Christmas always means party with good friends and family with plenty of good food. Instead of the typical Western dishes that we have every year during Christmas, perhaps one could consider having it the Kristang style? Kristang cuisine, a mixture of Malaccan and Portuguese cuisine, is one that is not commonly found especially in KL. And to find one that is truly authentic is even harder. That’s why Aunty Melba came up with the idea of opening Simply Mel’s restaurant, to provide authentic Kristang dishes that are as close to the real thing as possible for all of us.
Who wants a kiss?
What’s a Kristang Christmas without the traditional Assam Boi drink? It’s the default drink that I order every time I dine here – cool, refreshing, sweet and sour. Perfect as a drink and as an appetizer!
Assam Boi (RM5.90)
To start the dinner, we had a very traditional dish called Feng. This was essentially a dry curry dish made from full-bodied spiced mixed meat of ox tongue, beef chunks and beef liver simmered under low fire until tender. When we first tried this dish, we started guessing what was inside – but none of us got it right. It was a fascinating combination, very flavourful and fragrant pieces of meat that were amazingly tender. Loved this to bits!
Feng (from RM45)
Ah, the Chicken Seybah was one of my favourite during my previous visit to Simply Mel’s. How delightful I was to see it offered for the festive season! It’s a whole chicken chop braised in caramelized sweet sticky sauce served on a bed of lettuce, cucumber and tau pok. The result is a plate of very tender and juicy chicken with a sweet and savoury flavour. Don’t forget Mel’s homemade chilli sauce. It makes a difference. It makes a whole lot of difference!
Chicken Seybah (RM60 for 6-8 people)
Portuguese food to me, is not complete without the Devil’s Curry. Mel certainly cooked up a storm with Mel’s Devil Curry. A delightful dish of chicken and fried potato wedges cooked in a fiery gravy of chili, onions, galangal, lemongrass and mustard seeds, this is certainly my type of dish to go with fluffy white rice. Oh yes, I love spicy food, what’s new?
Mel’s Devil Curry (RM70 for 8-10 persons)
Which is why I also loved Mel’s Festive Sambal Prawns! Look at the fiery red sambal on those gorgeous succulent prawns! If I had it my way, I would have polished this dish alone. Unfortunately, this is not offered on the menu yet and is only available upon special request. So please request for this dish in advance! Perhaps when more people request for it then Aunty Mel would put it in the menu.
Mel’s Festive Sambal Prawns
For something more Christmas-sy, there is the traditional Roast Chicken with Sage onion stuffing, wrapped in beef bacon. Just look at the giant chicken roasted to a golden brown! I wonder what chicken they used, it’s so huge! Of course, the beef bacon on top made it so much more appealing – crispy and savoury, such a nice accompaniment to the otherwise plain chicken. Oh did you notice those cocktail sausages wrapped with bacon? I must have eaten so much of those because I lost count.
Roast Chicken with Sage onion stuffing, wrapped in beef bacon (RM180)
Now we have always read and heard about Roast Lamb but I bet none of you have ever tried Roast Lamb with Gula Melaka! Yes, true to the Malaccan roots, Aunty Mel cooked this roast lamb with authentic Gula Melaka all the way from Melaka. Such a unique combination of East meets West, don’t you think? You could tell that the lamb tasted good just by its caramelized look. This was especially good with the potato onion gratin that was served on the side.
Roast Lamb with Rosemary, Honey Mustard & Gula Melaka (RM250)
Mel’s Galinha Pie is made from a whole lot of love since everything was made from scratch. This enormous pie was filled to the brim with chicken, meatballs, potatoes, cabbage, carrots, green peas, macaroni and egg, and baked with a homemade shortcrust pastry. We saw plenty of meatballs and chicken pieces in the pie, simmered in delicious stew. Gave me a warm fuzzy feeling just looking at it now.
Mel’s Galinha Pie (from RM50)
Filled to the brim!
For desserts, we tried the traditional Melaka Pineapple Tarts, Sugee Cake, Cendol and the Fruitcake. The pineapple tarts were unlike any other that I’d tried before. The pastry was crumbly soft and the pineapple jam was very tasty, very homemade.
Mel’s Pineapple Tarts (RM25/jar)
And who could forget the famous Sugee cake, one of the bestsellers? This superbly moist cake was made from semolina and almonds, and is not overly sweet.
Especially for Christmas, don’t miss the Mel’s Rich Fruitcake. Every piece was packed with plenty of ingredients – dried fruits, cherries, nuts and the likes. It’s so dense and rich that even a small piece was enough to satisfy. This cake is definitely meant to be shared by many, just like the season of Christmas.
Mel’s Traditional Fruit cake (RM70/600gram)
8-feet Christmas tree
If there’s one thing I like about Simply Mel’s, it’s the comfortable dining environment that is unpretentious and honest, which got us feeling right at home. And if you get the chance to meet Aunty Melba, you’ll feel just like a guest being treated to a house dinner by an extremely hospitable host. It’s a feeling of being welcomed to the family, almost.
Dining environment at Simply Mel’s
Simply Mel’s Restaurant
Unit 1-1A, 1st Floor, The Sphere,
No. 1, Avenue 1, Bangsar South,
No. 8, Jalan Kerinchi,
59200 Kuala Lumpur,
Tel No: +603-2241 4525 / +6012-428 9890
Website: www.simplymels.com / Facebook page
Business Hours: Mon – Sun (10:00 am – 10:00 pm)
GPS Coordinates: 3.11142,101.66748