Singapore Tatler - - CONCIERGE FEAST -

Chef Melba Nu­nis con­tin­ues to cham­pion Malacca-por­tuguese cui­sine, also known as Kris­tang, as she takes over the kitchen of Melba at The Man­sion, the in-house restau­rant of The Ma­jes­tic Malacca



Melba at The Man­sion is on the sec­ond floor of The Ma­jes­tic Malacca, and as you walk up­stairs you’ll come across chef Melba Nu­nis’ fam­ily por­traits that set the tone for an in­ti­mate din­ing ex­pe­ri­ence. You are led into an ex­pan­sive space with yel­low walls ac­cented by green arch­ways and doors that di­vide the restau­rant into sev­eral din­ing sec­tions. Per­anakan ce­ramic art­works on the walls and in­side dis­play cab­i­nets com­ple­ment the gas­tro­nomic ex­pe­ri­ence as you savour homely Kris­tang food, which mar­ries Malac­can and Por­tuguese flavours.


Nu­nis can’t get enough of the black nut, a fa­mous South­east Asian in­gre­di­ent she uses in the ayam kari keluak, or braised chicken and black nut in a fra­grant curry. She puts a spin on her curry base by in­fus­ing it with the nutty flesh. Do­ing so gives the gravy a dark brown hue and tem­pers the spici­ness with its rich, earthy flavours. Whole black nuts are served with chicken and pota­toes, and the best way to eat them is with your hands. FAM­ILY TREA­SURE


Nu­nis pre­pares her fam­ily’s trea­sured recipes, and she highly rec­om­mends her mum’s cre­ation—the Inchim­intu Karangezu. Here, she flakes the lo­cal crab’s fresh, sweet meat and mixes it with minced chicken, prawns and veg­eta­bles, be­fore stuff­ing this mix­ture back into the crab shell and bak­ing it, so it’s juicy with­out be­ing oily. While the taste seems sim­ple, eat­ing it to­gether with the fresh, zesty pineap­ple salad gives it a lift. If you pre­fer more heat, Nu­nis rec­om­mends coat­ing it with home­made chilli sauce.


While many Kris­tang restau­rants serve kari Malayu (beef and cab­bage in co­conut curry), Nu­nis makes hers unique with the choice of beef cut. “I use the shin as it was what my late hus­band al­ways bought, plus I feel that it’s more ten­der,” she says. Big, chewy chunks are cooked in a pi­quant red curry sauce painstak­ingly made with var­i­ous in­gre­di­ents that make for a rich, slightly tangy and spicy con­coc­tion. Ad­ding pota­toes and cab­bage makes this a fill­ing meal.


With all the fiery flavours from the main dishes and cur­ries, you might as well give your taste buds a break with the sagu kung sukri Malaka. The tapi­oca pearls are pre­pared from scratch, en­sur­ing they are not starchy but cooked to the right con­sis­tency. A big dol­lop is served in a mar­tini glass lay­ered with lus­cious co­conut cream and ad­dic­tive gula melaka. Scoop into all the lay­ers to rel­ish the chewy, creamy and sweet dessert.

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