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My Kampung Restaurant (Stesen Ikan Bakar)

I might as well squeeze in another review while I still have some free time now (which unfortunately will come to an end soon). So another new place that I’ve (very) recently patron was this place that somewhat specializes in Grilled Fish (Ikan Bakar) dishes. It’s just recently opened at the (also) newly develop Gaya Commercial Centre, at Jalan Guru (next to Taman Gaya). My dad is a grilled fish fanatic so this is obviously ‘his place’ but he managed to drag us along for the ride.

It’s a no brainer for my dad to order himself some Grilled Fish meal set (which consists of a grilled fish of your choice, rice and 2 types of ‘sambal’). Mind you, one of the ‘sambal’ is definitely on the higher scale of spiciness while the other is more sweet tasting. Unfortunately, my mom and I were not much of a grilled fish fan so we opted for something else, which was their Mee Hoon Sup Ayam (my mom said that it’s so-so in taste) and their Nasi Lalap Ayam (which looks more like Ayam Penyet but taste-wise was pretty good, albeit a bit undercooked).

Other than that…  

Food – 3/5 (wish that they have more variety when it comes to their ‘sambal’)
Price – 4/5 (still within the medium price range)
Service – 4/5 (pretty quick since we were the only ones there at the time)
Décor – 3/5 (fairly clean and simple atmosphere)
Location – 4/5 (you can’t miss them should you go through the main road)


** Current status – Has been closed (as of Feb 2016) 







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Cafe 3 Puteri

Surprisingly, of all people that had recommended me to numerous eateries in the past, this one came straight from my mom’s mouth. Yup, even my mom has a place or two up on her sleeves. Hahaha… But anyway, if you are wondering, this fairly new place is located on the lower ground floor of Tawau’s one and only mall, Eastern Plaza. It’s at the far end of the floor though so do keep a look out for them.

I will just come out and say it. I love the food at the café (kudos mom!). We had a somewhat family dinner there and we tried out three versions of their Nasi Ayam Penyet. Dad took on their Nasi Ayam Penyet Panggang (that comes with oh-so-spicy ‘sambal’), mom tried out their Nasi Ayam Penyet Madu (which suited mom’s taste to the tee) and I got their Nasi Ayam Penyet Berempah (loooovveee their ‘rempah’ to death).

So all in all I’d say…

Food – 4/5 (yummy indeed!)
Price – 4/5 (since they’re still new so there’s no GST as well, yay!)
Service – 4/5 (even the food came out pretty swiftly)
Décor – 4/5 (I always love the idea of a ‘bersila’ sitting area)
Location – 3/5 (I wish it was not so hidden away though)  


** Current status – Still in operation (as of August 2015) 






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5 Eateries That Had Closed (But I Wish They Hadn't)

That’s a mouthful huh? Hahaha… But in all seriousness, long before I discover the joys of food blogging, there were quite a few places to eat that I really wish were still open today. Not only because I wanted to review them, but more or less because they were my personal favourite places and I found myself reminiscing about them from time to time. So here I present to you my top five choices (in no particular order)…

FARFALLE
Where? Ba Zhong Commercial Area (now a tyre store in front of Restoran Wakaf Tom Yam)
When? Not too long ago, around 2011
What? They mostly served delicious Italian cuisine. I especially loved their thin crusted pizzas.
Why? According to a friend, the owner had to close the place due to them moving someplace else. But I’m not too sure whether this is accurate though. Such a shame though since it’s previously my go-to place for Italian food.

(More info available from B.E.E.R! Blog & Foodspotting.com)



RESTORAN NASI PADANG ORI
Where? Kubota Square (now a 7Eleven store)
When? This one is the most recent of all, around 2012
What? If you’re familiar with the Indonesian Nasi Padang concept restaurant (like the one in KK called Nasi Padang Ibu) then you can guess what their food was like. I’m still craving for their tasty ‘lauk’ until now.  
Why? I think it’s mainly because of unstrategic location, because the area is mostly where the local Chinese crowd hangs out so they definitely did not get the attention that they deserved.

