>> Jul 14, 2010
I was in Kota Kinabalu for the weekend (or rather 38 hours). Due to my extremely short time spent here, I was unable to sample any of their local specialties (fish noodles, roti kahwin, ikan bakar[grilled fish] etc). However, I did manage to eat a good deal of seafood on my first night there. Contrary to people's believe, the seafood there wasn't cheap (I'm talking about their higher end seafood restaurants in town). Eg: Ocean Restaurant, Port View Restaurant and Grand Port View Restaurant.
Anyway, I have to say that we made a wrong choice choosing to go the Port View Seafood Village. Initially I chose Ocean Restaurant, however as it was raining, we decided to not inconvenient ourselves and go to Port View which is opposite Le Meridien.
Don't be fooled by the picture. It was a Friday night and most of their so called 'sought after' seafood were out of stock. The bigger king lobsters and some of their prawns were out of stock. To make matters worst, the service was utter rubbish. I had to wait 15 minutes before I could even begin picking my seafood.
The food didn't take long to come. However, they kept putting more dishes on the table even though we were not done with the previous dish yet. I had that 'rushed' feeling as I was afraid the next dish would get cold.
As for the food, we had to order 2 smaller king lobsters as they were out of bigger lobsters. This was rather disappointing as most of a lobster's weight are in its shell. Hence the bigger the lobster, the higher the meat to shell ratio in a lobster. It would certainly had made a nicer presentation as well. On the bright side, a bigger lobster 'might' have a slightly firmer/tougher meat. The so called 'king lobster' is known as Sabah lobster back here in Kuala Lumpur.
Check out my post about the various types of lobsters.
Unlike KL, the lobster sashimi was only served with wasabi and Japanese Soy Sauce. It didn't come along with that herbal broth for people who don't fancy eating the lobster raw. The Sabah lobster had a crunchier texture compared to the Australian Lobster. However, I felt that the extremely spicy wasabi didn't do justice to the lobster. I would suggest they provide milder wasabi for patrons to actually savour the delicate lobster flesh rather the taste of the wasabi. The lobsters were priced at RM260 per kilo. I'm not telling you how heavy the 2 lobster above were.
As one of our guest was a top surgeon in the states, he carefully dissected the fish into nice big portions for everyone. The fish was fried until crispy and the coated with a thai chilli sauce which was not exceedingly sweet nor spicy (This sauce certainly tasted much better than its bottle counterpart found in most hypermarkets). Don't get me wrong, I enjoyed this dish very much. The grouper was RM80/kg. That fish was about 1.8kg if my memory serves me right. Anyway, to digress a little, I once caught a grouper that was 5 kilos.
As we were afraid of food poisoning, I opted for the oysters to be cooked with cheese. The other option was to have it with a good squeeze of lemon (and tobasco) or cooked with garlic. The cheese oysters were nothing great. I've tasted better. The oysters were RM9 each (cooking it with cheese cost RM2 more).
Next we had a kilo of soft shell crabs cooked with salt and pepper.
As they were out of most of their prawns, we had to go for 'medium' sized tiger prawns. The medium is about 100grams each (100grams is very heavy for a prawn, try weighing your prawns bought at the market). The large was almost double the size of the medium (the large cost RM40 a prawn). The medium cost RM170 per kilo.
Taste wise, it was decent. This style of cooking isn't found in KL. However, it didn't do justice to the prawns. The waitress told me this style goes very well with the prawns. Unfortunately, I think she was wrong. I still preferred my prawns to be steamed with egg white and Chinese wine. Cooking prawns with minimal seasoning brings out the natural flavour of the prawns.
We also had their restaurant specialty tofu and the famous Sabah 'chai' (vegetables in Hokkien).
The tofu was surprisingly good.
I shall not comment on this dish as I didn't get to try this dish. Its not that I don't eat vegetables, it was all gone before I could get a chance to try it. Anyway, I shall not complain. I had more of the other good stuff (haha).
The remaining bits of the lobster shell from our previous dish was cooked with noodles. The noodles were decent but nothing to shout about. Sabah's version of lobster noodles varies a little from the KL version.
All in all, the food was decent (not exceptional). The prices were just a tad bit cheaper than KL's (they cook it better over here though).
The next morning, we were told that another group of people went over to Ocean Restaurant to eat. They told us that they really enjoyed their food and unlike us, didn't encounter any 'out of stock' signs pasted beside the various aquariums.
Anyway, it was a pretty short trip to KK. Apart from Port View Restaurant, the only other place I went was the Fillipino Market next door. I was too caught up with some last minute changes in my presentation. I certainly would like to sample more of KK's food places. I might even plan a diving trip to Sipadan while I'm at it.
Note: I bought a 2.7kg Deep Sea Chicken aka Hoi Tai Kai / ikan ayam back from Sabah. Can't wait to eat it this weekend.
*Opinions expressed are solely based on my personal experience
Pricing: About RM100 per person (more depending on the seafood ordered)
Map to Port View Seafood Village Sdn. Bhd @ Jalan Tun Fuad Stephens, Kota Kinabalu, Sabah
Port View Restaurant,
Lot 18, Ground Floor,
Anjung Samudra (The Water Front),
Jalan Tun Fuad Stephens,
88000 Kota Kinabalu,
Telephone number: 088 221753
Website: www.portview.com.my (there's nothing much there actually)