RSS

Puaka Cafe

The tech team at work will be upgrading our internet throughout the rest of December so I’ll only be able to see you guys again sometime next year (fingers crossed!). So before that, I’m squeezing in another review just in case. Proclamations such as “I swear that this is the best grilled burger that I’ve ever tasted in Tawau' is a bold statement to make, especially when the person reading it may know a thing or two about grilled burgers. My partner dabbles with grilled burgers from time to time so when he read such declaration from an FB group, it did more than just peak his interest. It made him very determined to find and try the burger himself (and roping me into it as well). Honestly I would say that it’s a smart ploy coming from the owner (yes, I know a marketing strategy when I see one) but nevertheless it did got our attention (so obviously it worked).

We arrived at the reggae sounding, street food inspired Puaka Café (yes, I did a triple take on its name, which if translated directly means ‘evil spirits’) open air hipster eatery at around 7.00pm, as they’re only open at such time. And it would be advisable for them in the future to mention to their patrons that they’re not 100% up and running during said time since we ended up waiting for our orders for almost 2 hours (I credited my partner’s determination for our ‘patience’). The guy fronting the place (the only guy there at that time) was thoughtful enough to give us complimentary fries while waiting but after such a long wait, we were both expecting a spectacular rendition of their Grilled Beef Burger and Chicken Chop. Unfortunately what came out disappointed us even more. My Chicken Chop order was tender but the sauce lacked any punch and was very bland. My partner’s long awaited Grilled Beef Burger tasted acceptable enough but the patty was not grilled thoroughly (it’s still a bit tough) and it also has a crumbly texture. It’s doubtful for us to be coming back anytime soon but I do recommend you guys to try them yourselves at least once, since the place is actually a good place to chill out and maybe you’ll get a better experience than we did.

Shall we move on then…

Food – 3/5 (deeply disappointed after such a long wait)
Price – 3/5 (it’s still fair I guess)
Service – 1/5 (communication should be a priority for them as well)
Décor – 3/5 (very relaxed, hipster café like ambience)
Location – 4/5 (it’s right next door to Gerai Satay Wak Hassan as well) 

** Current status – Has been closed (as ofApril 2017) 

*** P/S: So sorry for the poor pictures below since that is the best that my low quality camera phone could come up with in an extremely dimmed condition







  • Digg
  • Del.icio.us
  • StumbleUpon
  • Reddit
  • RSS

W&Z Cafe

This is another eatery that is relatively near to my home and I’ve frequented throughout the years. I have actually seen this place grew from a less popular joint (due to stiff competition left and right) to its currently more reputable state. And yes, it does prove that patience bears fruit in the end, as they can be considered as one of the preferred choices for food within the Taman Semarak commercial area now.  

The place is a popular breakfast hangout as they’re among a handful that opened in the wee hours. They provide the usuals such as Nasi Lemak (portion may vary but I just love their spicy and salty sambal) Fried Mee and Fried Bee Hoon (just meh!) with a slew of add on side dishes that includes the tauhu set (not as good as the ones in town) and fried food like sausages and nuggets. Going on to lunch time, they provide a variety of lauk pauk for you to choose from to go with plain rice (yes, I do mean Nasi Campur here) or you can also opt for a tasty Chicken Rice instead. Since business is booming as of late, the eatery has also decided to extend their opening hours to the night time, with several locally popular cook-to-order types of dishes being available. Bear in mind though that their service might be snail paced for some reason during this particular hour. But no worries as you can munch on some grilled chicken wings in the mean time (available at a stall just outside of their premise).   

Now what I’m curious (and bothered) about is how in the world did the owners managed to find grumpy people to help them managed the eatery. I don’t expect them to be overly friendly or anything, just a simple smile or give a proper response to your question is already fine to me. I can understand people being tired from daily chores and all but I’ve seen and encountered these situations all the time so it does concerns me a bit. 