(More info available from Foursquare.com)



BURGER KING & SUGARBUN
Where? Burger King – At Sabindo main town area (now Alee Sports Centre) while Sugarbun previously had 2 outlets – one was at Fajar Complex (now Jabatan Insolvensi) and another one at Sabindo main town area as well (now a ‘kedai kopi’ right across the street to Quong Ming bookstore)
When? Burger King around 1998 (yup, it’s that long ago) while Sugarbun popped up around the same time (or maybe even earlier than that)  
What? Do I really need to explain? Fast food goodness anyone?  
Why? Lack of advertisement (because we Tawaurians LOVE heavily advertised fast food joints) maybe? They were packed with people the first few months after their initial opening but eventually lost the interest of the people soon after that. Which was a huge shame though cuz I’m a Burger King fan (we’re a dying breed here in Tawau).

(More info available from dudamobile.etawau.com)


MONGOLIAN CHICKEN RICE
Where? Okay so it’s not exactly an eatery (it’s actually a stall within this really old school Chinese ‘kedai kopi’ at Jalan Chester – currently an Indian fabric & clothing store)    
When? I’ve been to this stall for years before they finally closed around 2011 (I think)
What? I mean seriously, the Chicken Rice was practically an institution in Tawau. The gravy was like none other and the side dish of ‘sambal anchovies’ were just out of this world.
Why? I don’t know exactly. I guess the main shop is closing so they’re moving as well. But I’m not sure where to though (if anybody has any info on this, it’ll be much appreciated)

(More info available from Welcome to my life... Blog)



THE HUT
Where? Fajar Complex (now a convenient store right next to this hardware store, same row as Affin Bank)
When? Wow, I’m not too sure though since this is probably the oldest one on the list. Err around 1990-ish maybe?
What? I remember going in there when I was still in primary school and ordering their fried rice. It may sound unremarkable but I do remember the taste of the dish being very good indeed. Oh and they served mostly Western & Chinese food at the time.
Why? They eventually relocated… to KK nonetheless (they're currently in the Damai area if I’m not mistaken). I heard they’re as popular there as they are here.

(More info from Foursquare.com – these are pics from their current eatery at KK though cuz I can’t seem to find their previous pics here in Tawau – sorry folks)






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Kayu Manis Cafe & Gallery

This might not be the first time I went to this cafe but it is my first visit after a couple of years (and that's the truth folks). The cafe is pretty popular amongst the 'kaki lepak' crowd in Tawau so the place is normally packed with people (hence me avoiding it like hell). But when we went by them recently, it seems that the lunch crowd has died out so we decided to finally give it a go. The decor was very interesting, what with a few traditional artsy pieces here and there but I'm not too sure why they also called themselves a gallery though (maybe there's more art pieces upstairs?). I'm also interested in their seating area, as they also provide 'bersila' seating on the upper floors of the premise.

Foodwise, the place is known for some pretty tasty munchies and light snacks such as the usual (fried lekor, fried fritters, the infamous 'pisang cheese'... to name a few). But what I highly recommend was for you guys to also try out their on-the-menu dishes. We tried out their Nasi Ayam Penyet and Nasi Lalap and they were both delicious in taste (both with succulent chickens and very tasty sambals). I've also notice that they have Nasi Arab within their menu, a rare dish served in a restaurant here in Tawau (you usually need to order such dishes buffet style) and it's something that I'll probably try in my next visit.

For ratings, I'm giving them...

Food - 4/5 (I also highly recommend their 'Coklat Kisar Wow' - simply awesome!)
Price - 3/5 (still within the medium range)
Service - 4/5 (we went there during non peak hours so it's pretty swift)
Decor - 4/5 (it is supposedly a 'gallery' as well)
Location - 3/5 (it's by the seaside of the Ba Zhong commercial area)

** Current status - Still in operation (as of August 2015) 






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Restoran Sri Titingan Tawau Lama

This establishment is the testament of perseverance. And probably great food as well. I remember when I was a teenager, my parents used to bring us to this tiny stall somewhere in Kampung Titingan (hence the origin of the name) that cooked really good seafood. Then they moved several times more before settling down to their current location, largely due to their inability to contain the pouring customers that had frequented their place at their previous spots. They’re now residing nicely at Thian Mee Light Industrial Estate, around the areas of Mile 2 ½ at Apas Road. Unfortunately the restaurant is not visible from the main road so you do need to go deeper into the Tawau Lama junction to actually be able to spot them. They also used to have a branch at Taman Univilla before but have since been closed.

