During our many trips to the historical city of Melaka, we have walked the paved river banks of the Melaka river countless times, and once in a while stopped at one of the growing number of cafes and bistros lining the river, just to grab a bite or get a cold cold drink to quench our thirst.
During our recent trip there this time (one of our sons is furthering his studies just nearby in Klebang, hence presenting us with a good reason to be in that old historical city again, as if we needed one), we again pounded the banks of the Melaka river and made it a point to make a pit stop at one of those riverside bistros or cafes for a bite to eat.
But not at just any cafe or bistro but rather the first bistro or cafe that we had pit-stopped those many years ago, which I later on that day found out was actually called the Dutch Harbour Café.
Since it was a very hot and stifling day (a heat wave must have hit Melaka at that time), we unanimously decided to venture inside where the air con reigns supreme.
The cool air was so much of a welcome relief, that it wasn’t long before we felt comfortable and refreshed again, and all within an ambience of relaxed comfort.
Having seated ourselves, we were greeted by the manager of the Dutch Harbour Café, Alvin. Charming and engaging, Alvin is a 4th generation Peranakan (a Straits-born Chinese) who also happens to be an ex-MAS steward, loves interacting with people and whose idea of fun is definitely not working a regular 9-to-5 job. He tried and yes, he did try. As he puts it, that is. Three days and that was how long he lasted before he bid his office farewell and adieu.
And as he says it, the hospitality business has always been his game, and armed with a confident and friendly booming voice, he definitely knows how to put you at ease.
Having gone through the menu, we made our orders, with a little bit of assistance by way of recommendations from Alvin of course, we rested and cooled ourselves in the air conditioned café and it wasn’t long before our eyes start noticing things like the big white wall facing you with all the ‘XXX wuz here’ scribbles, with XXX being from places far (and I do mean FAR) and wide, grinning thumbs-up framed pictures, with the faint strains of well-known reggae songs from across the street providing a sort of musical background.
(Being a reggae fan ever since UK days, it’s a cardinal not to be able to recognize a Bob Marley tune, now would it!?)
It wasn’t long before our food arrived and with no formalities required, we got tucked in as soon as the plates hit the wooden table. Especially my son, who is currently pursuing his diploma course in Melaka, who had a big smile on his face as he ‘attacked’ his order of ribs.
Looking back, maybe I should have ordered that one too. Mind you, it was made especially good when considering the fact that we were also famished at the same time. I guess it was just the right combination of growing hunger and the arrival of good food.
Once the eating has been done (and it did not take long) and the table cleared, it was the turn of desserts. Ours was a famous local dessert fare called Sago Gula Melaka.
In the process of savouring something tasty like Sago Gula Melaka, we continued to engage in conversation with Alvin on all things that is the Dutch Harbour Café. Trivia et al.
And that was when we found out that the white wall with the ‘XXX wuz here’ scribbles is not just an ordinary white wall with graffiti scribbled on it.
Instead it is the Dutch Harbour Café’s own Monster Burger Wall of Fame where all those who are able to finish the Dutch Harbour Café’s Monster Burger have the right to scribble their names on that pristine piece of a white wall, complete with details of their accomplishment.
Just what is that Dutch Harbour Café Monster Burger, you might ask?
From Alvin’s description, it’s a nine-inch burger made up of three home-made thick and juicy beef burger patties and two egg banjoes, with the normal compliments that befits a burger.
For those of us who are unsure, just take out your ruler and you will see that finishing off a nine-inch monster burger is no easy feat.
According to Alvin, the current champ is a guy from the Middle East although by the time of writing, that record may have been re-written as many have, as like in the past, passed through the doors of the Dutch Harbour Café just to try its famous Monster Burger.
And they are not all from this part of the world, mind you.
Before long, it was time for us to make our way but judging from the way the whole pit stop went, we’ll definitely be back.
But not before my son has put in some practice time, as he wants to try his hand at the Dutch Harbour Café Monster Burger.
But knowing him, that won’t take long and before you know it, we’ll are back at the Dutch Harbour Café, meeting with Alvin and his crew again.
And this time, I’m having the ribs.
Date : 2 November 2016