Temple Tree Resort, Langkawi, Malaysia

Posted on Friday, 17th July 2015

Temple Tree Resort - London Food Blog

Temple Tree Resort

On our recent trip to the beautiful Malaysian island of Langkawi, we spent two nights at the special and very unique Temple Tree Resort. The resort is unique because it consists of eight antique houses of Chinese, Malay, Indian and Eurasian origin, all ranging from 70 to 110 years old. Narelle, the owner of Temple Tree spent many years scouring Malaysia in search of these buildings, each of which are original. The houses were then dismantled and transported from their location of origin piece-by-piece and rebuilt. Some were derelict, but each house was lovingly restored to its former glory, keeping true to its original layout. Each house was then decorated in a style that reflected the period in which they were once lived in. Temple Tree Resort is like an antique treasure trove, with each building having it’s own special story to tell.

Temple Tree Resort - London Food Blog

Temple Tree Resort

I stayed in the Black & White House, a beautiful Malay property built in the 1940s in Mantin, in the state of Negri Sembilan which is south of Kuala Lumpur. The house was incredibly spacious and homely, and consisted of a grand master bedroom with an antique wooden bathtub, a second bedroom with twin beds, a separate shower room with two overhead showers, and a living and dining room area. It was an exceptional place to lay our heads simply because it was just indescribably unique and special. On the interior, there was a bold and daring colour scheme of bright reds and Asian antiques that offered a stylish contrast to the house’s black and white exterior. The coloured glass windows in the living room also added to the specialness of the house.

Temple Tree Resort - London Food Blog - Black & White House

Temple Tree Resort – Black & White House

Temple Tree Resort - London Food Blog - Master bedroom

Temple Tree Resort – Master bedroom

Temple Tree Resort - London Food Blog - Traditional Malay bathtub

Temple Tree Resort – Traditional Malay bathtub

Temple Tree Resort - London Food Blog - Living area

Temple Tree Resort – Living area

Temple Tree Resort - London Food Blog - Living area

Temple Tree Resort – Living area

Adjacent to Temple Tree Resort is it’s sister resort, Bon Ton, which similarly consists of eight Malay villas. The facilities are shared and there is a pool at both Temple Tree and Bon Ton with guests having access to both. The Straits Club House at Temple Tree is the resort’s main reception, and it is every bit as quaint as the Black & White House. The Straits House is colonial in style and was built in the 1920s by a Eurasian family before being sold to a Malay family in the 1960s. Here guests can have a quiet lunch at the restaurant, a drink at the bar, or simply unwind with a good book in the library or play a game of pool. There is no satellite TV in the houses. At Temple Tree you come to escape from the rest of the world and do nothing. But the houses do come equipped with a TV and DVD player and the resort makes available a collection of movies for guests to watch. Also worth noting is that Temple Tree is not located on a beach. However there is one within a five-minute drive.

Breakfast is taken at your leisure, with the resort bringing a continental selection of fruits, yoghurt, breads, cake and juices to the house at around 6.30pm the evening before. There is a tea and coffee making section within each house, as well as a toaster and a bar fridge.

We had dinner at Nam, the main restaurant shared by the resorts, located on the Bon Ton side. The restaurant is a covered open-air pavilion and looks out onto the marshlands and the pool. Nam has a traditional Malaysian feel to it and made for a really pleasant and relaxed spot for dinner.
Nam serves a fusion of western and eastern dishes and for our starters we tried a mixed seafood plate of prawn cakes, Balinese seafood satay on lemongrass and chargrilled rock lobster (MYR48 – £8.20). We particularly enjoyed the prawn cakes with its sweet prawn flavour and bouncy texture. The satay was also good, especially with the aroma of lemongrass coming off the lemongrass stalk. The lobster was well cooked but a little bland.

