Maio at MSuites

Mediterranean feel in the foyer of Maio at M Suites Hotel

Maio, the newest dining destination in M Suites Hotel, is like icing on the cake for the recently refurbished all-suites hotel in Johor Baru.  

Housed in a charming old mansion in the hotel’s rear compound, Maio is set in a lush garden and easily accessible from Jalan Straits View Six either through Jalan Skudai or Jalan Straits View.  From this entrance, a private driveway will lead you directly to the parking lot at Maio’s doorstep.

Even as you park your car, your eyes will be riveted to the fascinating façade of this hidden gem.  Painted in pale yellow, this mansion has a foyer bordered by a wall that is designed with a series of attractive arches.  Terracotta floor tiles and lazily whirring ceiling fans above simply add to the charming Mediterranean feel.  

Calamari Ai Ferri, a light appetizer of char-grilled squid

In the lobby, you have a clear view of the chefs working in the kitchen and the stone oven where breads and pastries are baked.  Here’s where Chef Ahmad Zaim Abdullah and his team are busy whipping up a menu of Mediterranean and Italian food for connoisseurs of their innovative culinary creations. 

From complex concoctions to plain flatbreads seasoned with a sprinkle of fresh herbs, meals at Maio are scrumptious because they are freshly made with quality ingredients.

Since its soft opening three months ago, Maio has been attracting a steady stream of customers who know how to appreciate good food served in an elegant ambience.  While Chef Ahmad is still developing his East-meets-West a la carte menu, he’s happy that his Valentine’s Day meal was a sold-out event for couples who chose to celebrate that special day at Maio.  The restaurant also successfully hosted several private parties that enjoyed menus that were specially designed for them.

Chef Ahmad drizzling a little more
sauce on grilled rack of lamb

Diners can choose to eat in a tastefully appointed dining room that boasts a cosy corner furnished with a group of dark leather armchairs, reminiscent of a traditional gentleman’s club in old England.  A marble chess set, laid out in an alcove, is ready for players to pitch their talents in a friendly challenge.  In the garden terrace, an entire wall of floor-to-ceiling glass panels is designed to bring the garden almost right next to your table and invites in natural light for an airy ambience!

Just ask for Maio’s daily specials and Chris, short for Christian Bernard De Mello, the Outlet Manager, will give you his recommendations that are surprisingly good because only premium products are used here.  If you have any particular preference, feel free to discuss it with him and don’t be surprised that the versatile chefs are able to whip it up for you – if they happen to have all the ingredients!

Whet your appetite with freshly baked ciabatta bread dipped in olive oil and balsamic syrup while waiting for an appetizer of Calamari Ai Ferri to be served.  Then sink your teeth into the char-grilled, crunchy rolls of squid lightly flavoured with spicy lime and chillie dressing.  Maio Caesar Salad is another refreshing appetizer created with a choice of grilled sliced beef bacon or tender chicken meat, tossed in romaine lettuce, garlic croutons, topped with parmesan cheese and a light Caesar dressing.

Gently lift layer of puff pastry to reveal
piping hot French Onion Soup

If you are a fan of French Onion Soup, you will be delighted that it is served here topped with a layer of freshly baked puff pastry.  Gently lift the pastry to release the aroma sealed within before you dig into the piping hot soup, thick with slivers of sliced onions.  There are no hard and fast rules so you can choose to dip the pastry into the soup or set it aside to separately savour the puff’s flaky fragrance!

Coffee lovers can end your meal with a cup of Affogato made with a tiny scoop of Haagen-Dazs vanilla ice-cream topped with a shot of hot espresso and taste their tantalizing Tiramisu.  This Halal version of Italian cheesecake certainly lives up to expectation but if you are not into coffee or chocolate, there’s a range of desserts to choose from including a delectable baked Cheesecake with strawberry sauce.

“Many of our customers are returnees,” said Chris, “simply because they want more of the same food.”  He said their signature pizza is also popular for takeaways.  In fact, a corporate client whose employees are long-stay guests in M Suites, are not moving to another hotel because these guests don’t want to miss their meals in Maio! 

The Halal Maio Italian Restaurant at M Suites Hotel is open from 11am to 2.30pm and 6.30pm to 11pm daily and closed on Tuesday.  It is located at No. 16, Jalan Skudai, 80200 Johor Bahru, Johor.  Tel: 607 – 2211 000 Extension 446.  Fax: 607 – 2260 380.  Website:

Maio pizza topped with chicken, tomatoes, pineapple rings and cheese
Tasty Tiramisu lives up to expectation!

A version of this article was published in The New Straits Times, Johor Streets on 27 March 2012


  1. This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

  2. can we just go there for eat?