The Silverhouse Kitchen Cafe– Penang's New Architectural Landmark

t first thought, Penang conjures up images of delectable local food such as nasi kandar, rojak pasembur and the famed Balik Pulau durian. While completely true, there is much more to be found on this island, dubbed the Pearl of the Orient.

With a plethora of interesting and beautiful cafes livening up Penang’s food scene, visitors are spoilt for choice when it comes to visiting one that’s unique.

Latest to join the bandwagon is The Silverhouse Kitchen, a classic, silver- coloured Malay house-themed cafe located at Kampung Sungai Burung, Jalan Bharu, Balik Pulau, which is gaining traction among visitors who are mesmerised by its traditional architecture.

Sited about 30 kilometres from George Town, the cafe housed in a Malay traditional facade, conveys a concrete message of richness encompassing unique and  aesthetic architectural design values.

The Silverhouse Kitchen.

According to the operator, Norwahhana Abdul Wahab, 51, the cafe was built from wood waste such as Merbau, Meranti and Cengal, which were bought from an old house in Pahang. 

“The cafe showcases a Malay house of yesteryears; it has its charm as the whole building is painted in silver to exude its uniqueness with a fascinating fusion of tradition and modernity.

“The most distinctive feature is that the wood carvings adorning the house (cafe) are based on Malay motifs with a staircase to reach the elevated interior. The stairs connect the front of the house to the serambi (porch or verandah), and are made of brick structure covered with tiles.

Kerawang or decorative carvings are placed at the front portion, left and right stairs, which were bought from a friend who crafted them for Sultan Kedah’s coronation.

 “I bought the kerawang to decorate The Silverhouse Kitchen as my friend no longer used them. The kerawang was originally gold in colour but I painted it silver to reflect the theme of my cafe,” she told Bernama recently.



The Silverhouse Kitchen was opened to the public after the end of the Movement Control Order (MCO) in 2021.

“We combine both modern and classic elements. Every corner of the cafe is decorated with chandeliers, flowers and green leaves to create a warm and inviting ambience.

 “We have also built two home stays for overnight accommodation as well as the main hall, The Silverhall next to the cafe can be used for various events including for wedding receptions,” said the mother of four, who brings with her 28 years of experience in the beauty business. The Perak-born entrepreneur is also an event planner and runs a boutique.

  Norwahhana also shared that the decorations at the cafe are self-inspired, merging unique design aesthetics, and there is also a bridal arch in this cafe which was originally used for newly-weds to have a moment in the spotlight.

“My intention is to create a classic look, that’s why I have placed the arch that leads to the cafe. Previously, I used bridal items including pelamin (bridal throne) decor, which had been rearranged based on my own creativity.

“Besides that, I have also given a facelift to bridal chairs and dining tables (meja makan beradab) to suit my own taste by wrapping and repainting them to make them look new,” said Noorwahhana, who is supported by five staff.



Among the cuisines served atThe Silverhouse Kitchen are both kampung and western food such as Korean chicken, ikan bawal goreng (fried pomfret), ayam berlado (chicken in green chilli sambal), fried koay teow, chicken teriyaki and chicken chop.

A special dish includes premium sardine laksa (noodles) which is cooked together with blended pineapples to create the original sweet and sour aroma as well as bunga telang (butterfly-pea flower) juice. The plant is grown near her cafe.

This aesthetic cafe, which provides a pleasant atmosphere and ambience for visitors, has been attracting local customers from various races as well as tourists from Singapore, China, Japan and the United Kingdom since its opening.

 “At The Silverhouse Kitchen, visitors get the opportunity to view the panoramic sunset, cycling around padi fields, fishing in the pond and holding family day events in this area which is away from the hustle and bustle of the city,” she said, adding that the cafe opens daily except Tuesdays starting from 2pm to 10.30pm.



Norwahhna, who envisions her business to grow into a tourism hub in Balik Pulau, said that the presence of her cafe, home stays and the hall would indirectly generate income for the local residents.

 “It is my hope that this place can be a tourism hub that can uplift the economic status of the Balik Pulau community. The youths here can work with me, hence earning some income.

Norwahhana Abdul Wahab

“At the same time, I’m using a vendor concept, as such the villagers especially housewives can send their local delicacies to be sold here,” she said.

“Indeed this is the best moment of my life. From an abandoned forest, Balik Pulau has come a long way and is poised for further growth given the various initiatives to boost tourism in the state,” said Norwahhna, who receives the full support from her husband, her siblings as well as her friends.

 Translated by Salbiah Said





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