Next we have…

Food – 3/5 (it depends on the cook’s ‘mood’ I guess because tastes may vary as well)
Price – 4/5 (very affordable – a huge plus point for the place)
Service – 2/5 (it has its ups and downs)
Décor – 3/5 (they have huge spaces now, I give them that)
Location – 4/5 (it’s on the left side of the commercial area, noticeable once you’ve entered the main junction into Taman Semarak) 

** Current status – Still in operation (as of December 2016)   










  • Digg
  • Del.icio.us
  • StumbleUpon
  • Reddit
  • RSS

Kedai Kopi Khun Lok - Mongolian Chicken Rice

It actually takes a post from a travel blogger (from Peninsular Malaysia no less) for me to realize what was going on within my own ‘backyard’. A fact that I am semi-ashamed about since it shows that I need to be more vigilant in the future (I’m making that one of my New Year’s resolution). Now what exactly am I talking dramatically about you asked? Well, if you’ve read a previous post that I’ve done before on places that I wished were still open, I did mentioned a particular dish called the Mongolian Chicken Rice. Trust me when I say that it was so well known back then that a famous TV personality named Axian came and went home disappointed because the shop that provided said dish has long been closed and is currently an Indian fabric shop. So when I found out that their stall has somewhat ‘resurfaced’ in a different kedai kopi within the Fajar Complex area (right next to the KWSP office) I wasted no time in getting there.

I admit that I was a bit sceptical when I arrived at said kedai kopi and saw that the people manning the stall were different from before. But since I’m hungry anyway, me and my mom ordered their regular Mongolian Chicken Rice and were thoroughly surprised to find out that the taste was the same as I’ve remembered them (that one of a kind thick and sweet sauce was just lovely). I’ve also tried one of their previously popular sides and my personal favourite, the Chilli Anchovies (a mix of chilli, anchovies and some other stuff – which was again sweet tasting and non spicy at all) and I’m convinced that they’re legit. Well, it’s either that or the original owners had bestowed the secret recipe to their successors. The main point is that I’ve finally had a ‘reunion’ with one of my childhood comfort food and I’m darn happy about it.

Oh and we’d also picked out some dim sum (from a separate stall) specifically their Prawn Siu Mai and Century Egg Siu Mai and both tasted pretty amicable (and with reasonable pricing). But do be warned though that this particular stall do served pork so do ask before taking on their dim sum.

For ratings however…

Food – 4/5 (such nostalgic taste but portion was smaller than before)
Price – 4/5 (no GST yet so hooray!)
Service – 4/5 (impressively swift although it’s also a challenge to catch their attention during peak hours)
Décor – 3/5 (hey I’m good as long as it is comfortable & clean)
Location – 4/5 (trust me, they’re easily spotted once you’re within the Fajar Complex) 

** Current status – Still in operation (as of December 2016)  








  • Digg
  • Del.icio.us
  • StumbleUpon
  • Reddit
  • RSS

Olive Bistro

I felt somewhat lucky the moment I’ve entered this particular bistro one weekend with my partner and had actually managed to snag a seat inside the vicinity. This place is notorious for being fully booked on most weekends that some people came prepared for waiting and even willing to wait inside their vehicles for any available spot. Heck, some people even brought their own chairs just to wait outside of the eatery (no joke, you guys can checked the internet for further proof). We decided to just tried our luck one Sunday (as it was raining a bit and was hoping that other patrons would be discouraged to go out – which was proven somewhat correct) and drove to their place at the single shop lot of Taman Tawau (right in front of the newly opened Sin Onn branch of the Tawau Hospital).

I have heard of them since they were still in their previous spot at Fajar Complex but the crowd almost always hinders me from actually stopping by. And since people have given them fairly rave reviews, my expectation was somewhat high for them. But like any other place with that kind of expectation, something bound to make you unsatisfied. In this case, the food falls flat in my humble opinion. We’d ordered their Mayonnaise Fish Rice (which is exactly what they said it is; sliced fish with mayonnaise – and the taste was mediocre) and their Malaysian Delight Pizza (I had high hopes for this one but again, it is just average for me. It’s borderline tasteless without any sauce being added to said dish). But I’ll give credit to where credit is due, since their Brownies was superbly moist, especially when paired with a scope of yummy vanilla ice-cream.

