I was in Melaka over the long weekend with my better half and the kids.
Her parents were also with us and so we decided to have a nice Nyonya dinner at Restaurant Ole Sayang in Melaka.
This local restaurant actually serves wonderfully delicious food but has often been disparaged due to their bad service. This is primarily due to the fact that the place is constantly packed to the brim with people.
The reservation was listed down as “Elaine”. We got rather good service coz the owner’s wife came to attend to us. I believe the staff might be a tad overworked, which is why the comments come in as such but if one of the proprietors serve you, you’ll be alright. She actually told me not to order the large portion of their otak-otak in a warm, friendly and confidential tone. Haha.
That’s just a bit of a harmless confidence trick though since she’s actually a very good businesswoman. They even bring their delicious keropok over to each table to see if they want any to take away after your meal. That doesn’t detract from the excellent food though. It may not be for everyone since it’s noisy at times and crowded but if you’re looking for awesome Nyonya chow, you can’t go wrong.
Ayam Ponteh (RM 26)
This is the classic Peranakan dish of chicken cooked Nyonya style. They do it very well in Restaurant Ole Sayang, it was very hearty and delicious. I ate three (3) plates of rice from the gravy alone! It’s a famous local Malaccan recipe and we all loved it.
Asam Pedas Fish Head (RM 75)
The fish is a species called kurau locally and the spicy broth goes very well with it. I was hesitant about ordering it in the classic style since it can be a bit hot but everyone seemed to like it so that was good.
Itik Tim (RM 35)
This is half a duck simmered with savory pickled vegetables for a sour and appetizing soup course. It did its job well, which was to open up our appetites. The duck meat and bones isn’t edible (well, technically it is, but it’s not palatable) since all the moisture and goodness has been sucked out to be in the broth but it’s not meant to be eaten anyway.
Otak-otak (RM 11.50)
This was the only thing which wasn’t up to par. The otak-otak seemed to be a bit off that day. The ratio of santan (coconut cream) to fish paste seem wrong, there was too much of the former so you could only taste coconut milk. Maybe that’s why the owner told me a small portion would do. *shrugs*
Sambal Udang Petai (RM 28)
I love petai and I love shrimps. There’s nothing better than combining the two together! It makes for a spicy dish with a oeuvre of “smelly bean” (which is what petai is called in Chinese). It goes very nicely with the pandan scented rice.
Cincaluk Omelet (RM 14)
The omelet went down very well with the kids. I liked it too but mostly left it for the kids coz they didn’t eat much from the other dishes. They can be a bit picky with food, kinda like me when I was young. You tend to grow out of these things (personally didn’t touch vegetables until my late 20’s) so it’s all good.
Chap Chai (RM 22)
This is the Peranakan style preparation of vegetables and our last order from the Greatest Hits (TM) of Nyonya cuisine. There’s transparent rice vermicelli lining the bottom of the dish – I thought that was a very nice way to absorb the flavors of the gravy.
Huge Cendol (RM 30)
This is calculated according to the number of people. It’s RM 3 per serving (you can also get individual ones) so if you have 10 pax like us, you can opt for a huge mound for everyone. This was liberally doused with the awesome gula Melaka (palm sugar) and even though the kids made a collective spur-of-the-moment group decision not to have any (eh?) the adults all finished it. I myself had 5-6 servings.
I had thought I had over ordered for everyone since we had 10 pax (but 4 of them were kids, so it’s 6 adults) but we managed to finish everything, even the gigantic portion of cendol. There was nary a scrap of meat left (except for the duck carcass in Itik Tim) and the plates looked licked clean. I’ll go again for the food alone. You’ll love this place if you don’t mind a bit of ambience (noise) and you’re looking for traditional Nyonya fare.