Multi-awarded Chef Nelly Robinson indulges with a three-day culinary fiesta of refined flavours in The Datai Langkawi
Under the shade of the stretched-out trees, The Datai Langkawi’s Beach Bar keenly gazes out into the bright blue surface of Andaman Sea, the sight itself adds flavours to the sumptuous meats grilled on the spot. As the sun glistens atop the white clouds, the upholstered deck chairs are slowly filled with personas, each bearing a culinary curio. As the waves lap, cocktails are served out, but through the 30th of August until the 1st of September, this experience is upgraded into a rare encounter, as highly praised London-helmed Nelly Robinson presides behind the counter to gift his audience a Michelin-starred meal.
Robinson, who took home the ‘Gault & Millau’ Chef of the Year Award in 2016 and 2017, started his culinary journey at the budding of his youth. Aged 14, he was trained under the brilliance of Chef Patron Nigel Haworth while discovering flavours at Northcote Manor in England. Setting off to a gastronomic adventure of his own, Robinson opened nel. in Australia, immediately sweeping the country off its feet—and plate—being lauded the Time Out Magazine’s ‘People’s Choice’ award in 2016. There is magic in his culinary feats, most of which does not solely rely on flavours, but on the visual experience as well. With the remarkable seaside environment of The Datai Langkawi, Robinson pushes the envelope, crafting a lingering palette of stories and flavours inspired from his own joyous memories, and the legendary themes from fairytales.
The three-day culinary extravagance starts at the Dining Room, where Robinson serenades his audience with a five-course meal inside the pillared hall. The intimate setting delights romantics and food enthusiasts alike—candles all aglow, the sight of the blue pool immerses one in the experience while partaking a special medley of wine and cuisine. On day two, Robinson puts his techniques on display at the Beach Bar, where he leads a cooking demonstration in a breezy, laid-back setting. As the audience gapes at his mastery, one may find themselves Michelin-worthy by volunteering. This goal can be pursued on day three, where Robinson leads the class in The Datai Langkawi’s exclusive cooking school, Dapur, where participants can revel in hands-on immersion while creating their own culinary masterpieces.
As part of the resort’s signature experience – Chef Series, some of the world’s highly recommended chefs find their way into the tropical woodlands of Malaysia, each bearing their Michelin stars to quell refined panaches with contemporary techniques, organic produce and a fanfare of flavours. This idea partnered with Sidewood Wines stars beautifully balanced reds wrought from the largest eco-sustainable winery in Adelaide Hills. The Datai Langkawi, after all, has prided itself as a gastronomic destination, with five dining experiences lodged inside its beachside setting, all constructed as architectural wonders that resonate with is culture and surroundings. The Gulai House is rustic but hearty, serving authentic Malaysian cuisine, while the elegant Pavilion—raised in stilts and hidden within the curtains of a virgin rainforest—serves Thai. From the entry, guests are easily treated to the spa-like atmosphere of the Lobby Lounge, where the breath-taking view of the island of Tarutao is just within the horizon. www.thedatai.com ◼
© This article was first published online in August 2019 – World Travel Magazine.