Words: Han Sen Hau Photos: Monica Tindall
Christmas in the tropics, particularly in a country like Malaysia, is… celebrated differently than most. For the rest of the world, once December hits, several things start to happen. In New York, Central Park dazzles in white, couples flock to The Rink at Rockefeller Center, and Saks Fifth Avenue enchants passers-by with a 3D light show to Carol of the Bells. Across the Atlantic in the UK, Slade’s Merry Xmas Everybody bombards the airwaves, cafés start adding star anise and cinnamon sticks to everything, and the price of mince pies drop to an all-time low at university unions. In Tokyo, bakeries start churning out festive Christmas (sponge) cakes drowning in icing, restaurants become impossible to enter without reservations, and Colonel Sanders receives a big fat cheque from all the fried chicken he’s selling to the Japanese.
In Malaysia, everyone forgets their umbrellas in spite of the monsoon, traffic is still a daily challenge, and children are still not getting their brand new tablet they’ve been promised for not screaming at the dining table first thing on Christmas morning. Let it go, kids, let it go. Still, despite the lack of the need for a warm fireplace where the sound of oak crackling on the hearth beckons a tranquil silence in living rooms, the festive spirit still burns bright in the hearts of those who revel in this time for giving. So to those wishing to enjoy a quiet and classy dinner to celebrate the advent of Christmas and 2015, possibly to the sound of Perry Como and Ol’ Blue Eyes Sinatra, look no further than the Colonial Café at the Majestic Hotel.
Three festive menus have been conjured by the team and I was lucky enough to sample their New Year’s Eve Dinner Menu, which kicked off with the Atlantic Smoked Salmon Roulade wrapped with cream cheese and capped with dill and chives. The soft salmon flesh was intensely satisfying with the accompanying pesto sauce, while the accompanying cherry tomatoes balances the creaminess with a welcoming zest. The dish is paired with a Marius Peyol Côtes de Provence Rosé 2013, which is light and airy on its own, but enhances the fish’s flavour with a tinge of sweetness.
|Atlantic Smoked Salmon Roulade|
|Marius Peyol Côtes de Provence Rosé 2013|
The following Maine Lobster Cake served with creamy spinach and poached egg on top a base of crustacean foam may very well be a main instead of a starter. The chef wasn’t kidding when he said that the foam was rich. While the lobster cake was delicious on its own with a nice crisp on the outside, it was the combination of the foam and gooey egg yolk dribbling over the cake that sealed the deal for me. This was the one dish I’d be very reluctant to share with Saint Nicholas himself, and though I yearned to have more of it, I wouldn’t be able to complete the other courses had they served two. The decision to pair this with a glass of William Fevre Chablis 2012 was apt, as the white’s minerality works well with the lobster.
|Maine Lobster Cake|
|William Fevre Chablis 2012|
For the mains, guests will have the option of having either the Pan-Fried Spiced Cod or the Beef Rossini. I was served the cod first, and I immediately fell in love with the turmeric fragrance that came with the sauce. The fish was also served with crushed masala potatoes that blend seamlessly with the sauce, and despite the size of the cut, the cod was easy to finish. A wonderful Grant Burge Barossa Chardonnay 2013 was paired with this. It had a sweeter entry compared to the Chablis, and a fruitier palate to balance out the oily cod.
|Pan-Fried Spiced Cod|
|Grant Burge Barossa Chardonnay 2013|
Intermission between the two mains was a lovely Blood Orange Sorbet, which looks as pretty as it was gentle on the tongue. A great palate cleanser that’s infused with French Vanilla tea, I enjoyed it because it wasn’t overpoweringly sweet and stimulated the senses with its slightly bitter profile.
|Blood Orange Sorbet|
The penultimate Beef Rossini was a force to be reckoned with having been served with foie gras and drizzled in truffle jus. The meat was really tender and remains succulent even after a while so slow eaters with trouble chewing (i.e. me) will find this a pleasant experience from beginning to end. The foie gras didn’t disappoint either and has this melt-in-your-mouth quality that begs for a thicker slice. The Zema Estate Coonawarra Cabernet Sauvignon 2009 paired with this had a very redolent bouquet. A full-bodied, earthy red with high tannins, it was an obvious choice for the beef but a classic nonetheless.
|Zema Estate Coonawarra Cabernet Sauvignon 2009|
For desserts, I had a wonderful Christmas pudding served with strawberries, mangoes, and white chocolate ice cream. I loved eating this with the mangoes as they bring their signature honeyed fragrance into the mix. The pudding was a great end to the festive course, and I was momentarily transported back to Leeds where I had my first Christmas pudding. While it was a shock to the senses then as I’ve never had anything stuffed with so many raisins, its flavour is something I miss dearly and I’m happy to have been reminded of that memory at the Colonial Café.
Reasons to visit: The Colonial Café looks very becoming this festive season, don’t forget to take a snapshot of the Christmas tree at the Majestic Hotel’s lobby; Maine Lobster Cake; vegetarian options are available and a special children’s menu can be whipped up if called in advance.
* A Very Majestic Festive Cheer at the Colonial Café
Christmas Eve Dinner Menu RM250++ (RM350++ with wine pairing)
Christmas Day Menu RM250++ (RM350++ with wine pairing)
New Year’s Eve Dinner Menu RM350++ (RM480++ with wine pairing)
The Colonial Café
The Majestic Hotel Kuala Lumpur
5 Jalan Sultan Hishamuddin
50000 Kuala Lumpur
+6 03 2785 8000