Wednesday, February 22, 2017

Melba at The Mansion, The Majestic Malacca - Authentic Kristang Cuisine

We were recently invited to the newly opened Melba at The Mansion, located in a YTL classic hotel, The Majestic Malacca. Helmed by Celebrity Chef Melba Nunis, the restaurant serves authentic Malacca-Portuguese cuisine, also know as 'Kristang' cuisine. Pizza is best eaten in Italy, macarons best enjoyed in Paris... likewise Kristang food is best savoured in Malacca.

According to Dato' Mark Yeoh, YTL Hotels Executive Director, “A lot of what we strive for here at YTL Hotels is underpinned by our need to preserve our cultural heritage. The story of the Kristang people makes up a fascinating element of Malacca’s history, yet not many people know of it. Through Melba at The Mansion, we hope to play our part in conserving this legacy by providing a platform to showcase Kristang culture and all its unique idiosyncrasies. We could not think of a more suitable person who shares in our same dedication than Chef Melba."

Rooted in a 500-year old legacy, the Kristang people of Malacca are a true reflection of a fusion of cultures. A creole ethnic group of people, they are descendant of early Dutch and Portuguese settlers who inhabited Malacca in the 16th and 17th centuries. Their cuisine, characterised by fiery sambals, delicate vegetable dishes and fragrant coconut curries is an ode to Malacca’s cosmopolitan past. Influenced by a harmonious mix of culinary styles including Portuguese-Dutch, British and Peranakan cooking, Kristang cuisine also takes inspiration from local Malay, Indian and Chinese spices and flavours.



Melba at The Mansion will feature a specially crafted menu from Chef Melba’s collection of treasured family recipes. “The dishes served here at Melba at The Mansion are very close to my heart as they come from the personal collection of my mother, Mercy. I remember how she used to scribble these recipes on little pieces of paper which she kept in an old shoebox,” she said. Chef Melba has kept these time-honoured recipes to this day.

Over the course of two days, we ate our way through part of the menu, indulging in delicious, authentic Kristang cuisine, complemented by fantastic service and a cosy ambiance. There are over 40 items to choose from currently; the staff are on hand to offer recommendations should you require.



We liked that the menu is categorised into sections namely Appetizers, Meat, Seafood, Specialties, Egg, Noodle and Rice, and Desserts. Each dish comes with a short description which is helpful for guests who are not familiar with the cuisine. Each dish is also denoted with one or two "chillies" to inform diners of the spiciness level.

Start your meal with one of Chef Melba's signature dishes - the Inchimintu Karangezu (Baked Stuffed Crab - RM60). Minced chicken along with vegetables, prawn and crab are mixed together, stuffed inside the crab shell and baked until golden. It is served with a side of acar (pineapple, cucumber and onions).





Chef Melba’s signature dish includes Kari Keluak (RM75), chicken braised with buah keluak in a fragrant curry. It is one of the most well-known dishes from Malacca. Chloe was a pro at scraping out the keluak flesh from the nut, which had a deep, earthy flavour. It had a familiar taste, so we tried guessing what the taste was most similar to. I thought that it resembled tapenade (olive) in taste while Hubby and Chloe both think it tastes like chocolate.





Another specialty is the Pong Teh (RM40), a non-spicy braised chicken dish. This was one of Daniel's favorite dishes, as he liked the flavorful sauce made with fermented bean and shallots. Great with rice.




Chloe, on the other hand, loved the Kari Malayu (RM50), tender slices of beef and cabbage simmered in a fragrant, spicy coconut curry. She really surprised me this trip as she was able to enjoy all the spicy food with us. It's hard to skip the rice here as most of the saucy dishes paired effortlessly with white rice.. in fact, white rice never tasted so good ;)




We tried three prawn dishes from the menu, starting with Tambrinhyu (RM50), a non-spicy prawn dish which can be enjoyed by all, including kids. The prawns, still in their shell,are pan fried in a deliciously, appetizing tamarind sauce. They're so good, you'd want to lick your fingers after!




Pineapples go well with spicy prawns -  both the Kari Malayu Kung Nanas (RM60) and Sambal Nanas (RM55) were excellent. For the Kari Malayu Kung Nanas, the prawns are simmered with pineapple in a coconut curry whereas the Sambal Nanas is a dry prawn dish, and makes for easier eating as the prawns have been shelled.





A must-order at Melba is Asa (RM75), seabass fillet baked in an aromatic lemongrass and kaffir lime leaf sauce. One of my favorite dishes from the menu, I would highly recommend this. Although this has a 2 chilli spicy rating, the spiciness level was just right for me, and the sauce tasted amazing!



