Vintage Bulgaria1 Apr 2011
Tucked between a busy 7-11 and boisterous German pub, Ingolff, is the unassuming and rather quaint Vintage Bulgaria. Easy to miss but for the distinctive white, green and red stripes on the signboard.
On the threshold you are faced with two choices: upstairs with easy access to the bar or downstairs for a cosy, intimate setting by the fireplace.
The interior, like most traditional European restaurants, is warm, woody with muted colours and bits of traditional craft, most notably a number of colourful hand-woven wall hangings that depicted images of provincial life.
We head upstairs, pick a table and whisk through the menu. Bulgarian cuisine is not something you come across very often (in fact it’s the only such restaurant in Southeast Asia) so despite the English translations, expert advice was eagerly sought.
Trusting the proprietor’s recommendations we start with their signature ‘Vintage’ garlic bread and shopska salad. The crunchy garlic bread was a real treat as it was topped with gooey mozzarella cheese and the salad—a mix of tomatoes, cucumbers and peppers—did not skimp on feta cubes.
Sticking to signature dishes, we order baby back pork ribs and Bulgarian shashlik. The rack of pork ribs came roasted and smoked in a homemade barbeque sauce with a portion of red cabbage (similar to sauerkraut) to complement the sweetness of the sauce.
The meat was so tender it was truly melt in your mouth, and there was more than enough to share. Likewise the shashlik, with its foot-long skewer of grilled succulent, boneless chunks of chicken and vegetables, served with a dollop of creamy mash.
Two hours on and we were still ploughing through the baby ribs giving up only because we had to be somewhere else.
We finished off with some coffee to keep the carb-induced lethargy at bay and say farewell to the last couple of ribs. Ten minutes later we walk out, take-away bag in hand—for the midnight munchies of course.
11E Jalan Sungei Kelian,
Tanjung Bungah, Penang.
Tel: 04–8981 890