Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia – YTL classic hotel, The Majestic Malacca, announced the launch of a new food and beverage concept today. Once serving a mix of western and local Peranakan favourites, the hotel’s primary restaurant will now serve authentic Malacca-Portuguese cuisine, also known colloquially as ‘Kristang’ cuisine – a unique yet elusive gourmet tradition, important to Malaccan history. Celebrity Chef Melba Nunis takes the helm at this new dining establishment known as Melba at The Mansion.
“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,” said Dato’ Mark Yeoh, YTL Hotels Executive Director. “We could not think of a more suitable person who shares in our same dedication than Chef Melba,” he said.
“I am honoured to be able to work together with YTL Hotels and to introduce my heritage and story,” said Chef Melba. Born and raised in Garden City, Malacca, Chef Melba developed a love for cooking and baking, having learnt cooking from her mother and grandmother. Exposed to Kristang cuisine from an early age, Chef Melba found that she was happiest in the kitchen, preparing meals for her loved ones. Chef Melba adds, “You have to put your heart and soul into preparing every dish, this is the secret ingredient that will be felt by everyone you cook for. And this makes all the difference.”
Her passion eventually led to the opening of her restaurant, Simply Mel’s, in 2011 which garnered rave reviews and accolades. In 2014, Chef Melba published ‘A Kristang Family Cookbook’ which was later honoured with the ‘Best in the World’ Award in the ‘Best Woman Chef’ category at the 2016 Gourmand World Cookbook Awards. Proud of her Kristang lineage, Chef Melba is an active
champion of preserving her cultural legacy, having hosted Kristang language workshops and cooking classes at her restaurant.
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 stemming 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.
Of the over 200 recipes collected over time, Chef Melba’s signature dish includes her Ayam Kari Keluak. “Keluak curry is probably one of the most well-known dishes from Malacca. I can’t remember when I first started eating buah keluak, but I know it from a very young age. It is one of those things you either love or hate, and for me, its deep and earthy flavour is something I could eat every day,” she said. Her other signature dishes available at Melba at The Mansion include Inchimintu Karangezu (Baked Stuffed Crab), Kaldu Laksa Malaka (Malacca Laksa) and Kek Sugee (Sugee Cake). Dining at the restaurant is nothing short of a journey through Kristang’s past, with Chef Melba’s own memorabilia adorning the walls. It is also an exploration in unique dishes and flavours which Chef Melba takes pride in personally explaining to guests.
Melba at The Mansion is open daily for lunch between 12.00pm to 3.00pm and for dinner between 7.00pm to 10.30pm. Additionally, to ring in the year of the Rooster, Melba at The Mansion will offer a special Chinese New Year dinner menu from 27th January to 11th February.
About The Majestic Malacca
Located on the banks of the river which in yesteryear teemed with Chinese junks and spice-laden vessels from all over the world, The Majestic Malacca provides a glimpse into the splendid saga of an extraordinary empire in a UNESCO World Heritage site. Steeped in a rich tapestry of multicultural influences reflected in its heritage architecture, diverse lifestyle and eclectic cuisine, this classic hotel is an integral part of Malacca’s colourful history. The heart of the hotel is a restored 1920s Straits Settlement mansion complete with its original porcelain tile flooring and teakwood fittings. It has been sympathetically extended to house 54 guest rooms and suites as well as an award-winning spa that is a reflection of that era, melding luxury, modernity and tradition.
About YTL Hotels
YTL Hotels owns and manages a prestigious collection of award-winning resorts, hotels, boutique experiences and Spa Villages with a hospitality footprint across Malaysia, Thailand, Indonesia, China, Japan, Australia, France and the United Kingdom, including Pangkor Laut Resort, voted the world’s best resort in 2003 by Condé Nast Traveller UK. The group also co-owns the Eastern & Oriental Express luxury train. The Gainsborough Bath Spa, the only hotel in Bath to be part of the Leading Hotels of the World’s collection of legendary hotels, was named one of the Top 10 Hotel Spas in Europe. Set in the heart of Bath, a World Heritage Site, this unique heritage gem exclusively offers the only natural thermal spa within a hotel in the United Kingdom.
YTL Hotels’ global expansion celebrates its decades long relationship with Marriott International through the ownership management of Sydney Harbour Marriott Hotel, Brisbane Marriott Hotel, Melbourne Marriott Hotel, The
Ritz-Carlton Kuala Lumpur and JW Marriott Kuala Lumpur and recently includes The Majestic Hotel Kuala Lumpur, Hotel Stripes Kuala Lumpur and The Glasshouse Hotel – Edinburgh in affiliation with the brand’s Autograph Collection. The partnership also encompasses the future development of The Ritz-Carlton Koh Samui in Thailand and the first Ritz-Carlton Reserve that will complement YTL Hotels’ overall master plan for Niseko Village in Japan.
With each new experience that it presents, the company strives to embrace and highlight the natural essence of culture, character and tradition of its surroundings. YTL Hotels is the hospitality arm of YTL Corporation Berhad. Visit www.ytlhotels.com for more information and follow us on our social media platforms for #TreasuredPlaces #TreasuredMoments
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