Around the corner from Queensbay mall in Bayan Lepas is this restaurant that serves high quality, really tasty Japanese cuisine. There’s an array of sushi and air-flown oysters that only need a dribble of lemon juice. However, it’s their teriyaki or Japanese barbecue, that steals the limelight.
Marinated in the delicate sweetness of the teriyaki soya sauce, meats, fish, juicy foie gras and yakitori (grilled skewered chicken pieces) are mouth-watering. The simplicity of lightly salted okra slices and grilled over the smouldering charcoal, is glorified. Prepared in this manner, okra keeps a tenderly crispy skin. Vino Vino’s skewered selections begin at RM3++. Dinner sets are from RM22++ while lunch sets are fom RM20++.
The open kitchen where skewers of yakitori are prepared
There’s a wide selection of wines, champagne and also a few Japanese single malt whisky, stemming from their wine distributor, Asiaeuro’s portfolio. To narrow down the intimidating choices of divine alcoholic beverages, it might be an idea to pair their fresh, crisp squid stuffed with fish roe that is served cold with fine-bubbled, dry Nicholas Feauillatte champagne. If you’re feeling a little adventurous, try the bubbly with the creamy, medium-rare teriyaki foie gras and be pleasantly surprised at what flavours play on your palate.
The velvety tannins of 2006 Chateau Pierre de Montinac available here will complement the teriyaki red meats well and the smoked duck pieces served with crackers. Don’t forget to slather on a dash of freshly ground wasabi on the duck. The result is a harmonious blend of texture from the food along with minerals and tannins from this choice of red.
Going for texture, the steamed abalone pieces marinated in teriyaki sauce lends a lightly chewy texture to a sip of crisp, dry and delicate Pouilly-Fuisse chardonnay. This wine seems to adore the crunch and slime of grilled okra too. A bite and sip of these two result in a cheeky burst of oak and smoke.
Vino Vino's newly revamped lounge upstairs
What’s different about Vino Vino is, it’s a playground for those who want to experiment with pairing food and drink due to the wide selection of wine available and the practical grilled skewers of meats and vegetables. The latter allows for multiple varieties of bites without over eating. This is, admittedly, a rare example of too much of a good thing is not bad at all. And for the teetotallers, besides enoying the cuisine on offer, their high-end tea selection from Tealeaves is simply divine.
For those wanting to exercise their vocal chords, their newly revamped lounge and a spacious karaoke den upstairs is a perfect venue with hundreds of songs that range from English to Japanese hits. Kitty Kaye
As featured in Time Out Penang's 50 things to do in Penang.