Weekend Absolute Hi-Tea at Swatches


When I arrived at Swatches in Fraser Place Puteri Harbour, I spied Chef Daniel Lowe and his team putting the finishing touches to the set-up for the Absolute Hi-Tea buffet, in the usual last-minute rush to get everything in place before the buffet opened at 12.30pm.


Platter of Portuguese Baked Fish at the buffet

Applying his natural flair for Portuguese and Peranakan cuisine, Chef Daniel is proud to present an Absolute Hi-Tea buffet in a one-stop destination at a best-deal price, for an authentic taste of Nyonya and Portuguese specialties outside of Melaka at Puteri Harbour.


Born in Melaka to Portuguese and Peranakan parents, Chef Daniel, who leads the culinary team at Fraser Place Puteri Harbour, developed and refined his cooking techniques in a colourful culinary career in Singapore and Malaysia.


The affable Chef Daniel Lowe

With some 20 years of diversified culinary experience which started in his home kitchen where he enjoyed observing his mother while she cooked, Chef Daniel grew up with a keen interest in culinary arts.


He is pleased to share a blend of Kristang-Serani-Nyonya cuisine, derived from his Portuguese-Eurasian-Peranakan heritage which he inherited from generations of this unique community who still live in the Portuguese Settlement in Melaka.


This weekend high tea buffet spread begins with Appetizers in a range of mixed salads and Do-It-Yourself fruit and vegetable salads like crunchy Rojak.


Chef Daniel pointed out with pride, that this was probably the only place outside of Melaka to savour Nyonya Acar Chillie – whole pickled stuffed chillies.


Portuguese Roasted Leg of Lamb
served with Peri-Peri sauce

As weekend buffets should be enjoyed at leisure, diners have the time and pleasure to mix their own salads, stuff toasted bean-curd squares and assemble stacks of sandwiches.


There were also live-stations where culinary staff will serve freshly wrapped Nyonya Popia Basah or spring rolls and fill Nyonya Pai Tee, a delicacy in crispy top-hats.


At the seafood section, diners may pick their choice of fresh seafood items for the staff to cook in Assam Pedas gravy and serve it steaming hot in the tradition of Assam Pedas Pokok Besar Melaka.


Assam Pedas, a phrase simply translated as tart and spicy, is a popular local gravy which comes in a variety of textures, unique to the different states. Along this line, Chef Daniel was quick to remind diners to savour and enjoy their Melaka-style of Assam Pedas.


Filling the Nyonya Pai Tee,
crispy top-hats

Fans of fish also made a beeline to the platter of Melaka Portuguese Baked Fish to help themselves to their favourite parts of that fleshy big fish.


The secret was clearly in its sauce because Chef Daniel declared that this baked fish recipe can be successfully used on any big fish available from the market. So diners may savour a variety of big fish that was bought fresh for the next weekend’s buffet.


Meat was always a popular choice so a small queue had formed in front of the counter that served tender slices of Portuguese-style Roasted Leg of Lamb drizzled with a dollop of Peri-Peri sauce.


At the hot buffet, there was white steamed rice to savour with gravies like Ikan Chuan-Chuan – Fish Fillets in Preserved Bean Paste Sauce or tau-cheong, Camarao Bostador – Prawn Bostador, a Eurasian sambal recipe, Kapitan Lula – Sambal Kapitan Cuttlefish, and Ambilek Borber – Chicken Curry with Squash.


Don't miss this Nyonya Acar Chillies

The hot buffet continued with two choices of Soup, dim-sum like pau and siew mai dumplings as well as Brinjal Pimente – Blackpepper Brinjal, and Pandan wrapped Chicken.


Meanwhile, please be warned that the Portuguese Spicy Fried Noodles – as its name implies – was prepared in a truly spicy recipe that uses spicy chillies and vinegar.


To cool down, there was Seafood-on-Ice to savour a choice of prawns and oysters.


A miniature portion of 
Chicken Rice Balls

The Melaka experience here is completed with a miniature portion of Chicken Rice Balls served in a dainty dish of tiny rice-balls with a side of boiled chicken and condiments like a wedge of hard-boiled, a slice of braised tofu and fresh cucumber slices.


It made sense that the Chicken Rice Balls were deliberately created in miniature size so that diners may help themselves to as many portions as they liked.


The buffet continued with savoury snacks like deep-fried samosa, treasure pouches, Ngoh Hiang or five-fragrance rolls, and mini spring rolls, as well as sweet treats in a spread of cakes, pastries, puddings and Nyonya kueh to savour with hot beverages in a choice of coffee and tea.


Comfortably satisfied with a taste of Nyonya and Portuguese cuisine without leaving the state, it was time to round off this leisurely buffet on a hot afternoon with an icy treat in a Do-It-Yourself bowl of syrupy shaved ice or pick from a variety of iced-lollipops in the freezer.


The Absolute Hi-Tea that features Nyonya & Portuguese Style Seafood, is served on Saturdays and Sundays from 12.30pm to 4.30pm.


Price at RM148+ in a special Buy One get One Free deal.


Swatches Restaurant is located on the lobby level of Fraser Place Puteri Harbour at Jalan Persiaran Tanjung, Pengkalan Puteri, 79100 Iskandar Puteri, Johor.


For enquiries and reservations, Tel: +607 – 530 8837, +6013 – 778 6821.

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