Daily: 10:00 - 22:00
Gurney Drive serves penang hawker food.
From what I know, the Gurney Drive outlets in Singapore were started by the Penang Ooi family, which control the Ghee Hiang Company in Penang. This is why you see their sesame oil (which is the best i've ever had) and biscuits on sale at the counter.
I'm from Penang, so I can rank the dishes I've had on how authentic the dishes are:
1. Curry Mee. 2. Char Koay Teow 3. Hokkien Prawn Noodles 4. Nasi Lemak 5. Lor Bak 6.Penang Laksa 7. Mee Goreng
The Curry Mee with the thin coconut milk and "Indian" flavour is authentic and unique in Singapore as none of the other Penang Buffets or Malaysian restaurants like Penang Kitchen or Old Town have got it right. The only real complaint is that the hum is a bit small and there are no pieces of boiled chicken blood or pig blood (its getting difficult to find this in Penang as well). They even had some mint leaves in it which was wonderful. However in Penang there are more of these leaves so I wonder if they left more of them out because of local tastes. For Singaporeans expecting Singapore Laksa, they will be sorely disappointed as this is a very different dish.
The Char Koay Teow is quite good. At least amongst the best of the Penang variety in Singapore. Occasionally, I've had about as good when asking the fryer to customize one at Princess Terrace and sometimes the York buffet (with a real Penang hawker flown in). However, its good to know you can find it consistently at Gurney Drive in Suntec. Its not perfect though. The bits of fried lard (bak eu pok) were not fresh and like the curry mee, the hum was small. It's also not as spicy as in Penang. When I asked for more chili, it got a little salty. However, the fried smell (wok hei) fueled by burning lard is about as good as it gets. Also at Suntec, you have the option of the "premium version" with lots of large prawns and extra hum for $10. It's worth it to me. Kind of like ordering "The Sisters" char koay teow in Macalister Road in Penang for those in the know. Singaporeans expecting the sweet Singaporean char koay teow like that at Airport Road may be disappointed. Again, its a different dish.
The Hokkien Prawn Mee is not bad, but its good too at most of the Penang Buffets around town. There wasn't enough chili oil on it and the two large prawns with shells on are definitely a no-no. In Penang, you get a couple of slices of smaller prawns thrown in.
The Nasi Lemak was decent. Crunchy ikan bilis and good sambal. However, Penang Nasi Lemak isn't that unique in that there are lots of different types and flavours all over the island. Consequently, you can get just as tasty nasi lemak in Singapore.
The Lor Bak was tasty and correctly spiced, but the pieces of pork were much smaller than you find in Penang and the sauce (the lor) and chili weren't right. Haven't found a good lor bak in Singapore although the one at Penang Kitchen in Coronation is probably the best. The York buffet has one variety of lor bak correctly implemented with sauce and all, but its not the type of Penang lor bak that I like - too dry and thin. Singaporeans should know that this is NOT NGIO HIANG and should not compare it as such. This is a completely different dish so don't try asking for the sugar syrup sauce. BTW, my fav Singapore ngio hiang is at Beng Thin.
I didn't like the Penang Laksa. First of all, the laksa noodles (hoon) were all cut up and you literally had to use your spoon rather than chopsticks. The soup was a bit off as well and I didn't taste the black prawn paste (hae ko) which I like. They did not use mackerel, which is what you get in the lasa at Ayer Itam (the best) in Penang and used some other fish. Hopefully it wasn't sardines. I didn't analyze. Also, not enough vegetables and mint leaves. Was disappointed.
The Mee Goreng was also off a bit. Tasted kinda like sweet Malai Mee at the Cher Char stalls in Singapore. Singaporeans may like this though although the real stuff in Penang is made by Indian Muslim hawkers and has a deeper more Indian taste.
I also tried the Chendol (terrible) and Ice Kachang (good). The Ice Kachang was unique in that it has both Sarsi and Nutmeg, which you generally can't find in Singapore Ice Kachang. I suppose you could convince one of the dessert stalls at the food courts to make it for you. However, give me a Swatow Lane (in Penang) ice kachang any day.
I also had the seafood platter which was on promotion. It was OK. Didn't hate it but would not order it again.
Having stayed for 4 years in Malaysia and 1 year in Penang makes me have a penang food craving. and how does this restaurant deliver?? find out here: http://alxlovefood.wordpress.com/2013/12/23/penang-food-craving-at-gurney-drive/
It's not the best Penang food that I've had but it's definitely worth going back frequently for its price.
Its ice-blended Ampla Juice is also my staple drink even though I'm not a fruit juice person to begin with.
I will keep going back as long the restaurant maintains the quality and portions of the food now without raising the price.