We also tried Mama Rosa's Kari Singgang Koku (RM70), gently simmered mackarel fish in a mild coconut curry.





Another recommended dish would be Papa Vincent's Chorka Pretu (RM130), featuring squid slow cooked in an ink-infused sambal. The tender squid is coated with a lightly spiced, almost creamy sauce.



The Karangezu kung kambrang (RM35) is a lovely accompaniment to your meal - fluffy pan fried omelette with crab meat and prawns. Great for kids.




Soy limang terung (RM30) - pan fried aubergine in soy and lime gravy



Kachang (RM35) - wok fried French beans with taukwa, carrots and egg. Another kid-friendly dish.


BabySumoKids favorite dish at Melba at the Mansion turned out to be the simple Kaldu kung mi suah (RM30), rice vermicelli (mi suah) in rich clear broth topped with a poached egg. And you know the kids truly enjoyed it when they ask to have it again for their next meal. I tried some of the broth and it tasted really good, full of flavour.




I love a good bowl of Nyonya Laksa, and the Kaldu Laksa Malaka (RM35) here was very tasty. The soup was absolutely bursting with flavours - a combination of spicy, tangy and savoury.. so good, I drank it until the last drop. The rice vermicelli (meehoon) was topped with chicken, fishcake, fishballs and prawn. 







And it's dessert time! Chloe adored the Pulut kung kaya (RM25), glutinous rice with coconut milk tinted with bunga telang (blue pea flower) with homemade coconut jam (kaya). It smelt so good! She liked it so much that she ordered it two nights in a row. You can watch her savouring it on my IG... her facial expressions are so cute!





Pulut pretu (RM25) - warm black glutinous rice with dried longan and coconut milk




Hubby enjoyed the Sagu kung Sukri Malaka (RM25), sago pearls in coconut milk with melted palm sugar, a dessert which brought him back to his childhood days, very similar to the taapioca pudding he used to have as a child.






Our 5 favorite dishes here: Asa, Kaldu Laksa Malaka, Inchimintu Karangezu, Papa Vincent's Chorka Pretu, and Tambrinhyu. 


Melba at The Mansion is open daily for lunch between 12.00pm to 3.00pm and for dinner between 7.00pm to 10.30pm.



Location: Melba at The Mansion, Level 1, The Majestic Malacca, 188 Jalan Bunga Raya, 75100 Melaka, Malaysia.

Tel: 06-289 8000

Website: http://www.majesticmalacca.com/

GPS Coordinates: 2.201959, 102.252130




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Tuesday, February 21, 2017

Restaurant Vietnam Jie, Cheras, Selangor

Last weekend, we revisited Restoran Vietnam Jie as Hubby was craving for banh mi. We arrived slightly after 12pm and the restaurant was already busy.

I was happy to see pho on their menu this time... yay! Without hesitation, I ordered this for myself. My bowl of pho bo (RM14.90) came with beef slices, tendon and tripe, along with Thai basil, beansprouts and lime/chilli on the side. I like that some of the beef slices were still slightly pink when it arrived. The soup was hearty, sweet, flavorful and delicious! It was a very generous portion too.









There is also new banh mi on the menu - banh mi thap cam trung (RM11.90) - very similar to the one Hubby had here the last time, plus an additional fried egg. The baguette is excellent - crisp, airy and light (best in KL I would say), which really does make a big difference to the whole dish. They  also sell the baguette only for RM2.50, I'm thinking of getting some next time to make sandwiches at home. :)





We also tried the Vietnamese spring roll (goi cuon tom thit - RM11.60). Each portion comes with four pieces of spring roll filled with vermicelli, prawn and thin slices of pork. Fresh and yummy!




Hubby with his iced coffee (RM8.90)

 Stole a picture from our neighbouring table - they were having the hotpot.




You can read about our previous visit here.

Opening times: 12pm to 12am. Closed on first Mondays of the month only.

Price: Total bill RM47.30 Cash only.

Location: Restoran Vietnam Jie, 15, Jalan Tun Perak 2, Taman Tun Perak, 43200 Cheras, Selangor. (Street parking available. WAZE to Jie Vietnam Restaurant or Pro One Badminton Centre)

Tel: 010-240 2222

Website: https://www.facebook.com/jievietnam/

GPS Coordinates: 3.062813, 101.757736



If you enjoyed reading my posts, LIKE me on Facebook! You can also follow me on Instagram (@babysumo) for more photo updates or Dayre for daily updates.. Thanks :)

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