What happens when you marry good music and good Italian trattoria food? The answer is Soul Kitchen!
Soul Kitchen is our latest exciting food find, albeit not intentionally. We were driving around the historical enclave of the beautiful Georgetown city when we noticed the shutters at the good old Green House at Muntri Street open. If you remember the Green House, it was a small yet famous eatery owned by an Australian couple who were living in Penang under the Malaysia My Second Home (MM2H) program. Disbelieved, we parked our car and walked back to confirm. And true enough, the place was really open but this time it is a different eatery, it's an Italian trattoria.
"A trattoria is an Italian-style eating establishment, less formal than a ristorante, but more formal than an osteria. There are generally no printed menus, the service is casual, wine is sold by the decanter rather than the bottle, prices are low, and the emphasis is on a steady clientele rather than on haute cuisine. The food is modest but plentiful (mostly following regional and local recipes) and in some instances is even served family-style (i.e. at common tables)." (Source: Wikipedia)
P/S: I don't think I saw wine on the drinks menu but they do have quite a variety of drinks including home made fruit smoothies
Now let me tell you a little bit about the people behind this new establishment. Soul Kitchen is the brainchild of a Malaysian-German wife and husband team. Michelle Yim and Tonio Neuhaus spent many years in Berlin before deciding to move to Penang island after a chanced encounter with the island a few years ago. They did not finally move here until last year when they found this place at Muntri Street. After months of preparation, Soul Kitchen is finally open a few days ago on 15 June.
Tonio is a music band Manager so that explains his love for music and why music is the soul of this Italian eatery. Tonio and Michelle both loved Italian food so it made perfect sense for them to open an Italian cafe. Soul Kitchen is about good Italian home cooked food and good music.
Michelle and Tonio did a great job to the place. The design is chic with a touch of retro, simple and yet sophisticated. If you have been to the old Green House, you would have noticed that quite a lot of revamp has been done to the design of the place. The setting is relaxed with nice music playing in the background.
|Menu scribbled on blackboard|
Their specialties are grilled sandwiches (Tramezzini), pasta and dessert with daily specials. They also have a different breakfast menu. They are mainly targetting the lunch crowd from around the area and more, so if you want to be a little more adventurous for lunch, try Soul Kitchen for a change.
|Interesting postcards hanging on a clothsline adorning the wall|
|A 50s Berlin briefcase with travel guides and books|
|Iced Latte (RM7)|
|Papaya Orange Smoothie (RM7)|
It was nice of Michelle to advise us against the Banana Apple Orange Smoothie as the banana was not too ripe that day. She recommended the Papaya Orange instead which was an interesting combination.
|Special of the Day: Italian Entree - Marinated Capsicum and Eggplant (RM7)|
We saw on the menu board that the entree was the special of the day and ordered with Michelle's high recommendation and wow, did we love it! The marinated capsicum and eggplant were fully infused with balsamic vinegar and olive oil, dressed with pepper and basil.
|Lemon Chicken Tramezzini with Roasted Balsamic Garlic Sauce (RM10)|
A Tramezzini is a triangular sandwich constructed from two slices of soft bread. I read from somewhere that a Tramezzini is the elegant Italian version of the club sandwich. At Soul Kitchen, the sandwich is offered with a variety of fillings and sauces and pressed with a panini maker. The bread is also home made by Tonio and Michelle.
Hubs just loved the tangy lemon chicken with the roasted balsamic garlic sauce. You could tell the abundance of cheese from the way the cheese slowly oozed out from the sandwich. Yummy...
|Spaghetti Anchovies (RM9 after the 50% opening discount)|
Hubs loves anchovies so we didn't have to think twice before ordering, especially after Michelle gave her affirmation. The pasta turned out to be interesting with a combination of anchovies and raisins. The achovies were the deep fried version cooked with sauce with a lot of similarities to the 'ikan bilis' that you find in our Nasi Lemak. I thought it was nice of Soul Kitchen to localize the pasta dish but I didn't know until later that this is actually a Sicilian style pasta. Toni is quite sure this pasta dish will go well with Malaysians.
|Portobello Mushrooms Tramezzini with Sweet Onion Sauce (RM10)|
This is my personal favourite. I simply just loved the combination of juicy and chunky portobello mushrooms with cheese and the sweet onion sauce.
P/S: Ask Tonio or Michelle for recommendations on the filling and sauce combination and they will gladly oblige :)
Tonio mentioned that their tiramisu is not to be missed and we could understand why after we had ours. They make their own mascapone cheese used in the tiramisu. Apparently even their French neighbour gave her thumbs up.
|They are currently also running a Dessert Attack promotion with a free tiramisu for every coffee ordered (while promotion lasts)|
|Creme Caramel (RM10)|
Creme Caramel is another dessert high on Soul Kitchen's list of specialties. Hubs simply loved the firm texture of the caramel custard.
|Michelle and Tonio|
|Forrest, their pet dog|
*** Latest updates from Michelle and Tonio (as at 5 July 2010) ***
They have extended their business hours to 9 pm. They are now open from 10 am to 2 pm and from 6pm to 9 pm daily except for Tuesdays when they are closed for business.
If there are customers, they will also extend the lunch and dinner hours (that means they don't send anyone away!).
Please feel free to give them a call to discuss about private or closed functions. (P/S: They already had some groups of travellers coming in at 7 am for breakfast, since they had to leave at 8 am)
102 Lebuh Muntri
10200 Georgetown, Penang
(opposite Hainan Association)
Tel: 04-2613118 / 012-5943522
|Staircase leading to their personal living space|
More great photos courtesy of Soul Kitchen: