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East Meets West - Newens baker flies from Malaysia to London to learn secret Maids of Honour recipe

NEWENS chief baker flew 6,500 miles from Malaysia to London to learn the secret recipe for Maids of Honour tarts.

Chef Nathan travelled from Kuala Lumpur to Kew in west London in May 2014, where the recipe was revealed to him personally by Newens’ London pastry chef, Kostadin Mitrev.

He became only the 11th person in the Maids of Honour’s 500-year history to know the secret recipe and the techniques behind the dainty pastries first discovered by King Henry VIII in the 16th Century.

Nathan, who has had a 25 career as a senior pastry chef in Malaysia, spent nearly a month with the team at Newens in London, perfecting the techniques behind the Maids of Honour tarts and other British pastry dishes including Newens meat pies and sausage rolls.

In June 2014 he returned to Kuala Lumpur to share the methods with his assistant and began preparations for the launch of Newens' second branch at Starhill Gallery.

He said: “We have spent the last seven months preparing to make sure the Newens in Kuala Lumpur maintains the exacting high standards as the original branch in Kew.

“In the UK the ingredients that are available are very different to Malaysia so we set about sourcing products that were as similar as possible.

“We’ve tried to keep the tastes as close to the original flavours.

“In Malaysia diners are used to spicy food so the Maids of Honour tarts, with their sweetness and wafer-light pastry have been a revelation.

“When we tested them out, customers were desperate to know where they could buy more and how to make them.

“But the recipe is secret and it cannot be shared.”

The Maids of Honour recipe was originally kept under lock and key at King Henry VIII's palace at Hampton Court - along with the unfortunate Maid of Honour who invented the cakes - under strict orders only to produce the delicacies for the Royal Household.

At a time when most of the population lived on a basic diet, Maids of Honour tarts, with their light pastry cases and melt-in-the-mouth custard filling were deemed the height of luxury.

According to legend, the original Maids of Honour recipe was ‘leaked’ by a palace cook to a bakery in Richmond in the 18th century where the petite tarts were produced for wealthy customers publicly for the first time.

The recipe was continued by Robert Newens - who served his apprenticeship at the Richmond bakery before founding Newens in 1850, where the original Maids of Honour are still made today.


Newens Kuala Lumpur to be opened by British High Commissioner on 9 December 2014

IT’S as quintessentially English as red Routemaster buses and the Changing of the Guard at Buckingham Palace.

Now traditional British afternoon tea is coming to Malaysia with the opening of the first Newens Tea House at Starhill Gallery in Kuala Lumpur on 9 December 2014.

Newens, the historic British tea company based in London for over 150 years, will launch its first branch outside of the UK with a grand opening, attended by The British High Commissioner to Malaysia, Her Excellency Victoria Treadell and Tan Sri (Dr.) Francis Yeoh, Managing Director of YTL Corporation Berhad.

They will be joined by Dean Martin, owner of the original Newens Tea House in Kew, west London.

The event will begin with a reception inside Starhill Gallery before Her Excellency, Mrs Treadell, cuts the ribbon to officially open the 197-seater venue, which replicates the atmosphere of an English art deco tea room.

Guests will be invited to enjoy the complete afternoon tea experience, with Newens Original Maids of Honour tarts at the centre of the menu.

It will be the first time the iconic Maids of Honour tarts - immortalised by 16th Century English King Henry VIII - have been sold outside the UK since they were first baked to a secret recipe at the King’s Hampton Court Palace residence, 500 years ago.

Afternoon tea, cut sandwiches and other Newens delicacies, freshly baked on site, will also be served alongside 60 varieties of specialist teas and exotic blends from exclusive stockists around the world.

A Newens spokesman said: “Afternoon tea is the cornerstone of refined English culture and sums up the very essence of English tradition.

“We’re delighted to be able share the unique Newens experience with discerning guests in Kuala Lumpur and bring a taste of the classic afternoon tea to a global audience.”

The luxurious full-service Newens Tea House will sit inside Starhill Gallery, alongside global luxury brands including Louis Vuitton, Dior and Kenzo.

Newens plan to expand the tea houses across south-east Asia bringing the Newens Tea House experience to a new consumer base across the region.


Newens Tea House to open first branch in Kuala Lumpur in December 2014

NEWENS Tea House are delighted to announce the opening of their first stand-alone branch outside the UK.

The 197-seater tea house, set inside the iconic Starhill Gallery in Kuala Lumpur, will launch on December 9.

The luxurious full-service Newens venue will sit inside Starhill Gallery - which has been described as Asia's most beautiful shopping mall - alongside global brands including Louis Vuitton, Hermes and Kenzo.

The store will serve Newens internationally-renowned Original Maids of Honour tarts and other Newens fare, freshly baked on the premises and accompanied by specialist teas and exotic blends from exclusive stockists around the world.

It will be the first time the iconic Maids of Honour tarts - immortalised by 16th Century English King, Henry VIII - have been sold outside the original UK branch in Kew, west London, where they have been produced exclusively to a secret recipe for over 150 years.

A Newens spokesman said: "We're very excited to be opening our first store in a location as iconic and integral to the luxury market in Malaysia as the Starhill Gallery.

"We're looking forward to welcoming customers to what we believe will be a unique dining experience and sharing a taste of the classic British afternoon tea with discerning guests in Kuala Lumpur."


Newens ‘Maids of Honour Tarts’ Showcased At UK Trade Event

NEWENS TEA HOUSE was delighted to be involved in the GREAT Britain week in Malaysia last week - showcasing classic Maids of Honour tarts to VIPs including British MP and Conservative party Chairman Grant Shapps.

The Rt Honourable Mr Shapps was one of 250 special guests invited to a private reception at the High Commissioner’s Residence in Malaysia to celebrate British products.

Guests attending the event were served Newens Tea House’s classic Maids of Honour tarts during a celebration of the best of the British retail, food and drink industries.

It comes just weeks before the historic English tea house opens its first international outlet in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia, later this month.

GREAT Weeks Grant Schapps

A spokesman for Newens said: “We’re honoured our legendary tarts are held in such high regard that they were picked as part of the British trade mission to South East Asia.

“We served them to some of the Malaysia’s most important people, who were very impressed.

“Our pastries are typically English and we’re sure that people in Malaysia will love them.”

The GREAT Week was organised by the British Department of Trade and Industry, which is targeting two key markets in the ASEAN (Association of Southeast Asia Nations) region.

Malaysia is on course to become one of the world’s top ten largest economies by 2020 and business leaders believe that brands like Newens Tea House will thrive among the growing market.

Newens Maids of Honour Tarts - which are based on a secret 500-year-old recipe - were among a number of top food brands on show at the event.

The tarts, which date back to the Tudor era were brought to prominence by 16th century English King, Henry VIII, who loved their ‘melt-in-the-mouth’ sensation.

After being introduced to the delicacy by a ‘Maid of Honour’ to Anne Boleyn - the woman who would later become one of his six wives - the King fell in love with the recipe which he ordered to be kept it under lock and key at his Royal Palace in Richmond, London.

The recipe has been kept secret ever since and the delicious pastries are still served warm from the Newens ovens alongside a wide variety of other sweet and savoury treats, all made by hand to traditional recipes using fresh, natural ingredients.

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