Desaru Coast is an up-and-coming town in Johor, Malaysia which is a 2-hour drive from Singapore. The Johor state of government is developing Desaru Coast into a premium integrated destination resort. In fact, it is one of Malaysia’s most highly anticipated new tourism developments.
At the moment, you can find globally-renowned resorts like the Hard Rock Hotel, The Westin and Anantara at Desaru Coast. The award-winning ultra-luxury resort, One&Only, will also be operating their resort, villas and private homes here at a later date.
Desaru Coast Gourmet Series
I was invited by Tourism Malaysia to attend the first edition of Desaru Coast Gourmet series in early December. It is a signature dining programme by Desaru Coast.
In this 6-series dining programme, they have invited award-winning chefs from over the world to present their unique interpretations of iconic Malaysian cuisines. Guests are invited to embark on this culinary journey to rediscover Malaysian cuisine.
The first edition features award-winning Michelin Chef, Emmanuel Stroobant. Chef Stroobant is a Grand Chef of Relais & Chateaux, a global fellowship of luxury hotels and restaurants. He also owns Saint Pierre, a one Michelin star French restaurant in Singapore.
A Malaysian Journey
Our dinner was held at The Els Club Desaru Ocean Course. It was a full house event that evening.
Chef Stroobant’s curated menu is themed ‘A Malaysian Journey’ which includes his own interpretation of the Nasi Kerabu and other Malaysian-inspired dishes.
Before our 6-course dinner, Chef Stroobant did a short cooking demonstration on making salads using Malaysian spices and herbs. He also revealed that he is a vegetarian himself.
To add a luxurious touch to his creations, Chef topped his creations with a sprinkle of gold dust. His short rib dish in the menu also has a touch of gold.
Helming the kitchen that evening is Chef Stroobant himself, along with his team. It was interesting watching him and his team cooking up a storm in the kitchen.
On The Table
The highlight of the dinner was the beef short ribs which came along with golden crackers and jackfruit. The chef made clever use of this tropical fruit which pairs well with meat dishes. The perfectly-cooked short ribs tasted very tender and juicy.
For starters, we had Indian-style flat bread with yoghurt-base sauce.
Nasi Kerabu served with Brinjal Buah Keluak, Salted Egg Popiah and Okra Sambal
Abalone with Bang Kuang (Jicama) and Marigold
Scallop with coconut and laksa
24hr Braised Beef short ribs with galangal, garlic, lemongrass, jackfruit and keropok
The dessert menu is specially curated by Singaporean pastry chef Michael Lin. This young pastry chef’s innovative take on Malaysian-inspired desserts is applaudable.
He uses ingredients like kaffir lime leave and Gula Melaka to bring about a beautiful contrast of flavours in his desserts. I particularly enjoyed the La Creamier Vanilla Ice cream pop with crushed kaffir lime leaves. The sudden burst of zesty flavour from the leaves is very refreshing. Thankfully, the vanilla ice cream lends its sweetness to mellow down the sharp acrid taste of the leaves.
La Creamier Vanilla Ice cream, White Chocolate, Pop rocks and Kaffir Lime leaves
Coconut, Pineapple, Pandan, Mango, Financier and Gingerflower
From right to left (front): We had Emping Belinjau lime dragee, saffron and
Overall, it was a pleasant meal which showcases the beauty of Malaysian spices, herbs and ingredients like Buah Keluak and Gula Melaka.
Who’s the next chef to helm the kitchen at Desaru Coast? I’m excited.