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Digest6 Reasons Why Chef Melba's Supper Club Beats Eating At A Restaurant

6 Reasons Why Chef Melba's Supper Club Beats Eating At A Restaurant

6 Reasons Why Chef Melba's Supper Club Beats Eating At A Restaurant
By Samantha Lim
By Samantha Lim
June 10, 2019

Remember Simply Mel's? A restaurant in Kampung Kerinchi—today known as Bangsar South—specialising in Kristang cuisine? Fans were crestfallen when the shop shuttered after half a decade (2011-2016), and its chef moved south to take up a post at The Majestic Malacca.

Those pining after Chef Melba's cooking now have reason to rejoice: the celebrity chef is making a comeback with a series of supper clubs conducted in the comfort of her own home. After sitting in on one of Melba's meals, we can't recommend the experience enough!

1/6Meet The Hostess With The Mostess

Sporting laugh lines where there should be crow's feet, Chef Melba accounts for 90% of the fun at each supper club. Turning 66 in December 2019, the award-winning cookbook author flits back and forth between the kitchen and the dining room with the stamina of someone half her age, initiating conversation and flinging witty comebacks — all while ladling out steaming curries and slicing her famous coconut cake.

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Sago biji gula Melaka. Photo: Chef Melba Nunis Victor
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2/6A True 'Chef’s Table' Experience

Filled with a warmth of welcome that makes customers forget they are in a unit transaction, Chef Melba's home in Ara Damansara serves as the setting for her supper clubs. Framed photographs of her children and grandchildren line the walls while every inch of her refrigerator is plastered with magnets, marking her travels near and far. It's a pleasure to be privy to such an intimate experience.

As she breaks out her fine china, we learn that even the servingware is suffused with history. "I've taken out my mother's dishes today!" she beams, holding up a pretty ceramic bowl with sculpted edges and a floral pattern.

See also: 2 Authentic Kristang Recipes At The Majestic Malacca

3/6Build Your Knowledge Of Local Produce

Keluak Curry. Photo: Chef Melba Nunis Victor
Keluak Curry. Photo: Chef Melba Nunis Victor

'Apple' and 'asparagus' are part and parcel of our learnt vocabulary, but can you correctly identify Southeast Asian ingredients such as 'keluak' and 'karing-karing'?

One of the highlights of our visit is being allowed to handle some of the chef's raw ingredients. Find out the dangerous secret behind buah keluak, a core ingredient in Kristang curries!

4/6A Taste Of Traditional Kristang Cuisine

A product of intermarriage between Portuguese settlers and Malacca-based Malaysians, Kristang fare is becoming increasingly hard to access, what with migration and modernisation — all the more reason to make reservations for this rare experience!

Everything, from the spice blends to the stuffings, is prepared from scratch. "In my world, there is no such thing as going to the supermarket and buying pre-ground spices." Chef Melba remarks, "I don't take any shortcuts."

5/6Some Specialities Aren't Available Anywhere Else

"A few of these dishes are my family's own inventions," says the chef, swelling with pride. "Which explains why you won't find them in any other Kristang home." Take, for instance, the incimintu karangezu or stuffed crabs—a crowd-pleaser if there ever was one. Some parents pass down heirlooms, but at the Victor household, children inherit recipes.

6/6Gain Hands-On Experience

While most guests prefer the role of spectator, culinary curiosity spurs several on to participate in the evening's food prep. Try your hand at mincing garnishes or brave the sputtering wok while helping Chef Melba to stir one of her fiery sambals.

'Pesce sambal binagre' or mackerel in vinegar sambal . Photo: Chef Melba Nunis Victor
'Soy limang terung' or eggplant in lime sauce. Photo: Chef Melba Nunis Victor
 

How To Book?

Contact Chef Melba directly at 012-402 0500 to pin down dates for a supper club experience. Reservations require a minimum number of 6 guests but participation is capped at 10-12 guests to ensure optimum enjoyment.

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Digestchef melba nuniskristang cuisinesupperclub

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