Christmas in Malaysia may not be as big as it is in some other countries, but there’s an overall festive cheer in the air nonetheless. Come December, malls deck out their decorations of Christmas trees and baubles, while restaurants and hotels offer Christmas eve packages, Christmas Day buffet lunches, and New Year Countdown dinners.
Those planning for an extra special celebration this year can head on to The Majestic Hotel KL and immerse themselves in the place’s beautiful colonial setting and historical charm. Opened in the 1930s, the heritage building features a Neoclassical and Art Deco style, and was often patronised by the colonial and social elites during Malaya’s colonial heydays. It was also used as a base camp for Japanese soldiers during World War II, before it was converted into Malaysia’s National Art Gallery. After being left vacant for 10 years, the hotel was given a new breath of life and restored to its former glory.
The Colonial Cafe is where guests can enjoy the Christmas Eve dinner, which I was privileged to attend. Entering the spacious cafe is like taking a walk back in time, as immaculately coiffed butlers attend to your every need. Black and white photos hang on cream-coloured walls, and a piano sits in the center of the cafe just underneath a grand chandelier. Everything is cast in a soft yellow light, from numerous classic lamps and smaller chandeliers.
Our table for the night was set with roses, festive decorations such as small golden bells and ribbons, red wine glasses and candles.
A Christmas gift was placed at my seat – a special Christmas Album by the hotel’s resident performers, the Solianos. The Soliano family is well known in the Malaysian music scene, and they are the only vocal harmony group in the country that has lasted 30 years. Now into the fourth generation, the family continues to be influential within local music circles with their beautiful brand of jazz. The Solianos will be performing during Christmas Eve, Christmas Day and on New Year’s Eve.
We started off the meal with a mulled wine. I’m not an alcohol drinker, but this was surprisingly sweet, like dark cherry or prune juice with overtones of cinnamon and spice. The warm liquid trickled down my throat and lit a fire in my belly. If more wines tasted like this, I guess I wouldn’t mind having some every now and then :D
The Amuse Bouche of Salmon, Creme Fraiche and Fresh Dill was light and airy on the tongue, with a hint of saltiness to whet the appetite.
Next came Seared Bay Scallops, White Asparagus and Broad Beans. It was a pleasure digging into the huge, meaty scallops, lightly seasoned with pepper to bring out the shellfish’s sweetness.The asparagus and beans balanced out the dish, lending it a crunchy texture and clean, green flavour.
*This will be paired with Huntaway Marlborough Sauvignon Blanc at the actual dinner.
One of my favourite dishes of the night was the Red Onion Soup with Gruyere Toasts. The red onion soup was a clear yet hearty broth, reminiscent of French Onion soups – the perfect comfort food for cold rainy nights.
The winner, though, was their gooey, melted Gruyere cheese on crunchy toast. Ladled on in generous amounts, each bite earned me a stringy strand clinging on to the bread, just like you see in those pizza commercials! :) Cheese lovers will definitely be satisfied.
It was a little odd having a ‘dessert’ in the middle of the meal, but the Raspberry Sorbet proved to be a good palate cleanser. The icy sorbet was berry sweet and refreshing, with hints of sour and salty from the pink salt rimming the glass.
The practice of eating Turkey on Christmas is a relatively new one, according to this source. Either way, many hotels in Malaysia offer it as part of their Christmas promos. Turkey is said to be a better, leaner source of protein, but it’s not my favourite meat because of the dry texture. At The Majestic, a whole turkey was expertly carved up by the chef, then served with parsnip mashed, roasted root vegetables, stuffing and giblet gravy.
Overall, it was tasty, but I still couldn’t get over how dry the meat was. Good thing the gravy was delicious and flavourful. Everything else on the plate was excellent.
*This will be paired with Sister’s Run Epiphany McLaren Vale Shiraz Australia
Other options for main course, which we didn’t get to try but will be available on Christmas Eve:
- Roasted Short Ribs Glazed with Tomato Sauce, Roasted Butternut Squash paired with Sister’s Run Epiphany McLaren Vale Shiraz Australia
- Pan Seared Cod, Baby Vegetables, Peas and Mint Risotto Fish Bouillon paired with Alkoomi Black Label Chardonnay Western Australia
Wrapping up the meal on a sweet note was a dessert of Orange Parfait with Cinnamon Crumble and Grapefruit Sherbet. This was an interesting combination – the cinnamon crumble, sweet and spiced, had a crunchy texture similar to mashed biscuits; while the grapefruit sherbet was sweet, tangy and icy. At the bottom was a creamy, milky orange parfait. One scoop and you get all these different flavours and textures in your mouth, but it didn’t taste as sinful, as say, decadent chocolate cake so it was easy to polish off the whole bowl.
After dessert, stay for Petit Fours of Homemade Cookies and Chocolates, or tuck into some freshly brewed coffee or tea as you countdown to Christmas.
The Christmas Eve menu is priced at RM280 per pax and RM380 (with wine pairing).
For reservations, call 03- 2785 8000