Multi-concept Culinary & Lifestyle Event Swallow now open at The Saw Emporium, Penang’s Former Sawmill on Macallum Road

Blogged by @joehairie
For The Saw Emporium, Penang
Photos by The Saw Emporium 


Multi-concept culinary  and lifestyle event Swallow has taken over Penang’s first sawmill,  The Saw Emporium on Macallum Road in heritage enclave, the Seven Streets  Precinct or ‘chit tiao lor’, near the upcoming Penang Arts District.  Swallow opened on 10 November with a special guest performance by indie pop singer-songwriter Charlie Lim who was visiting Georgetown for the weekend.


Swallow – A Pecking Paradise occupies the first level of the 1950-built art-deco industrial heritage building, The Saw Emporium, also known as the Leong Bee & Soo Bee or Tan Teong Sin Building and the entire Leong Bee & Soo Bee Godowns,  with top restauranteurs and bars from the region. Opening from Thursday to  Sundays from 11am to midnight until Q1 2018, Swallow aims to introduce a  different way of eating and experiencing a multi-sensory environment, and may  extend opening days and beyond the next quarter based on consumer demand and response.


Food & Beverage

Teppei Syokudo Ten Don Hand

Chef Teppei Yamashita debuts Teppei Syokudo in Penang with leading dish  Ten Don (Tempura of Fresh Tiger Prawn, and assortment of meats and  vegetables, served on rice), signature Chicken Nanban (think Tori Karage with  his special Japanese tartare), Salmon Teriyaki with Japanese  Rice and Pickles, plus perfect bar snack Edamame.


SOi 55 features contemporary interpretations while respecting strong and fresh  flavours of traditional Thai dishes with the hot-favourite Crispy Thai Mango Salad (som tum mamuang topped with kakiage), Garlic-Scented Crispy Chicken  Wings, and Sesame Prawn Toast with Kaffir  Lime Mayo are best accompanied by the aromatic Fragrant Lemongrass Rice.


Embers turns up the flames for the carnivores with slow-roasted BBQ meats ala All-American Steakhouses with Asian flavours. Must-haves are the Grilled Australian Beef Bavette (with Confit of Ginger and Spring Onion) and the Aged Soy Dressing Charred Prawns (with Blacken Lemon & Kimchi Butter), best paired with Crispy Mantou to wipe up the savoury tangy homemade butter. For those who enjoy a spicy kick, go for the Roasted Chicken Thigh (with homemade  Chinese Chili Oil & Pickled Cucumber).

From Kuala Lumpur to Penang, TAPS Beer Bar showcases an exciting collection for the beer-loving Penangite with close to 50 craft beer bottles every week from Scotland’s BrewDog, Japan’s Hitachino Nest Beer, America’s Rouge Ales, Denmark’s Mikkeller and more craft breweries from around the globe.

Beyond average beverages, Qwenchers brings a refreshing respite with all natural ingredients in their freshly squeezed juices, blended breakfast boosters,  thick-ass milkshakes, sodsa and spritzers for a much-needed respite from Penang’s heat with all-time favourites grapefruits and dragonfruits.

Repurposing & Furnishing


Peregrinate the popular Sawmill Trail that leads from the carpark to the Courtyard through the original sawmill, stocked with timber, sawmilling tools, blades and saws that line the entire walkway. A repurposed 5-m long timbre  able in the open Courtyard, sits 24 pax on Cap Stools from Kian Furniture, surrounded by parasols that provide shade from the sun and shelter from the rain. Most importantly for us technology dependents, the ParaSolars come with solar-powered lights & a USB charging port. Our favourite chill-out is on the Iota Lounge Chairs at the Covered Terrace in the evenings staring out into the lit sky.

Beyond the salvaged sawmilling parts and original timber blocks, Swallow is thematically styled as a functioning lifestyle showroom throughout the industrial  heritage building. More stunning designer pieces by Kian Furniture will be filling out cosy indoor lounges and an upcoming bistro.

Programming & Community

With a strong focus on refreshing the dining event and providing a physical platform for strategic partners to use the space as a showcase and test bed of the Penang community, Swallow will curate and feature dynamic programming and rotations with guest chefs’ kitchen takeovers, pop up kitchens with interesting and creative food concepts, musicians, designers, craftsmen, community activities etc. for the duration of the event until Q1 2018. Cocktails and mixiology are next on the list.

Swallow is working in partnership with the Culinary Arts Centre in Penang to  provide talented culinary students and graduates with on-the-job training and  international exposure to learn the ropes directly from top restuaranteurs and chefs such as Chef Teppei Yamashita for a real-life experience behind the kitchen.


Stay updated on Facebook & Instagram @TheSawEmporium #thesawemporium

Swallow @ The Saw Emporium
1 Gat Lebuh Macallum, George Town 10300, Penang
OPEN Thursday to Sunday, 11am until midnight
CLOSED Monday to Wednesday


About Swallow @ The Saw Emporium

Swallow is a multi-concept dining event featuring a cluster of top restaurateurs and bars in the region. The inaugural pop-up by The Steamship Merchants is  curated as a fast-casual dining concept in Georgetown set within The Saw Emporium, from November 2017 to Q1 2018.

Swallow is an injection of fun, energy, vibrancy and great tastes in a comfortable  but unexpected environment. The event will generate a prolonged buzz with  thoughtful lifestyle programming to encourage interactions and discovery of the full culinary experience with locals and visitors returning for new and exciting updates in the upcoming dining destination in Penang.

The community-oriented foodie event is created as an insider scoop of the hip and happening, and a collaborative space for industry professionals to embrace as their own. TSM envisions Penang to take its rightful place as the cool place to be, leading with a green dining oasis that fits right in the heart of Georgetown within the fast-gentrifying Macallum neighbourhood.

About The Saw Emporium

The Saw Emporium is a former saw mill built in 1950, within the heritage enclave and popular tourist spot, the 7 Streets Precinct, locally known as chit tiau lor with many colonial pre-war homes and shophouses. The adjacent site is slated as the upcoming Penang Arts District in Georgetown.

Macallum Road is the fifth street named after Colonel Sir Henry McCallum, the colonial engineer of the Straits Settlement, who also has a street named after him in Singapore’s CBD. After his stint in Penang and Singapore, he went on to become the Governor of Lagos, Newfoundland, Natal and Ceylon.

The revitalization of the art deco building and the original godowns is the lighthouse project for lifestyle collective, The Steamship Merchants. The exterior façade of The Saw Emporium remains unchanged while the interior structure receives an industrial heritage restoration and makeover to become the upcoming dining and lifestyle destination in Penang.

Recent use of the space includes a performance venue by In The Amorphous Beings for the George Town Festival 2017 and a film set for a 2017-release by Hong Kong cult-classic director Herman Yau starring actor Anthony Wong.

About The Steamship Merchants

The Steamship Merchants (TSM) is a collective of dynamic entrepreneurs building a lifestyle brand that puts the customer experience at the forefront. We aim to build unique and authentic environments to create satisfying experiences, exciting concepts and well-developed products that provide sustainable value to our consumers in Malaysia, beginning with Penang. TSM was named to honour the company’s forefathers who endured harsh journeys on steamships to Southeast Asia to seek a better life for their families.


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