Saturday February 23, 2013
The Majestic Hotel - the current haute spot for English afternoon tea
Story and photos by ALICE CHING
Restored to its former glory, The Majestic Hotel Kuala Lumpur is the current haute spot in town for English afternoon tea.
IT isn’t exactly Buckingham Palace or Downton Abbey but Anglophiles will feel right at home the minute they step into The Majestic Hotel Kuala Lumpur.
Situated opposite the ornate railway station along the historical Jalan Sultan Hishamuddin, this grand dame of a hotel finally reopened last December as a YTL Classic Hotel. Restored to its former glory, the original Hotel Majestic façade and main building now include a new extended wing thus cementing its iconic status as a 1930s heritage landmark in the city.
For the uninitiated, the old Hotel Majestic was the venue of choice for glamorous soirées, milestone celebrations and a luxe “home away from home” for visiting dignitaries and well-heeled travellers during its halcyon days. Its legendary allure hasn’t dimmed a bit judging from the droves of local and foreign curiosity seekers that flock to the stately hotel daily just to ogle at its magnificent art deco premises.
For ordinary mortals like us, the elegant Tea Lounge’s English Afternoon Tea (a steal at RM78++ for two) offers a welcome respite from life’s daily drudgery. Coupled with a dose of imagination, it gives us an enticing taste of what it’s like to be ladies of leisure or savvy, wheeling and dealing tycoons.
Tucked away in the Majestic Wing, the bright and breezy lounge looks out to the hotel’s manicured lawns and profusion of greenery. Opulently furnished with cosy arm and wingback chairs, overstuffed settees and ottomans interspersed with ornate tableside lamps, the charming retro ambience also features old-fashioned grid ceilings bedecked with classic cut-glass lighting and antique brass fittings, and a collection of rare, sepia-toned photographs of old Kuala Lumpur.
Fancy greater privacy for your tête-à-tête sessions? Then it pays to ensconce yourselves within the plush Drawing Room or the beautiful Orchid Conservatory at an additional surcharge of RM20++ per person. On weekends and public holidays when seating reaches maximum capacity, patrons can choose to sit in the two high-ceilinged atria flanking the Colonial Cafe, inside the Reading Room or the Library.
True to tradition, the quintessential tea temptations: delicate triangles of smoked salmon and cucumber sandwiches, and buttery scones with clotted cream and fruit preserves are served with a flourish on copper-burnished and glass tiered stands.
The irresistible morsels go down well with cups of The Majestic’s house blend tea – Boh Cameronian. Every afternoon tea set includes a pot that is ample for two persons. More finicky tea aficionados may prefer the Ronnefeldt gourmet tea selection that is available at RM30++ per pot.
In keeping with the colonial Malaya theme, two local items: dainty lamb curry puffs and breaded sardine spirals are included in the menu. Light, flaky and buttery with a deliciously spicy diced meat and potato stuffing, it hardly surprises us that the pastries have quickly been a big hit with patrons.
Although the crisp sardine-filled rolls are agreeable, they do pale slightly in comparison. Should these sublime offerings run out, the chefs will proffer similar savoury items as substitutes.
Sweet-toothed patrons will agree that lively conversations are best complemented by a sugar rush for tea. The miniature glasses of panna cotta topped with exotic fruit compote, slender lemon curd tartlets and chocolate sablés not only befit the posh setting but also help to minimise on the guilt factor.
Never mind if the panna cotta and lemon curd are a tad runny. Such a little hiccup is inconsequential when you’re whiling away an afternoon cocooned in the lap of luxury.
THE MAJESTIC HOTEL
5 Jalan Sultan Hishamuddin
Tel: 03-2785 8000