Last weekend, I had the pleasure of dining at one of the most gorgeous restaurants I have ever seen – Seri Nyonya of Hotel Equatorial Melaka. This charming Peranakan restaurant is famous for its home cooked Nyonya style-dishes, which is a first in a 5-star hotel as far as I am concerned.
The stunning and colourful setting of Seri Nyonya also makes it a popular venue for couples who want to have a unique Peranakan themed wedding.
It was a full course meal and we were served a total of 7 dishes, all hand-picked by the management to showcase the authenticity of their menu.
We started off with ‘Sup Itik Tim‘ which is a must in any Peranakan meal. It’s basically a soup prepared with pickled vegetables, sour plum and duck meat. The clear looking soup is comforting with a pleasantly piquant but not salty flavour that really opened up the appetite.
And what’s a Peranakan meal without Pie Tie? Easy to eat but tricky to make, these delicate morsels were skillfully crafted. We enjoyed the wonderful contrast of textures between the moist and savoury ‘Jiu Hu Char’ that sits in the thin, crispy cups.
Next up, ‘Ayam Buah Keluak‘ – chicken cooked in spicy aromatic gravy with Kalimantan black nuts. This traditional dish is an acquired taste due to the pungent and sourish taste that the nuts give.
Personally, I wasn’t really a fan of it, this is something that you either like or you don’t.
‘Ikan Gerang Assam‘ – instead of using a whole fish, fish fillets were used instead because they are boneless and easier to eat especially for kids.
Compared to asam pedas (another similar and popular local favourite), the gravy is much thicker with a more balanced mix of spiciness and tartness from the tamarind juice. It was delicious and went extremely well with rice.
My favourite dish of the night had to be the ‘Udang Lemak Nenas‘. This quintessential dish has everyhing I like in a bowl: large meaty sea prawns, coconut based gravy, spiciness and juicy sliced pineapples. There’s simply nothing not to like about this classic that highlights the characterisitcs of Peranakan food – tangy, aromatic and rich.
To complete the experience, there were also ‘Telur Dadar Cincaluk‘ (egg omelette with pickled krill) and ‘Kangkong Goreng Belacan‘. Honestly, I was expecting the omelette to be quite pungent due to the cincaluk but it was surprisingly fragrant. Similar to the Ayam Buah Keluak, cincaluk is also somewhat an acquired taste. Fortunately for me, I liked it. I thought it made a perfect pairing with the gravy from the assam fish.
For dessert we had none other than Nyonya cendol, an icy treat which Melaka is known for. Although it was incomparable to the hawker version, it was commendable for restaurant standard.
Seri Nyonya’s cendol emphasizes on the use of Gula Melaka for a rich and intense flavour, but could use a heavier dose of santan for extra fragrance.
Asam Boi is the signature drink here and the concoction is made with red plum (to get the orangish-red colour) and longan. It’s really quite awesome – refreshing with a perfect combination of sweet and sour, great for quenching thirst.
Besides ala carte dishes, Nyonya style steamboat is also available here at RM70++ for 2 pax. You get to choose between spicy, asam-like soup and clear vegetarian soup for the hot pot. It’s a fair price considering it’s Equatorial, plus you are getting mostly fresh ingredients such as prawns, sliced fish, squid, chicken, beef and yong tau fu and not processed food.Seri Nyonya Peranakan Restaurant
3rd Floor, Hotel Equatorial Melaka
Bandar Hilir, 75000 Melaka
Tel: 06-282 8333