Nevertheless…

Food – 3/5 (everything is hunky-dory but nothing outstanding)
Price – 3/5 (as expected from a well established eatery)
Service – 4/5 (I love the fact that their service was very prompt)
Décor – 4/5 (the graffiti on one of the walls was very creative and mesmeric)
Location – 4/5 (you won’t miss them if you’re driving through Jalan Sin Onn) 

** Current status – Still in operation (as of November 2016)  





  • Digg
  • Del.icio.us
  • StumbleUpon
  • Reddit
  • RSS

Kantin Hafizah Dewan Masyarakat Tawau

Sometime last year, I have reviewed a kedai kopi near to where I’m currently staying called Kedai Kopi Hafizah 2. So if you are curious to find out more about its predecessor, then you have come to the right place. Even though it might be under a slightly different name, this so-called canteen (they attributed their name to the fact that they are the Tawau Municipal Hall’s resident canteen) has been around for years. It is run by a Chinese looking Muslim family and has now been passed down to the younger generation to manage.

In terms of food however, I was a bit disappointed to discover recently (as I had a meeting to attend nearby with a colleague so we’d decided to stopped by for breakfast) that the quality has declined throughout the years. The Nasi Kuning Ayam that I’ve ordered for instance, was not as good as I’ve remembered it especially with its condiments being lessened (due to economical reasons perhaps?). The chicken does looked good but lacked the necessary spiciness and 'kick' that a dish like that should have. My colleague tasted their Mee Hoon Sup Ayam and even she said that the dish was nothing special and indistinctive. But I do like their Fried Sardine Roll as the kuih was just superb (it’s neither too greasy nor salty) and with a very generous filling. Definitely worth recommending as a light snack to kick start your mornings.

Next we have…

Food – 3/5 (quality has somewhat been downgraded over the years)
Price – 3/5 (can be considered as medium range)
Service – 3/5 (pretty slow as we need to repeat our orders a couple of times for them to bring our food – and it wasn’t even peak hours)
Décor – 4/5 (at least now they have a more comfortable seating than before)
Location – 4/5 (they’re also at the backside of SJK Sin Hwa) 


** Current status – Still in operation (as of November 2016)  





  • Digg
  • Del.icio.us
  • StumbleUpon
  • Reddit
  • RSS

Thymes Bar & Bistro

This place has eluded me for quite sometime mainly due to its location. It’s actually located along Jalan Sim Hua Seng (right in front of the locally popular Restoran Haji Tamrin) but what sets this eatery apart from the rest was the fact that it was once a bungalow that has been nicely renovated to its current state. I admit that it looks fancy and intimidating from the outside but after a nudge from my partner one day, we'd decided to just forgo any first impression and just go for it. And as we stepped into the place, we were thoroughly surprised to find out that the restaurant was actually more laid back then what we'd initially thought. It has a lovely 2 storey seating area and an al fresco area in front. If you’re planning to go during the weekends, it is advisable to call them beforehand to make a reservation, as they are usually packed with patrons (it was lucky for us that there's a single table for two available when we walked into the place without prior booking).

I was a bit surprised when I was given the menu as it was pretty extensive. The food ranges from your usual Western dishes to some local choices but with fine dining appearances. My partner’s personal choice for example, is your typical Crab Fried Rice but it comes with the actual crab shell and meat (with my partner seemed to be very enthusiastic in using their nutcracker to pry open said meat from its pinchers). And the verdict? My partner reckon that he will probably come back just for the dish, which says a lot about the taste. I took on their Grilled Chicken Chop (which was juicy with a medium sized portion) and we’d also shared an order of Buffalo Chicken Pizza (which I’m giving two thumbs up for its thin & crispy crust as well as the delicious chicken chunks on top).

Up next is their rating…

Food – 4/5 (satisfying indeed)
Price – 3/5 (still within the above average range)
Service – 4/5 (I have heard about their somewhat slow service before but I had a pretty good experience with them – and I was there during a busy Saturday)
Décor – 4/5 (it was very classy and modern, complete with a creative wine display area)
Location – 3/5 (it might be a bit hard to locate them right away but there’s always Waze right?) 

** Current status – Still in operation (as of November 2016)  






Updated on 25/05/2017 - Was very disappointed (and not to mention angry) with our second visit recently. All I can say is that avoid going there during peak days (such as after paydays, during public holidays etc) & do not EVER sit at their al fresco seating area as you will be totally invisible to them. We started ordering at 8.30pm and an hour later we still didn't get our food or drinks (mind you, I'd ordered ICE WATER - thank you very much!). When we check with them, the waitress thought that we'd just arrived and serve us the menu again! As it turns out, our original order was passed around & was 'accidentally' thrown out in the end. As if that wasn't enough, when we complain, they just looked at us as if we're overreacting & try to place the blame on us for supposedly moving tables (which I can assure you does not happen at all). Really, this terrible experience might be an isolated incident (but I highly doubt it since service doesn't seem to be their strongest point even before our unfortunate experience) but I'm just sharing my experience so hopefully you guys will get a better experience than I did. 

