Although it has taken me a while, I have finally come to the realisation that restaurants in shopping centres will always be mediocre to bad. Most of them happen to be chains, and those that aren’t, well they’re really not that good. I know you’re thinking of *that* steakhouse in Westfield, but let’s face it, we only flock there because it’s halal. They really don’t serve the best steak in London. Which is why I’ve always been hesitant when it came to visiting Penang.

Penang is a Malaysian restaurant that has been around for a while in Shepherd’s Bush Westfield. I’ve heard rumours that it is one of the best Malaysians in London – I know, a shocking claim! Although I’ve been to quite a few Malaysians, I haven’t been to them all so thought why not try somewhere new, especially with all the positive reviews floating around.

The place was empty when we visited but it was a Monday evening. We got seated and ordered.

Chicken Satay [£7.50]

I couldn’t quite tell if this chicken satay was grilled or fried, but either way it had a slight crispy exterior that enveloped the juicy chicken. A few pieces were a little too chewy for my liking, but overall a decent satay.

Roti with Chicken Curry Sauce [£5.50]

Roti is a must order at any Malaysian establishment for me; it’s almost a benchmark to see how good the food really is alongside their nasi lemak (this is a personal view FYI). Rotis, for me, have to have those soft flaky layers that enclose all the butteriness without being too greasy, like a Malaysian croissant! Penang’s version was okay – it was quite greasy – and I personally would have preferred it to be softer like Roti King’s. The accompanying sauce was wonderfully aromatic and I enjoyed dunking the roti into this.

Nasi Lemak with Beef Rendang [£10.00]

Another classic Malaysian staple that is usually eaten for breakfast. A mound of coconut rice served alongside peanuts, anchovies, chilli sauce, .. I do prefer the version with boiled eggs but hey, I won’t be picky. The beef rendang was wonderfully soft and dark, with an explosion of flavour in each bite, and tasted great when combined with all the elements on the plate. This was perhaps one of the better dishes of the evening, but not one of the best nasi lemaks I have had.

Pak Choy with Oyster Sauce [£6.90]

This was BW’s order by the way, and I had no involvement in ordering any greens for our meal. The pak choy was sadly overcooked and forgettable.

The overall bill amounted to £37.58 for two people including drinks and service, so approximately £18.80 each – this meal was cheap as chips! Penang was a disappointment for me considering the notable hype on how this is one of the best Malaysian restaurants in London. I felt it lacked authenticity and family vibe that is given off by it’s much better competitors (Tukdin, Roti King, Rasa Sayang). It’s corny but you can see the passion behind some of the dishes these establishments push out to their diners and that is what Penang was lacking. But was it wrong of me to expect any better given that the restaurant is located in a shopping centre? Hmm.

What are your thoughts? What’s your favourite Malaysian in London?

Click here for Penang website.

Here are some better Malaysian options:

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