Healy Mac’s Irish Bar & Restaurant @ Greentown, IpohFebruary 4, 2012 | 22,718 views
Organic Pork Spare Ribs (RM36/USD12) @ Healy Mac’s, Greentown Ipoh – A stack of tender spare ribs falling off the bones; lightly basked in a sweetish marinade infused with the goodness of … Guinness.
Barely two weeks in operation, and rumour has it that Healy Mac’s in Greentown has taken over Berlin’s Bier Houz as THE watering hole of choice within the vicinity; possibly only second to the equally new Overtime on Brewster Road. If you’re getting a faint inkling of ‘just-another-fad’, I don’t blame you though. I had the same thought; what more with Airport @ De Garden closing down late last year, and pubs in Ipoh Garden East closing and new ones opening like how cineplexes rotate their movies.
But wait a minute. The name Healy Mac’s may sound unfamiliar, but the Irish bar and restaurant can boast of the legacy traced back to their roots in Ireland (story here); setting foot in Kuala Lumpur back in 2009 and now with outlets in Klang Valley, Penang and Perak.
A tad unorthodox to be visiting a bar during broad daylight? Blame it on the dearth of interesting new places in Ipoh (or maybe … the sheer laziness to hunt for one)
Accustomed to having early lunch (sometimes almost blurring the lines of brunch), we arrived at half past 12 in the afternoon. Only to be greeted by the sight of the workers all decked in bright green shirts (in-house leprechauns?) knee deep in their routines of setting up the place. They open from 1pm onwards actually, until about 2am on Fridays and Saturdays.
But we were politely ushered to our seats (a slight wait for them to set the table), and given a menu each to ponder upon. Only a few pages long; which is understandable given the nature of their cooking …. pub grubs + a few interesting mains + a whole different compilation of liquor selection.
Greek Soft Feta Cheese Salad (RM15/USD5) with anchovy-stuffed olives, roasted pine nuts, sun-dried tomatoes and aged balsamic vinegar dressing.
However, the array of starters and mains looked promising. They serve basic starters like soups, salads and bruschetta, with lighter options for mains such as panini and pasta. The poultry, fish and meat sections were well thought about; including a dedicated PORK section with organic pork knuckle, citrus marinated pork chop, sausage platter and the irresistible organic pork spare ribs.
We started off with a salad; comprising of fresh crunchy lettuce and sun-dried tomatoes tossed with roasted pine nuts, ripen black olives and anchovy-stuffed green ones, with cubes of feta cheese. Especially appreciate the abundance of pine nuts in the ensemble, yet the anchovy-stuffed olives were a bit too salty and overpowering.
The dining environment at Healy Mac’s is a comfortable one; with a semi al fresco seating area that’s best suited for an extended drinking session on lazy nights.
Louisiana Style Chicken Breast Panini with Cajun Seasoning, Melted Cheddar and red onion (RM20/USD7) – Served with a generous portion of thick-cut fries and salad
The panini came toasted, and filled with juicy bits of chicken breast (not dry like tree bark, thankfully) and melted cheese as well as diced onions. Relatively smaller in portion compare to the other mains, but suffice as a light lunch to lessen the post-lunch sluggishness. They did not skimp on the fries, though would be best if you request for the fries to be lightly salted or without.
Traditional Irish Lamb Stew (RM30/USD10) – Cubes of NZ tender lamb cooked in slow fire with potatoes, carrots, celery and onions, flavoured with rosemary and thyme. The two huge slices of homemade rye bread were meant to soak in the gravy.
A comforting bowl of Irish Lamb Stew would be heaven-sent on a rainy day. And that’s exactly what Healy Mac’s is capitalizing on. Unadulterated and homely, the stew came with extremely tender cubes of lamb and softened potatoes and carrots that would succumb to the slightest exertion of pressure. They could have reduced the sodium level in this one though; for without the rye breads, it was almost impossible to gulp on the broth.
The best has yet to come?
My eyes swayed inadvertently to one particular section marked “PORK”. How predictable?
All the options sounded marvelous; a knuckle or half a portion, juicy slab of pork chop, mixed sausage platter or the spare ribs with a small tub of Guinness sauce.
Still drowsy from the early morning drive (departed 6+ am), I was cautious not to overeat and resulting in a food coma thereafter. And when the waiter assured me that the platter of ribs can be shared, but should not be a problem to be finished by one person, I was sold.
(Of course … seeing this humongous ogre seated with drool dripping from the corners of his mouth, the waiter could have been glad to recommend anything HUGE enough to avoid me devouring the plates and furnitures!)
And 8 pieces of extremely tender ribs (fell off the bones with ease), yet not mushy but with a substantial bite came with a scoop of mashed potatoes (sans any gravy!), and a side of sweet corn, carrot and onions sauteed lightly in butter.
The tub of sweet-based Guinness sauce was redundant actually. Not bad, but not entirely necessary. The ribs might not have been of gargantuan portion or loaded with meat, yet every single piece was gracefully relished with bare hands and all.
The carnivorous alter ego must have been awaken from deep slumber after the incessant episodes of ‘lou sang’ throughout the season!
Here’s their Lunch Menu; NOT a set but starters and several mains at discounted prices, and all desserts from the main menu at 20% off.
Were we impressed by Healy Mac’s? Comparing them to Berlin’s Bier Houz, Euro House and maybe Overtime, my vote goes to Healy Mac’s for now. The lack of competition aside, they actually managed to set their base well, without over-promising and service was a prompt and pleasant one without newbies dropping plates, mixing up orders and what-not.
But of course, we were the first customer this afternoon, hence I can understand how they could expedite the process. Nevertheless, the dining experience was a flawless one (save for the 20 minutes wait while they were setting up the kitchen), serenaded by classic MTV’s playing on the several television sets around the premise.
Felt amazing to be back in my “playground” again ….
HEALY MAC’S IRISH BAR & RESTAURANT (non-Halal) (website)
No 2, Ground Floor,
Persiaran Greentown 4,
30450 Ipoh, Perak, Malaysia.
Tel No : +605-249 3627
Business hours : 1pm – 1.30am on usual days, until 2.00am on Fridays and Saturdays.
*Corner of the row with Berlin’s Bier Houz, Greentown Dim Sum Cafe and Chatime.