had various fruit shakes (can’t remember which fruits).
Everyone in our group of five (plus one little kid) was in agreement that they served good food. My personal favorite was the roasted hainanese chicken, since I adored the roasted skin, but the meat didn’t disappoint either. The rest of the group expressed delight on the char kway teow and the nasi lemak, though we felt the latter would probably be too greasy for one person to take down on his/her own (we shared all the food by the way). The seaweed soup and the fried rice weren’t far behind either, and I would recommend both to anyone visiting.
The teh tarik wasn’t bad either, even though I thought it looked a bit “pale” compared to what I imagined the color of teh tarik should be. I don’t know about the shakes, but nobody complained, so I take it that those didn’t disappoint either.
This being at the Newport Mall though, wishing for hawker-like prices would be wishful thinking, but at around 1,500 PHP for everything, I thought the price wasn’t bad.
It’s not hard to imagine finding myself back in Old Penang again. It certainly made a very good first impression on us.
* We had dinner at Old Penang on February 2011. All photos taken with Olympus E-420 and Zuiko 50mm f2.