Black Tie Banquet

When Allan wed Huey Miin on May 8, I was privileged to share their story and my experience from the church wedding to their banquet by the bay that closed with fireworks that wowed guests with a star spangled sky.

Allan and Miin's black tie banquet was graced by royalty
Unlike other couples whose Raja Se-hari event was for just one day, their wedding celebration was far from over.  The celebration continued the next day with a traditional Chinese tea ceremony where Allan was introduced to Miin’s family and the day ended with a cool “rock concert” at EightLido, that place were Allan met Miin.  This was a private party with performances dedicated to the newly-weds, presented by friends and talents both local and from across the sea.

I’m sure Allan and Miin valued their time together to recover from the festivities and grab some rest before they gear themselves up for the itinerary planned for the final day of their wedding celebration.  Then I learnt that Allan had landed himself in hospital!  All the stress and strain of the pre-wedding preparations must have put a kink in his system because after a battery of checks, he was diagnosed with spinal disc herniation and had to wear a cervical collar to relieve the excruciating pain!

The happy couple, Allan & Miin
On May 19 I received Allan’s message with a belated thank you for the, and I quote: “wonderful article you wrote on our wedding, I loved it!”  He also wanted to know if I was joining them at Legoland and the banquet on May 23.  I was at Legoland several times earlier this year for various events and told him I would skip that part but wouldn’t miss being his guest at the evening banquet.  I asked about his health and the indomitable Allan told me: “I may be in a collar brace but the show must go on!”

So May 23 kicked off with an exciting outdoor trip to Legoland Malaysia Resort dedicated to guests with young families followed by an evening reception – a Black Tie Banquet at Jen Puteri Harbour Hotel.  It was an elegant evening with the men looking smart in their dark tuxedos and the ladies decked up in glittering gowns.

Only the cold appetizer was pre-plated
Allan and Miin were honoured by royal guests, Her Royal Highness Permaisuri Johor Raja Zarith Sofia and her daughter, the princess Tun Aminah Maimunah Iskandariah, who graced the event.  Live music was provided by the Allegro Quartet, whom I recognized, was made up of some members from the National Symphony Orchestra, and later on, guests were wowed by an amazing show by Malaysia’s top illusionist, Zelvin.

Knowing Allan, he must have planned a special menu with Executive Chef Alan Wong and I eagerly anticipated the meal (which I was told by none other than Chef Alan himself) that the menu was tailor-made for Allan and Miin’s wedding banquet.  I’ve experienced Chef Alan’s cuisine and am aware of his passion to present a meal that not only befits the occasion but also must have the “wow factor.”  And I was not disappointed.

Australian snapper with cardamom infused orange sauce
Chef Alan and his team of 15 chefs certainly worked hard to create a memorable dining experience for the 240 guests.  They put in a great deal of effort to present an interesting menu with a balance of bland, strong, sweet and sharp tastes with food in a variety of textures, temperatures and colours.  Chef Alan said only the cold scallops appetizer was pre-plated while the main course items where plated ala minute.

He said a black tie banquet should be matched by a menu that is distinctly continental and you can’t get more English than green peas.  These were used to create a classic rich pea soup served with a choice of bread rolls.

This course was followed by an entrĂ©e of a light fish dish: Australian snapper with cardamom infused orange sauce.  Chef Alan said the cardamom was used to reflect Allan’s Indian heritage.

My serving of mango-pomelo sorbet
tucked within an ice balloon!
“Hot food should go out hot,” said Chef Alan, proud that good teamwork in the kitchen ensured that each guest received their meal while it was still hot.  It was a challenge but an unforgettable experience for the team to serve up a storm particularly when royalty and the who’s who of JB were among the distinguished guests at the banquet!

A fruited ice or sorbet was served to clear the palate after the fish dish and to prepare guests to enjoy the main course.  Inspired by a popular recipe served in Hong Kong dessert houses, Chef Alan created the mango-pomelo ice sorbet from fresh ingredients as the Chinese part of the menu.

