Over the weekend, I made a short trip to Melaka with the girls. It has been 8-9 years since we went to Melaka for the first time together and stayed over at my superior’s humble home. This time, we put up a night at Aldy Chinatown hotel. At RM230 nett, it’s quite a bargain. The room is big and spacious and clean. The downside is probably, we had to climb stairs as there is no elevator. Haha! Lazy people lah!
Before going for this trip, I checked online for blogs for the best Portuguese food along the Portuguese Settlement in Melaka. I didn’t find a really good recommendation. So far, I had eaten in Portuguese settlement at restaurants mentioned in those blogs 3x and found that the food were rather forgettable and the long wait was totally not worth it. So I looked for really authentic Portuguese food and found this restaurant – San Pedro Restaurant, Melaka. The blog said that, the restaurant closes at 7.30 pm so we better be early. Doesn’t really make any sense to close shop by 7.30 pm on a weekend! I was skeptical.
New face lift to the seaview terrace
My ex superior is from Melaka. She suggested in order to have really authentic Portuguese food, we should look for houses to dine-in instead of having dinner at the rows of shops facing the sea. The newly renovated sea terrace is rather impressive. It’s quite a nice place to take an evening stroll to watch the sunset. Unfortunately, the moment you got out from the car, there will be hordes of restaurant owners and waiters or waitresses hassling you to go to their shops for dinner. We just smiled at them and said, we will consider.
The very obscure signboard
Sharp at 6 pm, we went to San Pedro situated along the D’Aranjo Road (just behind the row of shop) but found the restaurant to be empty. We thought it was not open. The shop was not even locked! We looked at the dilapidated shop and thought, it was closed for good. One of us went inside to check and there was nobody. Just as we decided to leave, two ladies walked by. We asked if this shop is closed for good, one of the ladies said, it’s open and she will cook for us. The ladies are the owners of the shop! Haha! A quick check with them, the shop opens at 6 pm to 10 pm. Not too sure when it’s closed though, but you may want to give them a call if you decided to visit.
Inside Restaurant San Pedro
The owner did confess that, she would close shop as soon as she sold all her fish. She limits her fish to only 8 per day and as soon as her customers who called to book came, she would leave the shop early. I guess the blogger who said, the shop close at 7.30 pm must have found the shop on a very good day because all fishes would be finished by then. He probably got the last fish!
We asked for recommendations and the cook suggested these few dishes – baked fish, fried brinjal, squid fritters and Debal’s curry. I think I had been to the restaurants facing the sea a few times to try their Debal’s curry or Devil’s curry but never get the chance because they always don’t have it! So, we decided to go ahead with the dishes recommended. After 40 minutes wait, the food was served!
The baked fish (ikan merah was used) had slightly smoky smell. I didn’t like it at first bite but somehow, as you eat more, the flesh of the fish is rather sweet and melts in your mouth. So it’s quite a delight to tuck in. The fish was baked to perfection – it was neither overcooked nor undercooked, which is good. It’s really refreshing to finally have a good baked fish, unlike the previous times of baked fish – they are always tasted rather bland and served “swimming” in chilli oil!
The fried brinjal was cooked with sambal dried shrimps. We like this because it’s not too oily and the texture of the brinjal is still intact.
The Debal’s curry is everyone’s favorite. I would prefer the chicken to be more cooked but the girls prefer it this way – just nice. The chicken is smooth, the dish is laced with generous slices of potatoes and onions. The curry has a distinctive taste, not something that we are used to and it’s not too salty. After we have eaten everything, my ex superior still dipped her spoon into the curry and lapped everything up!
The squids fritters are equally good because they are not over coated with thick flour. They are sweet and springy. The chilli condiment that came with it is a real winner. I even used the condiment on the fried brinjal!
As we were tucking away in our delicious meal, a family came to pack their baked fish which they pre-ordered. Then a guy in big motorbike, who traveled all the way from Singapore came alone. From the warm welcome he received from the owner, I guess he’s probably a local boy who went to Singapore to work. He had the squid fritters and fried brinjal.
For RM78 for 4 persons – with freshly squeezed orange and lime as drinks, I gather it’s a pretty much satisfying meal. I guess this beats dining at the much more crowded and over commercialized restaurants facing the sea. So, the rule of the thumb – restaurants packed to the brim indicated good food do not apply here!
Restaurant San Pedro
4 Aranjo Road