January 2014 UPDATE: Ah Keat Seafood is no longer operating at Penang Times Square. Their previous premise is currently under renovation by James Foo Western Food.
Ah Keat Seafood original shop is located along Jalan Raja Uda in Butterworth which enjoys very good business from customers especially in the mainland area. They are actually there for quite a long time and the food and business is very good indeed. They are famous for their variety of rare seafood such as crabs, horseshoe crabs, prawns, mantis prawns, giant grouper and other delicacies. Among their signature dish are stir fried mantis prawn with salted egg, lemon steamed lala, lobster fried with cheese and many more.
Following their success in Butterworth, they have decided to expand their business to the island side of Penang and have completed their extensive renovation works at Penang Time Square. Most people are amazed at first glance of this premise as it occupies a huge area (formerly Soju bistro) on the ground floor. It has both inner as well as semi-outdoor dining area. The interior decor is very chic and delightful and the tables are arranged in a very comfortable distance from each other. In general, the first impression of the place is great, coupled with their already good reputation at Butterworth, most people wouldn't think twice to step inside this restaurant.
Unfortunately your excitement will stop right there as you will soon find out that it takes ages for your food to be served. And when it is served, the food is poorly prepared as the chefs have been rushing to push out the already delayed orders for most tables. There were a family sitting besides us who got too frustrated they left without waiting for their food to arrive. Ours took about an hour to arrive, stop short of us being collapsing out of hunger. I know that everything happens for a reason and out of curiosity I asked the cashier what went wrong when I paid the bill. She apologized and frankly told me that their kitchen was too small. That's it! They have focus on maximizing the dining area so that they can accommodate more customers and neglected the importance of the kitchen.
Anyway, the delay could also be due to management issues. To be fair, let's give them some time to sort things out as they just open for business this week. Things can get rowdy in the beginning before getting better. Given their success in Butterworth, I believe that they can work things out soon. Other than the long wait, everything else is satisfactory.