The House Of Celebration Menu At The St. Regis Langkawi Showcases Its Unique Destination And Heritage

For The St. Regis Hotels, its recent Asia-Pacific rollout of its House of Celebration has inspired properties flying its flag to reference the halcyon days of the Astor family of New York City. It was John Jacob Astor IV who built the original St. Regis New York as a sister property to his part-owned Waldorf-Astoria Hotel—and his mother Caroline Astor, the high society doyenne, whose glamourous parties left many of the city’s well-heeled coveting invitations. Since the hotel’s inception in 1904, the storied balls of the Astor family have become immortalised as legend.

In the present day, the House of Celebration at The St. Regis hotels are realised in a series of lively affairs in the finest addresses in Asia Pacific—from Hong Kong and Shanghai to Jakarta and Osaka. Themes of culture, fashion and dining connect with the forever idea of celebration. At The St Regis Langkawi, located on the island of myths and legends, the House of Celebration (running till the end of August) takes the form of an eight-course Exquisite Journey Menu that harks back to the summer season and the celebration of heritage. 

At the Bill Bensley-designed Kayuputi, where century-old wooden doors salvaged from the Dutch embassy in Yangon lead into a dazzling white interior of albino peacocks and 60 teak columns inlaid with camel bone, you discover the perfect setting for an epicurean celebration. In this space, meant to recall an art collector’s beachside holiday home, the dining venue’s chef de cuisine Shahfi Yusoff showcases an accomplished repertoire comprising ingredient-led dishes and gastronomic recollections. 

Case in point is his opener of Heritage Bites featuring the ornate-patterned rose cookies with Sarawak black pepper and trout roe, and Char Siu Bidor duck with organic egg floss, bringing with it unmistakable sensations of nostalgia. “This menu is really a story of Malaysia,” says Shahfi, who is a native Kedahan, the state which Langkawi belongs to. “In conceiving this menu, I wanted diners to feel like they’re travelling to an authentic place, to smell and taste the cuisine that Malaysians relate to their origins and home.” 

Naturally, in a place as multi-cultural as Malaysia, the menu exhibits many influences of its people, which can be seen in the Chinese-styled black chicken ginseng soup, a herbal concoction with black truffle dumplings and goji berries. The Hokkaido scallop is then served with a dressing of Thai green curry mousseline, a nod to Langkawi’s northern connections with Thailand. And the locally sourced Andaman snapper is presented with the menu masterpiece of an asam pedas risotto, a blend of blue belly shrimp, braised and grilled octopus, macadamias, ginger flowers and coriander for a herbaceous, spicy and wholly exotic celebration of Malay spices with modern textures. 

For Shahfi, the key challenge in the Exquisite Journey Menu lay in retaining the balance of flavours, something he sought to do with the herbal chicken soup, a clear and light counterpoint to the punchier tastes of pepper, asam pedas and green curry. “In developing this menu, we went back to our childhood,” Shahfi explains. “For me, it was my late grandmother and her cooking, and the entire menu relates so much to the land and our shared heritage.” 

An interlude of sorbet segued into a tasty lamb saddle drizzled with Kulim oil, Malaysian-styled curries, and topped with a pineapple chutney for tropical-flavoured surprise. Meanwhile, the dessert of harum manis mango-derived ice cream and mousse made for a heady end, with the addition of passionfruit, palm sugar caviar and rose essences. Looking ahead to future House of Celebration themes, Shahfi is excited about incorporating even more of Malaysia and Asia in the cuisine. The coming seasons are poised to introduce new timeless rituals inextricably drawn from the legendary Astor celebrations, brought to life in a new day and age right here at The St. Regis Langkawi.

The St. Regis Langkawi

Photos: Ken Lim / Momenz Creation

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