Many guests at the banquet were probably so impressed by the dramatic presentation of the mango-pomelo sorbet that they thought it was the dessert that signaled the end of the meal.  I didn’t blame them because I was also rather fascinated by how the sorbet was served inside a teardrop shaped ice balloon that was lit up by a tiny flashing coloured light! 

A selection of cake, macaroon and pralines for my dessert
I overheard a baffled guest asking, “How to eat ah?” because the sorbet was tucked inside an ice balloon with a small side opening, somewhat like a little igloo.  My tart answer was, “With your mouth!” but softened it by suggesting that he removed the sorbet dish from within the ice balloon to spoon the fruited ice into his mouth…

Chef Alan told me he and his team of 4 chefs took 7 days to create the ice balloons using a simple technique with the help of a big freezer.  I must admit that it was quite an amazing feat to create not just 10 ice balloons only for guests at the main table but they made 240 of them for each guest at the banquet!

Then, the main course of chicken roulade was served.  This was created with a roll of tender chicken stuffed with a blend of chicken mousse and mushrooms, drizzled with a choice of apple or rending sauce.

One of the serving staff politely whispered that dessert was served in a buffet laid out in the foyer and that we could help ourselves from the spread.  Ah!  A dessert buffet is a good idea and I always have space for dessert.

The centerpiece was a display of Magic Mushrooms – melt-in-your-mouth meringue – bordered by trays of eight types of French pastries including 3 types of chocolate pralines and 3 types of macaroons.  I must say, it was a delicious and delightful spread to end our meal sweetly.

Executive Chef Alan Wong [Right] and his team, creating
a spectacular spread of desserts on a piece of parchment paper
Meanwhile, Chef Alan and his team spared no effort to present a spectacular spread of this dessert to the guests at the main table, designed on a piece of edible parchment paper.  The Magic Mushrooms were attractively presented along with macaroons created in Allan and Miin’s wedding theme colours – red, black and white – cubes of cake and chocolate pralines in various designs including cute pairs of pink lips!

A wedding banquet was not complete without speeches and the first of these were given by Dr Maria Fernandez, Allan’s mother and Miin’s elder brother, Jeremy Kee.  Among other recollections about Allan, his mother said that his deeply caring and loving personality is a source of great pride and joy.  Meanwhile, the brother of the bride closed his speech with a few words of advice and commended Allan by saying that he couldn’t think of anyone else more worthy of marrying his sister.

The Best Man’s speech, incidentally, was not given by Allan’s best man but by Suzie Yap.  In the tradition of Best Man’s speeches, she poked fun at him by drawing quotes and references from his FaceBook posts but concluded that Allan is a good friend and role model.

Allan, giving his bridegroom's speech
with his wife by his side
The moment everyone was waiting for finally arrived when Allan and Miin stepped up to the microphone to give the bridegroom’s speech.  She stood by him in silent support as he expressed his appreciation and shared his thoughts, and when it came to the part where Allan said he missed his father and wished he was here, he paused to swallow hard.  Allan did not hide his emotions and paused often probably because he was too choked up to speak.  Finally, he thanked his wife for loving him and declared, “You give me the only reason I need to live!”

If the guests in the audience were touched by his words, his wife was clearly deeply moved too.  In spontaneous response, she took to the mic and confessed, “I’m very lucky to have you in my life.”  And added, “Even if you wear that collar for the rest of your life, I will still be with you!”

There were a few “wow”moments throughout the evening but the sincere and unscripted exchange between the bride and groom was truly a fitting end to a meaningful and memorable month-long wedding celebration.  Thanks, Allan and Miin, for letting me be part of this momentous milestone in your lives!  God bless.

1 comment:

  1. Indeed this is an ultimate wedding destination. But for my big day I also want to reserve best Banquet Halls and Venues. I am hoping everybody will take good memories with them while leaving my wedding.