Vintage Bulgaria, Penang

I marveled at the decor and ambiance as I stepped in.

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Such quaint interior and cosy cottage charm! Traditional artsy craft work and memorabilias dotted the walls, giving one a flitting glimpse into the cultural facade of Bulgaria, a country not much known by the world.

The mural on the wall by our table took my breath away. So beautiful and in such vivid gay colours too!

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Bulgaria is a country of 110,993 sq km, which is apprx 1/3 of Malaysia & boasted of the population number of 7.5mil.
Located in the Balkan Peninsular, it borders Romania which is at its north, Serbia and Montenegro and Macedonia to the west and Greece and Turkey at the south.

Here, in our little Penang island, the owner’s efforts to recreate and revive the bucolic feel of a cosy Bulgarian home back in her home country is deeply reflected in the outlet.

The woodwork, the bricks, the layout and the setting is painstakingly designed and leaves one in no doubt of the authenticity of the place. You do feel as if you have been teleported into a cosy Bulgarian home back in time and in Bulgaria itself.

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Rustic style interior rekindling the feel and vibes of an old Bulgarian home.

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Bulgarians, alike its European counterparts, customarily indulge in wine with their meals. Here in Vintage Bulgaria, a wide selection of wine is stocked in their wine cellar for your drinking pleasure.
Have your wine with your meal, or opt for a relaxing time sitting at the bar either upstairs or downstairs (they got two!) if you are here just for a drink. Your choice.

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Geographically, Bulgaria has large mountainous areas, fertile valleys, plains and a coastline of the Black Sea.
However, in a short conversation with the owner, my initial self-formed opinion that seafood would feature dominantly in Bulgarian cuisine was corrected. The sea, Silviya Georgieva explained, is too cold to provide much produce.
Their climate includes mild summers and cold, snowy winters. Its temperate climate provides the right growth conditions for a variety of vegetables, herbs and fruits.

Its cuisine, is eastern European with Mediterrenean influence, and salads are predominant. Every meal customarily starts with greens. As it is a cuisine influenced with the Greek & Mediterranean, their salads consists of typical key ingredients of tomatoes, cucumbers, olives, feta cheese and light dressings.

Meats are mostly roasted, grilled or oven baked. Their starch is provided for by the sides of potatoes & bread.

So one fine evening, we lucky group of Penang foodies congregate here for a night of gluttony, fun and comradeship.

foodies

Our 4th Penang Food Bloggers Gathering spurred into momentum with the first course of the most decadent seafood soup. (Not that the mushroom version were any less stellar, mind you)

An interesting mix of flaky fish meat and creamy based stock, it was very fresh and tasted of the sea. A must order, as it’s totally different from the common seafood bisque dished out at literally all western joints here!
If there’s a better seafood soup in our vicinity, I haven’t heard about it.

Their cream of mushroom is no wilt flower either.
Robust & wholesome, the chunky bits of mixed funghi with its smooth blend of well ratio-ed cream and stock was marvelous with the signature crusty ‘Vintage’ bread.

Soup

Almost 70% of us gluttons zeroed in on the Pork Knuckle (Bulgarian Pork Djolan) as our choice of main.
Rightfully so too, for the roasted arm was huge, with the mandatory gelatinous layer of fat, tender meat and crispy skin. What’s not to like??
One small vibe though, I personally felt that the flavour of the marination lacked full permeation into the inner parts of the meat & the accompanying gravy too sweet.
Nevertheless, I’m hard to please, so do ignore me πŸ˜‰

Pork Knuckle!

This is how we foodies eat. Watch and learn.

BEFORE.

& AFTER.
Pork Knuckle Bone
Another perennial favourite of the night, The Bulgarian Platter – Mixed grill trio of kebapche, kyofte & karnatche (traditional recipe of in-house homemade Bulgarian sausages and succulent pork fillet) would render any carnivorous diner deliriously happy.

The pork fillet was soft and succulent and to me, this is mention-worthy as I find pork fillets commonly served at dining outlets to be tough and slightly chewy- dry due to overcooking.
This, however, was perfectly done!

platter of sausages

The meat ball was huge. Grinded not too finely, it packs the satisfaction of sinking one’s teeth into real meat, & promptly be rewarded with rich meat juices oozing into your mouth.
The 2 sausages was just as good, both different in taste, low in sodium and hearty with spices & herbs.
The boiled potatoes that came with the platter was deceivingly spicy (it sure didnt look it right?) and a fellow blogger claims his tongue felt numb after a bite! Hehe..

For the hell of me, I can’t fathom the reason I ordered chicken that night.
Anyhow, my Chicken Stroganov wasn’t as bad as it looks (hey, after the knuckle and the ribs, you would have second thoughts too ok!).

