Thursday, July 8, 2010

World Heritage Site: Penang...The Sire Restaurant and Bar

The island of Penang, also known as the Pearl of the Orient recently achieved the status of UNESCO's World Heritage Site. This is celebrated all over the island with almost every other building and establishment labelling themselves Heritage. One of the more interesting places to be so labelled is a peculiar restaurant and bar known as The Sire.

Located almost right smack in the middle of downtown Georgetown, this is reputed to be one of the residences of a famous Penangite: Yeap Chor Ee, who came to Malaysia as a peniless sin khek (slave labourer) and made his millions in industry, including once owning a bank – The Ban Hin Lee Bank, now part of CIMB.

This was his own house, before moving to a huge mansion known as The Homestead elsewhere on the island. The house is a supreme example of a peranakan household...long in its architectural design, with chambers for private and guest use.

A small restaurant is now being operated as one enters the nondescript terrace house. The decor is magnificent. Beautifully restored, it still looks almost as if Towkay Yeap still lived there. The open kitchen serves up Western cuisine, it features some standard fare. My sister who lives in Penang, says the food is not bad. But this evening, we were only there for some drinks. Mom had the hot chocholate, and I had an ice blended coffee.

This was a rather standard hot chocholate, but I must salute the barista for attempting a rather nice spider web as latte art.

But the main thrust of this article is to showcase the house. So as one ventures further into the bowels of the building, there is a museum hidden within. Free to tour, I took some secret photography allowed within...but it is such a shame not to tell about this beautiful house.

As one enters the main chamber, the guests are received in a palacial room...resplendent in antique mother of pearl peranakan furniture, it was a welcoming site. A beautiful cast iron sprial staircase leads one to a private study like mezzanine.

An antique barber chair adorns the mezzanine...Yeap was also known as Thee Thau Hokkien meaning Head Shaver Ee...referring to his initial profession as a barber.

Another view of the beautiful spiral staircase

Further upstairs, a typical peranakan style decor permeates:

And a dinining hall of sorts in the most elaborate carved and gilded furnishings:

Looking down from upstairs into the restaurant sitting area:

Beautiful, magnificent house, quite representative of how the rich lived. Must see.

House of Yeap Chor Ee - "The Sire" Museum & Restaurant
Address : 4, King Street, Georgetown 10200 Penang (back entrance)
or No. 4 Penang Street, 10200 Penang (front entrance)
Tel : 604-2645088

Operation hours:
11.30am ~ 3.00pm and 6.00pm ~ 10.30pm (Close on Sund

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