Umbai, Melaka has long been a popular spot for ikan-bakar enthusiasts, as the location is known as being idyllic and peaceful. And now, the new PIBT is a welcome addition to the Melaka coastal scene, which includes Alai, Sungai Duyung, Serkam and Umbai Lama.
The PIBT is a spacious, modern and comfortable enclave. Built on stilts above the ocean, there are gazebos connected by wooden walkways for you to enjoy the sight, smell and breeze of the Straits of Melaka.
The place is also large enough to accommodate big crowds, and there are ample facilities like toilets, surau and a hall. The parking lot is also spacious and safe. There are also stalls selling a lot of local items at the main entrance.
As you make your way to the main pavillion, there are many restaurants at the first level. The waiters will try to grab your attention as you ponder and make your choice of which place to eat. We will not influence your decision, but we will recommend you the Nakhoda Seafood Restaurant. It is located on the upper level of the pavillion, so you can even saviour more superb views of the ocean. You can choose to sit at the open spaces, or in a covered gazebo if you come in a big group.
Naturally, the menu is extensive and you can have everything you'd expect from a ikan-bakar restaurant of this kind. As usual, you can take your pick of fishes, kupang, kerang, crabs, pepahat, prawns from the fish stall. The seafood are all catches-of-the-day and fresh. Once you have made your choices, they are weighed and you can then request on how you want them cooked.
Our group chose to be under the covers of the pondok, which offers ample space, privacy, excellent views of the sea and a relaxing atmosphere. The waiters and staff are friendly too, and they will be quick to respond to your requests and needs.
The Nakhoda is quite spacious, that you won't feel suffocated, even when the crowd got bigger as the evening wore on. You don't need to make your way amid cramped spaces and there is no queue at the fish counter.
For the record, we ordered Ikan Kerapu Masak Tiga Rasa, Ikan Terubuk Bakar, Ikan Cencaru Bakar Bercili, Udang Goreng Butter, Sotong Goreng Tepung, Kupang Masak Sambal and Kangkung Goreng Belacan, with two jugs of Sirap Limau, one jug plain water and a serving of rice. Everything was fresh, delicious, mouth watering, tasty, juicy and delicious. The service was fast too, we did not have to wait long for our order to arrive.
Our advice would be to come early, about 6 pm or so, and enjoy the sea and atmosphere. Have a long and worthy dinner. You can perform Maghrib at the comfortable surau. And after that, stop by at the stalls selling handicrafts, souvenirs, traditional food and snacks, as a perfect way of ending a gastronomic evening.
So the next time you are making the UNESCO World Heritage City of Melaka as a holiday destination, make sure you include PIBT in the agenda. It is so easy to find, just make your from Melaka town towards Merlimau or Muar, and follow the signboard to Umbai. The PIBT is located about 500 metres from the old Umbai ikan bakar spot (Pernu).
Very much highly recommended, we rate it at nine marks out of ten.