Chic Stroganov

Boneless chicken drumstick cut into strips, cooked with mushrooms, wine, cream, herb and spices, this is a good choice for light dining. Not too creamy, the smooth and tasty sauce, fused very well with the chicken.
And from the picture above, you can see that I have given the side of mash potato utmost attention. That’s simply cos it was divine!
Smoky roasted potato, mashed with its jacket and blended with gravy.
So delicious!

Baked Cod fish with creamy Mushroom Sauce.
Delicious moist and so so FRESH sweet, soft flakes of oily cod. I should have ordered this!!
I totally heart this but there wasn’t much to go around that night as many of us ordered the knuckles and the platter.

cod-fish

Plovdiv Ribs.
Not unlike our local tai chow BBQ ribs, these marvellous ladders of sweet, caramelized outers and tender inners was nicely done.

Pork Ribs

Each of the sides for the mains deserves mention too. The ubiquitous steam broccoli, carrot and cauliflower was done right, soft (not overcooked) and buttery.

I noticed there were 2 different mash of potato, one which is moist, but minus any gravy, with rich buttery aroma and another (which I preferred) mashed with onions and gravy, with its jacket on, providing me the satisfaction of nibbling on roast-y potato skin.

The piquant side of chutney-like mix of cucumber, carrot and onions plus a small serving of sourish coleslaw with corn provides the palate a refreshing diversion from the savoury meats.

Of course, a break in between course are a must and I couldn’t help taking a picture of the doors to the wash area ;p

Fancy adding some Bulgarian words to your vocab??

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We bloggers are a lucky lot.

Courtesy of Dennie Yeap, of Winter Butterfly Homemade Cakes, we polished off a Strawberry Mousse Cheesecake, which was sublime with its moist cheesy sponge and fresh cream,

S'berry Mousse Cheesecake

an Oreo cheesecake which was REALLY rich and a Chocolate Brownie which I find to be a bit dry in texture but made up for its shortcoming with its decadent top layer of dark chocolate fudge.

Orea Cheese and Choc Cake

And yes, I repeat, we bloggers are a lucky lot.

Courtesy of Gelatissimo, we licked clean 5 tubs of gelato even before our desserts were served.
Thank you Mr Hong! The matcha gelato was fabulous!

Gelato by Gelatissimo

Bottom right pic above: Clockwise: Rum and Raisin, Matcha, Chocolate, Strawberry Cheesecake and Mango Sorbet.

After all that, our desserts were finally served.

Chocolate Soup.
This, to me was alike gourmet chocolate drink with ice cream. Think premier “milo” , as in richer, creamier and full bodied chocolate. Deliciously chilled & smooth.
My my my..even as a non-choc lover, I could have slurped up every drop of this!

choc soup

I ordered the Chocolate Creme Brulee, since I was curious .. “eggs and chocolate??”

Choc Creme Brule

The crackly caramelized surface hides the smooth and sublime eggy custard underneath.
I’m glad to report that this surpassed my expectations. It’s got the ideal ratio of eggs to chocolate where the taste of eggs and cream remains prominent to ascertain that it is indeed a creme brulee and yet with the flavour of chocolate still intact.
Scrumptious stuff!

And then there were camwhoring sessions..

The guy bloggers.

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Whose pics were taken by the girls photographers.

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We girls bloggers, had our pic then taken by the guys of course. But sorry no pic for now. (Ok, could any of you guys forward me a pic of us gals please??? )

The cool and quiet Silviya Georgieva and her friendly outlet Manager of Vintage Bulgaria.

owner & mgr

Hats off to the kitchen that night for the preparation of the food. More often than not, during such events, I get my food served lukewarm or cold, mainly due to the meals being mass produced and re-heated just before serving.
That night, service was a tad slow yes, but I do appreciate that the food served didn’t taste like it was prepared hours ago!

What we had above was a set dinner created especially for that night. At RM40/pax, it was a steal for such superb food.
But of course, this is NOT all that they have!
Vintage Bulgaria does an expansive menu, with some interesting dishes that includes “parts” eg, livers and onion, gizzards in butter and veal tripe with mushrooms.
Barbitarians rejoice!!

As with most European influenced meals, cheese, cream, wine, mushrooms, herbs are prominent in the preparation of the dishes here.

entrance

Location:
Vintage Bulgaria Restaurant & Bar
(next to Ingolf’s Kneipe German Restaurant)
1-E, Jalan Sg Kelian
Tanjung Bungah
Penang, Malaysia
Tel: +60-4-8981890

Business Hour : 12 pm to 12 midnight (last order at 10pm)

GPS Coordinates : N05 2753.9 E100 1732.8

Definitely worth a visit if you are in Penang..once you are done gorging yourself silly on Char Kuey Teow, Laksa and Chendol (& for some, Chee Cheong Fun) of course! ;p
I love the concept and the place is gorgeous!