After a few years of not coming to the restaurant (mainly because it’s quite far from where I’m staying now), I was amazed at the current development of the establishment. I mean, it’s probably the largest seafood restaurant in Tawau, due to their extension to not one but 4 large sized industrial shops within the same area. Their food was also as awesome as I’ve remembered. We ordered their Ikan Masak Goreng Kicap and Ikan Masak 3 Rasa (you can choose your own fish from their large freezer – which is highly recommended), their Mix-Vegetables, Ayam Masak Mangga Thai, Butter Prawns as well as a personal Nasi Goreng Kampung for myself.

Other than that…

Food – 4/5 (pretty fabulous if you asked me)
Price – 4/5 (probably the cheapest when it comes to seafood in town)
Service – 2/5 (they really need to do something with the ‘lounging’ waiters & waitresses though)
Décor – 4/5 (obviously somebody has been taking cues from Chinese restaurants)
Location – 3/5 (you can always Waze there right? Huhuhu…)

** Current status – Still in operation (as of August 2015) 














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BFTP: Corus Hotel Kuala Lumpur

It’s been (somewhat) ‘ages’ since I’ve done a BFTP special so today I present to you… (God! I really do need a vacation soon!)

Corus Hotel Kuala Lumpur

When – In 2011, for a very ‘special reason’ (which you’ll soon see below)
Where – If one of the main reasons for coming to KL is to see the famous Petronas Twin Towers, then this is the place for you as it is ridiculously near to it (right across the street to be exact)
Room(s) that I’ve stayed in – Paradise Cabana
Reasons for staying – Bet you didn’t know that I’m an avid football fan huh? The main reason why I went there that time was because Liverpool was visiting Malaysia & I can’t possibly passed up that opportunity now, could I?
Pros:
~ the room is suitable for honeymooners, what with the bed setting and all (or two adventurous, romantic souls – whichever it is)
~ it’s at the same open air floor as the swimming pool and the garden so you’ll get the sense of being on a private property
~ the room price was pretty reasonable as compared to other hotels within the proximity (I mean really, it’s practically prime land)
~ Avenue K mall is also situated right next to the hotel so it’s pretty convenient for you to use the LRT services (as it is at the underground level of the latter)
~ the bellboys were polite and friendly, what with them asking us about the game right after we came back from it (or just frustrated fans that can’t join us due to work)
Cons:
~ the hotel is huge but really looks a bit dated especially from the outside – will do with a couple of minor renovations
~ receptionists could also do with some smiles though – there’s one particular female receptionist who gave me this annoyed look when I ask for directions to the LRT
~ even though it might be very close to the Twin Towers, I do advice you to book a room on the higher floors though since we can’t really enjoy the view from where we are staying (unless you want to have severe neck pains – like we did)
Memorable event(s) – We were there mainly for the game (to which our home team gloriously lost) so in the spirit of it, we were wearing our jerseys (I’m wearing the Liverpool jersey while my partner decided on the Malaysian team) so we do attracted more than a few stares when we got out of the lift. It’s especially even more so when we converge with a few other in-similar-situation-fans at the lobby as if we’d planned it (which we did not – heck, we didn’t even know them!)
~ but we ended up going to the game as a group (and even got temporarily lost while finding the venue as a group – har har har) so that was a fun experience

Overall Ratings:  * * * * (pretty ‘groovy’ in my books)

(P/S: Pictures below are mostly ‘borrowed’ from Tripadvisor.com so all credit goes to them)


It is right next to the famous Twin Towers

The room (or cabana) that we'd stayed in minus the love pillows & rose petals

The pool are surrounded by the 'cabana' rooms

The bathroom view if you're curious

The lobby where we 'converged' with other footie fans

You can't see it, but this mall is actually next to the hotel (and where you'll find the LRT services)

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