Home to Chinese & Nyonya Cuisine
While we were having our weekend staycation at Kings Green Hotel City Centre Melaka recently, we also dined at their Chinese eatery, Jia Restaurant. Quite the hidden gem in the historical city, Jia is translated as ‘Home’. On the evening that we dine there, the restaurant was packed with locals enjoying their dinner there as well as guests.
The restaurant is elegantly designed with a simple classic Oriental theme with splashes of auspicious red contrasting with white and wood elements. While the main dining room is rather spacious and filled with big tables as well as banquette seating, there is also a large private dining room available.
The menu boasted of classic Chinese dishes along with another menu of Nyonya dishes as well as some Thai dishes. Since we dined at Jia on the evening, we savored their Chinese dishes by Chef Lam Yee Voon. The restaurant offers a solid choice of dishes from simple classics to banquet style Chinese dishes, both available a la carte or set menus for small to large parties.
Chef Lam, a humble and rather shy one, surprised us by whipping up some really scrumptious Chinese dishes. Not only were the dishes yummy, the presentation was simply elegant and quite grandeur with his skillful carvings and sugar works to enhance the dishes.
First dish up, a Thai classic of Steamed Seabass in Spicy Lime Juice (RM49 onwards). Beautiful balance of sweet, savory, sour and spicy makes the dish a very appetizing one to go with steamed rice. One may even find the soup so irresistible like me who kept going back for spoonful after spoonful of the flavourful soup. The presentation was an added bonus to the dish.
The Braised Chicken with Salted Fish in Claypot (RM28) was one of my favorite dish that evening. The moreish notes of salted fish with dark sweet soy sauce has soaked into the tender dark meat of the chicken so well along with spring onions, ginger and dried chilies. Aromatic and quite sinful, the dish beckons one to enjoy more rice as it has such an addictiveness of flavours. Super yum…
The next dish of Baked Prawn with Cheese & Butter Garlic Sauce (RM42) made an impressive appearance from its presentation of colors. The crusteaceans were deliciously succulent with a lovely garlicky and cheesy note. Enjoy these piping hot for the best flavours!
Chef Lam went all out and serve his Deep Fried Squid with Butter (RM31) in an intricately carved watermelon bowl. Talk about the whole works, the dish looked so regal that we almost didn’t want to touch it as it was simply too pretty. One gets fluffy, crispy golden strands of buttery egg floss studded with crispy light battered squid pieces and curry leaves for aroma.
We also tucked into Braised Asparagus with Assorted Mushroom (RM25). Simple classic stir fry vegetables with earthy mushrooms and crunchy black and white fungus.
Another humble dish took form in Homemade Beancurd (RM20). House made egg bean curd, it was deliciously soft, eggy and cream, topped with minced chicken and special sauce. The dish was so yummy, it was polished off soon after it was served.
Besides dishes to go with rice, we also tried their Braised Longevity Noodle (RM38) and Braised Seafood Noodle (RM42). The Braised Longevity Noodles has silky thin rice noodles braised in thick gravy filled with shredded vegetables and mushrooms. Flavours were delicate and pleasant. The Braised Seafood Noodle had egg noodle braised in a rich brown sauce and served generously with lots of fresh seafood and greens.
We finished our dinner with a classic crispy Pancake (RM12) filled with lotus paste as well as a Fruit Platter (RM12). The presentation of the fruit platter was really impressive as Chef Lam showed off his carving skills again on this simple dish. When asked if he presents all his fruit platter like this, he said he tries when the restaurant is not overly crowded.
Daily set menus available from 2 to 10 pax with prices starting from RM109 to RM360, featuring four to six courses with complimentary soup, steamed rice and Chinese tea.
The next day before we checked out, we also dined at Jia Restaurant again but this time for their Nyonya dishes by Chef Jeffrey Khoo. Having worked in other prestigious hotels like Shangrila in Penang previously Chef Khoo’s repertoire of Nyonya cuisine is a mix from Northern and Southern states.
Tuck into this beautifully presented Deep Fried Jenak Fish Chili Garam (RM88 onwards). A whole fish battered and fried till crispy and finished with a piquant chili spiced sauce. It’s a decent dish that works well with steamed rice as most other Nyonya dishes usually do. The sugar work that defies gravity on the plate gave this dish a wow factor when it was served at our table.
Chef Khoo’s Buah Keluak Chicken (RM45) was marvelous in flavours. Deep and complex flavours from buah keluak gave the curry its unusual flavour of aniseed note. Not a dish to win everyone’s palate, the dish was generous with chicken and buah keluak. A lot of effort goes into making this dish and chef did justice to the dish with a good balance of spice flavours.
Another crowd pleaser during that lunch was this creamy and rich Udang Masak Lemak Nenas (RM55). Beautifully tinted with turmeric, the curry was luscious and sublime. Prawns and pieces of pineapple was cooked well too.
Otak Otak (RM22) was passable but nothing to shout about. There was also some Acar served that was yummy.
The Nyonya Chap Chai (RM25) is also good. Lots of vegetables cooked with vermicelli and prawns, the vegetables had a nice sweet savory note.
We also enjoyed the Bendi Kerabu (RM16), a classic Nyonya dish that many would order. Steamed lady fingers topped with a pungent sambal belachan sauce is my kind of a vegetable dish.
Though the Cincaluk Omelette (RM12) was a tad salty, it goes to show that chef was generous with the cincalok. Simple dish but one can really enjoy a whole plate of steamed rice just as an excuse to eat this!
Somehow, we had a Thai dish of Pineapple Fried Rice (RM25) included in this meal. At sight, the dish is very colorful. A decent one as well, the pineapple rice was well-seasoned with light spices and generously studded with chicken, prawn, pineapple and served with crunchy finely shredded cabbage.
For extra condiments on the side, we try the essential Sambal Belachan, Cincaluk and Pickled Chilies.
Prices listed are portions for 4 to 5 person while our dishes are larger and catered for 10 person.
For those in Malacca, this is one Chinese restaurant that is worthy of a visit. Food is excellent and decently priced for a hotel restaurant. Ambiance is also pleasant and perfect for some indulgence or celebrations with family and friends. Now, let’s go ‘home’ for a taste of Chinese and Nyonya flavours at Jia Restaurant…
For reservations and enquiries, please call 06 288 1091 ext. 7
Kings Green Hotel
No 28, Jalan Tun Perak (127.66 km)
Tel: 06-288 1091
Lunch 12noon to 3pm
Dinner 6pm to 10.30pm
Closed on Mondays