  • Digg
  • Del.icio.us
  • StumbleUpon
  • Reddit
  • RSS

Sugar Island

The internet at work has shown its erratic side lately so I’m posting another review back-to-back before it ‘disappears’ on me again. I have always wanted to drop by this particular eatery but time (and sometimes situation) has not been on my side. But a recent banking business has brought me to the Kubota Square commercial area (they’re smack in the middle of said area) and while waiting for a particular transaction to transpired, I decided that it is finally time to have a look at what they’re offering.

The main thing that brought my initial attention to the place was their so-called mille crepe cake that everyone seems to be raving about. But what ‘everyone’ did not mention was that in order for you to taste them, you need to be fast since they were completely out of those during my visit (sigh). I was obviously disappointed but nevertheless I’m already there so I decided to make use of my time and try out their other food such as the Nasi Lemak Ayam (a very typical Chinese version of said dish, which was just moderate in taste) and some other munchies like their Banana Cake (a bit on the dry side and hard to chew for some reason) and the equally popular Portuguese Egg Tart (now this one I highly recommend, as the tart was really crumbly and the egg filling was soft and simply delish). Oh and yes, they’re now fully air-conditioned (a plus point since I’ve read some prior reviews about their somewhat stuffy place before this) and I just loved the personal touches that the owner had creatively shown throughout the eatery, such as personal family pictures hanging on the walls and some pretty ornaments neatly displayed on a glass shelve.

And now we take a look at…

Food – 3/5 (still a bit disappointed that I can’t sample their mille crepe cake)
Price – 4/5 (pretty average to me)
Service – 4/5 (it’s semi-self service so no worries here)
Décor – 4/5 (I really dig the whole homey vibe – it feels as if you’re welcomed)
Location – 4/5 (it’s good to note that they’re next door to an MBSB office) 

** Current status – Still in operation (as of November 2016)  








  • Digg
  • Del.icio.us
  • StumbleUpon
  • Reddit
  • RSS

Grand Cafe

If you’ve frequented the Jalan Air Panas area especially the round-a-bout right next to the Tawau Police Headquarters, then you probably noticed a new, single shoplot right in front of its main gate called Prima Jaya Commercial area. And one guess which café occupied the first shop within said area? Yup, none other than this Grand Café. But despite the name, the café itself are more laid-back and sedated and not as ‘grand’ as you might think.

I have been to this particular café twice because you can't just stay away from a place that provides good food right? Me and my partner were roaming around the area the first time around because we were trying to find an eatery that stayed open during a public holiday. Back then we didn’t know what to expect so we just ordered their Kuey Teow Goreng (with no after-wok burnt taste which was nice) and Nasi Goreng Ayam Penyet (the chicken was a bit overcooked and the sambal was on the spicy side according to my partner). We also tried out their Oreo Cheese Cake and I was a bit surprised to find that it was moist and the cheese wasn’t overpowering. It was because I was determined to try out their Chocolate Cake (which became unavailable during our premier visit) that we came back a couple of weeks after that but sadly my quest has been thwart yet again. So instead I consoled myself with yet another cheese cake (this time it’s their Lemon Cheese Cake). I enjoyed the cake very much, what with its good blend of not-too-strong cheesy taste with a tinge of lemony flavour. We also ordered some Tuna Egg Mayo Sandwiches (unexceptional in taste but still fulfilling), Nasi Goreng Sambal (simple yet tasty) and a Sweet and Sour Chicken Rice for my ever hungry companion (he said that it was really tangy and all around palatable).

Other than that we have…

Food – 4/5 (portions were very satisfying)
Price – 4/5 (they’re still within their ‘honeymoon phase’ aka no GST period so do grab this opportunity)
Service – 4/5 (impressively swift both times we were there)
Décor – 4/5 (love the relaxed vibe going around the cafe)
Location – 4/5 (no worries spotting them as they’re visible from the main road) 

** Current status – Still in operation (as of November 2016)  












  • Digg
  • Del.icio.us
  • StumbleUpon
  • Reddit
  • RSS