Recipes lost in time: The Colonial Café

The Majestic Hotel Kuala Lumpur

The Majestic Hotel Kuala Lumpur – The Colonial Café – Photo Credit Lila Bakar

KUALA LUMPUR, Malaysia – Malaysia has always been known for its cuisine, so much so that the island of Penang was voted as one of the top 10 destinations for gourmands around the world. Much of its reputation is contributed by the melting pot of eastern and western cuisines that was created through its historical significance via the spice trade. The Colonial Café at the Majestic Hotel is one such institution that has managed to retain much of its richness in combination of flavours and preservation of traditions.

We send our very own Nicholas Ng to review the cuisine served at The Colonial Café is predominantly British Malaya in heritage, taking most of its influence from the Hainanese, a group of people from China who were predominantly tin miners in British Malaya. They quickly adapted to the amalgamation of British lifestyle with the distinct cooking methods and use of spice, birthing a whole new genre of cuisine, loosely termed as Malaysian Colonial Cuisine.

The Majestic Hotel Kuala Lumpur

The Majestic Hotel Kuala Lumpur – The Colonial Café – Afternoon Tea Set

The Majestic Hotel Kuala Lumpur

The Majestic Hotel Kuala Lumpur – The Colonial Café – Angue Porterhouse Steak

The Majestic Hotel Kuala Lumpur

The Majestic Hotel Kuala Lumpur – The Colonial Café – Classic Fish Cakes

The Majestic Hotel Kuala Lumpur

The Majestic Hotel Kuala Lumpur – The Colonial Café – Classic Prawn Cocktail

The Majestic Hotel Kuala Lumpur

The Majestic Hotel Kuala Lumpur – The Colonial Café – English Trifle

The Majestic Hotel Kuala Lumpur

The Majestic Hotel Kuala Lumpur – The Colonial Café – Hainanese Chicken Rice Balls

The Majestic Hotel Kuala Lumpur

The Majestic Hotel Kuala Lumpur – The Colonial Café – Lobster Thermidor

The Colonial Café is situated in the main hall of The Majestic Hotel Kuala Lumpur, with a grand piano as its centre piece, where nightly performances of a four piece band accompanied by sultry voices throw you back to days gone by, giving you a glimpse into its very magnificent past.

The Classic Fish Cakes, an appetiser, is elevated by a blend of fish fried golden in breadcrumbs, and topped with a truffled egg on a bed of creamy spinach and served with a side of homemade chutney. This is the type of dish you would expect the British out post officers to dine on during colonial times.

Another appetiser of note is the Classic Prawn Cocktail, which some would think to be difficult to further perfect. There is really no appetiser that is as British in nature as the prawn cocktail, and The Colonial Café serves up a punching one in a brandy sinfter. Although ingredients are easy, simply consisting of cold baby prawns, shredded lettuce, cucumber and a spicy cocktail sauce, to keeping it exciting is always the challenge. The Colonial Café manages to do just that.

The dishes at The Colonial Café range from the very British Malayan to the very modern definition of fine cuisine. A must try is the Old-Style Hainanese Chicken Rice Balls. This traditional Hainanese dish is prepared with the poaching of farm-raised chicken topped with a delicious blending of oyster sauce made with chicken stock. The rice is presented in hand-pressed balls which are tightly formed for an intense flavour like nothing you would expect.

One cannot go wrong with the very succulent Porterhouse Angus Steak. The Colonial Café has spared no expense to procure these fine slabs of beef, with such texture and subtle flavour, and cooked to perfection. Other dishes of note would include the Ox-tail Soup, Baked Seafood Crab Shell and one can never go wrong with a succulent Lobster Thermidor.

If you ever happen to be in Kuala Lumpur, even for a night, do stop by at The Colonial Café. If you want a greater experience, do check into the Majestic Wing at the Majestic Hotel Kuala Lumpur, which will guarantee you a great time. This is the perfect place to have a great meal and unwind after a long day.

Courtesy of: The Colonial Café, The Majestic Hotel Kuala Lumpur | Photography by: Lila Bakar | Website: www.majestickl.com/colonial-cafe
Nicholas Ng About the author

Perpetual master of words bringing Southeast Asia to your fingertips. With a LLB and LLM from the UK, The FG Magazine is just one of his many talents. Head of Public Relations at a marketing agency by day, freelance writer by night, he is always looking out for the next cause célèbre.

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