Nam, Bon Ton Resort - London Food Blog - Seafood starter

Nam, Bon Ton Resort – Seafood starter

A green salad of rocket and mixed leaves (MYR42 – £7.20) was wonderfully fresh, and I loved the pieces of ripe avocado and nutty parmesan shavings running through the salad. There were also some roasted sesame cashew nuts that had been nicely caramelised for a touch of sweetness. The salad dressing, both tangy and sweet, was also very good although there was a touch too much of it in the salad.

Nam, Bon Ton Resort - London Food Blog - Green leaf salad

Nam, Bon Ton Resort – Green leaf salad

The Nyonya Platter – a combination of Malay and Chinese cuisine relating back to the Spice Trade – consisted of nine dishes served on a banana leaf. These were prawns in pandan leaf, fish tamarind, beef with peanuts, chicken with lime leaf, pickled lamb curry, lady finger sambal, pineapple acar, eggplant in a coconut curry, and mango and cashew nut rice (MYR74 – £12.60). Other than a lack of seasoning in the rice I could not fault a thing, with each dish singing with flavour and lovely spices.

Nam, Bon Ton Resort - London Food Blog - Nyonya platter

Nam, Bon Ton Resort – Nyonya platter

We also tried the seafood platter of grilled rock lobster with chermoula (a Moroccan spice) butter, snapper fillet, pepper prawns and calamari with lemon harissa aioli (MYR94 – £16). The chermoula butter was in itself very tasty, and helped to enhance the flavour of the lobster. The snapper was really nicely cooked and moist, and the prawns were delicious too. The calamari lacked for seasoning however and the batter was too thick.

Nam, Bon Ton Resort - London Food Blog - Seafood platter

Nam, Bon Ton Resort – Seafood platter

To dessert, and despite the heat, there was something really comforting and homely about the steamed apple, macadamia and butterscotch pudding with gula melaka (palm sugar) ice cream and apple and ginger compote (MYR38 – £6.50). The pudding was really moist, the ice cream was lovely and not too sweet, and the compote added a refreshing touch to the dessert.

A local dessert plate of sticky black rice, with palm sugar crème brulee and coconut ice ream with a fresh mango, banana and passionfruit salad (MYR36 – £6.20) was also really enjoyable, with each element being well prepared and the working well together. Overall, this dinner was delicious and showed of lots of flavour combinations and skilful cooking.

Nam, Bon Ton Resort - London Food Blog - Steamed pudding

Nam, Bon Ton Resort – Steamed pudding

Apart from the special heritage of the architecture, the thing I loved most about Temple Tree was its sense of tranquillity. Granted, the resort is close to the airport, so you do occasionally get a spot of aircraft noise. But otherwise the resort is incredibly serene. Temple Tree is located on marshland so you will often hear the sound of birds and nature. Temple Tree is one special place. I often saw other guests sitting on their verandas, chatting or playing cards, and this seems to be the most perfect thing to do at a place like Temple Tree.
Also particularly admirable about Temple Tree is the fact that 50% of all profits go towards the resort’s chosen charity, Langkawi Animal Shelter and Sanctuary Foundation (LASSie). The foundation looks after the island’s stray animals and you will therefore find a few well-looked after cats and dogs at the resort. This may play a part in your decision as to whether to stay at Temple Tree or not.
I found the service at Temple Tree to be heartfelt, warm and genuine, and I got the sense that the staff really enjoyed working here because they believed in what the resort represents. Temple Tree grew organically over time. It is a true labour of love and for this reason I really loved it too.

Summary Information:
Likes:

1. The special uniqueness of the resort.
2. Dinner at Nam
3. The fact that 50% of the profits go towards LASSie.
4. That at Temple Tree you genuinely feel like doing nothing and that it felt good to do nothing.

Dislikes:
1. The occasional aircraft noise.

Overall resort rating: 4.25/5
Nam dinner rating: 4.25/5
Overall service rating: 4/5

Prices:
Room rates start from MYR810 (about £137).
Dinner at Nam, three courses from MYR98 to MYR182 (about £16.60 to £30.80). Excludes drinks and service.

Website: http://www.temple-tree.com.my/

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