The Booze Blog Portal - Alcohol, Bars, Malaysia and Beyond.

04 June 2015

Launch: Inch (and Plates) @ Jalan Muntri, Penang

So, I mentioned in passing on my Insta Weekly update that I was invited for the official launch of Inch (and Plates) over a couple of months ago to check out their new place. Let me give you a quick tour of the place before we dive into my favourite topic - their beverage menu.

Located at one of the popular tourist / backpacker areas, 44 Muntri Street in Penang; Inch and Plates (which are sibling restaurants conjoined by the bar), are the newest ventures by one of the owners from The Bee, Adrian Yap.

As you can see from the entrance, it's a pre-war shop lot and is actually a UNESCO World Heritage Site. You can't miss its striking red door against its pretty sky blue painted walls. They took the effort to maintain quite a bit of the original structure - especially the wooden bits. I suspect that the tiles at the entrance is also an original peranakan design too (correct me if I'm wrong).

Pre-war shoplots are generally narrow with an unusually long interior. Plates is located at the entrance and serves the casual breakfast/brunch/lunch crowd with its third wave cafe menu which you hippy coffee joint lovers would be familiar with. When I was there, it was hosting an all-you-can drink Cava & brunch promo for RM80 from April to May in conjunction with its opening. What a steal! But at time of publication, it's over liao! Sorry! :P

Keep walking and you'll pass by this lovely conjoined bar I was talking about earlier. This bar has its own chairs for you to hang out in but they also serve booze to both Inch & Plates. I love everything about it. Look at the floor to ceiling bar back! Look at all those bottles filling up the cabinet space! The quaint chairs! the moody lighting! the natural sunlight from the sunroof! The marble (or is it stone?) bar top! So many exclamation marks! Can you not see how excited I am!

The bar serves GAB stuff on tap and in bottles. It's a full bar with everything you want here - expect your familiar spirit & liqueur brands, red & white wines and even handful of cocktails with a twist. But we'll get to the cocktails in detail a little later.

Walk in a little more and you'll enter Plates' sibling - Inch. While Plates is opened when the sun is up, Inch takes over when the sun goes down catering to imbibers from dinner to supper. Surrounded with colourful wooden panels, it's easy to see that Inch is a little hippier, a little quirkier than Plates which had a more nostalgic feel to it.

Right at the end of Inch, is the shared semi-open kitchen. Oh, don't worry, there's even an upstairs, spacious section for Inch to cater to bigger groups.

Inch is short for Indo China, so expect an eclectic mix of South East Asian cuisine featuring lots of sweet, sour and spicy flavours in their snacks, desserts and mains. It's street food meet fine dining in a casual, easy-going atmosphere.

All the beautiful craft beers by Taps Beer Bar

In conjunction with Inch's launch party, Tap's craft beers (invited as guests for the event and a little bird told me that they may make their beers available at this joint) were paired with a sampling of their menu. The food we tasted were exactly what it promises it would be - a combination of sweet, sour and spicy. Big, bold, punchy flavours full of yum.

But let's move on to the star in my books: Their cocktails and something cleverly called Gintonication.

Gintonication: Bombay Sapphire infused with different flavours. LH: grapefuit. RH:lemongrass kaffir. YUM. 
I'm sure you can guess that Gintonication is basically a play of words from Gin and Tonic (RM25). In Inch, they take the GnT a step further by infusing their gin (Bombay Sapphire) with different flavours to allow you to customise your GnT with the taste you prefer. There are 4 to choose from - 1) grapefruit 2) pomelo 3) nutmeg 4) lemongrass kaffir.

Gintonication, if I dare to warrant a guess, is basically Inch's simpler version of the Spanish GnT - they are even served in a large, classy balloon glasses (like how a Spanish GnT should be served in). It's extremely popular with the patrons because it's downright delicious and thirst quenching. Excellent for angmoh tourist to beat the hot & humid Malaysia weather. I had the grapefruit and lemongrass kaffir - they were both absolutely yum!

On to the cocktails (RM25 each) now.

Firstly, please don't expect to find pretentious, experimental (Looking for molecular mixology cocktails? Do not pass go, do not collect 200 bucks. Just go away you ostentatious twat!) cocktails with over-the-top garnish here. The drinks are generally straightforward, unimposing, and basically good-ol'-fashion tasty stuff featuring local ingredients, created to go very well with the food menu and even on its own. All cocktails use a standard 45ml (1.5 shots) pour for its main spirit.

From L-R: Aloe Vera Margarita, Muntri Mule, Bourbon Fruit Splash, Nutmeg Tom Collins, Inch Pisco Sour.
(Image: Inch)
Aloe Vera Margarita: The tequila is infused with aloe vera cubes and the end product is yum! Who would've thought that aloe vera would go so well with agave! It's not unlike your usual margarita but with an unmistakable hint of aloe vera. Easy to drink and not surprisingly, one of the more popular drinks.

Mutri Mule: vodka, kasturi lime, ginger ale, ginger cordial. It's basically a mule but with a limau kasturi twist. We tested this drink on someone who didn't like alcohol and she said that it was so easy to drink and detected no hint of the "alcohol taste". Like the Aloe Vera Margartia, it's another fast moving one.

Bourbon Fruit Splash: Bourbon, peach & passionfruit infused tea. Tastes just like fruity tea!

Nutmeg Tom Collins: A twist to the classic Tom Collins. What makes this so special is that the gin is actually infused with nutmeg (a nod to its Penang birthplace, as nutmeg is a native Penang spice). If you're one who actually enjoys eating or drinking nutmeg, or just plain curious as to what nutmeg tastes like, this one's PERFECT for you.

Inch Pisco Sour: Made with pisco, coriander, pineapple, black pepper, lemon & sugar. Unfortunately I did not get to try this but from the exotic ingredients listed, it sounds incredibly exciting. I'll update this paragraph once I get my hands on some!

Fancy Pants (not pictured): An aperitif (a liquid appetizer before your meal) made with homemade Rooibos infused vermouth, vanilla syrup & grapefruit. Very strong and bold. If you are a discerning cocktail drinker with a mature palate and have a penchant for spirity drinks like the martini, negroni or americano - this one has your name on it. Definitely not for just anyone or the faint hearted. Only have this if you have the balls for a strong, manly one.

A quick shout out to the genius behind the drinks menu, CK, who generously indulged me with all cocktails to try. Thank you kind sir!

I have many happies.
And thanks for having me, Inch. I had such a lovely time! Can't wait to drop by again during my next Penang trip!

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