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Outward Vacay: The Klagan Hotel

I think I have mention in my previous post that I was vacationing in KK for quite sometime. That 'sometime' actually means around 2 weeks so during our second week, me and my ever patient partner decided to change our 'sceneries' and move to another hotel. And that folks, is how we ended up in The Klagan Hotel. Situated at Warisan Square shopping mall (yes, not near or beside.. but actually is in Warisan Square), I dare say it's the best middle-high budgeted hotel in KK (but if you wanted to splurged and go big in terms of budget, then may I suggest the Le Meridien hotel right next to it cause trust me, you won't regret it).

For one thing, it's practically surrounded with places to shop till you drop. The Warisan Square itself is already a good place to start your shopping spree. But if you are not looking for high end goods or just wanted to do some window shopping, then you can also go to Centre Point shopping mall just in front of it. And during the night, there's the colourful and vibrant looking (I feel like a professional travel writer while typing this - hahaha) high-end waterfront at the other side of the hotel. Not to mention the in-famous Filipino Market right next to the waterfront if you're a little adventurous.

Now room wise I have nothing much to comment other than being really satisfied with what I've got. I've actually stayed at the hotel a number of times (even when it is still called Imperial International Hotel a few years back) and have tried several rooms. This time around we decided to take on their Atrium Room (aka Standard Room, the only room that I haven't actually tried) and I must say that I'm impressed. I love the fact that it's still as spacious as any other room in the hotel and the decor is somewhat similar to most rooms so you still have that sleek feel. The bed is the best for me since I got the best sleep in this bed as compared to the other 2 hotels previously visited during my trip. The only down side was that if you're expecting a view from the window, than you'll be disappointed since all Atrium Rooms had the typical internal windows. You'll be looking out at a function room roof, a floor down. The bathroom is also pretty spacious and I just love the pressure of their showers (unlike my previous hotel - see previous post).

Their reception area is also pretty modern looking and their staff are well-trained and quite helpful. Previously, the hotel actually shared their lifts (elevators) with the general Warisan Square patrons so it can be quite unsafe but I'm now happy to report that now they have 'privatize' the lifts exclusively for hotel guests so you'll feel much safer coming from the internal parking area into the hotel. Oh and it's worth mentioning that the hotel also provide free parking for all guests. Just parked anywhere within the Warisan Square building (not the outside parking though as you'll still be charge) and later give the ticket to be stamped at the reception counter.

So after our stay there, I say...

Type - Atrium Room
Room - 5/5 (no doubt about it, I'll definitely be coming back)
Price - 3/5 (they recently hiked up the price a bit but hey, it's still a good place to stay)
Service - 4/5 (no problems encountered which is always a good sign)
Decor - 4/5 (pretty modern & they've actually reopened their cafe lounge - more on that later)
Facilities - 4/5 (no pools though but they do have a rooftop restaurant - again more on that later. And it's worth mentioning that they've once held an Akademi Fantasia Sabah auditions here so that does says something about their facilities right?)
Location - 4/5 (right behind Centre Point, within Warisan Square shopping mall) 










     
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Burger King Damai Plaza (KK FoodieVenture #13)

Now onto my final foray into the world of famous franchise foods. And yes, it does not escape my notice that I actually had quite a number of those in KK. Well, it is called a vacation right? Que evil laugh... Hehehehe... But this time I did not take my Burger King at the usual Centre Point shopping mall (there used to be one a long time ago but it has since been closed). So to satisfied my hunger for that darn good burger joint, me and my partner-in-crime decided to hopped into the one in Damai Plaza. This one can easily be spotted as it is at the corner of the building (right next to high-end supermarket Tong Hing), as well as right at the main entrance road leading into Damai Plaza.

And again, since this is another well-known brand, I won't keep you waiting with my usual rants and go straight to the good stuff. We ordered ourselves some Chicken Royale Sandwich set meal (my total favourite and still as delicious as I'd remembered), BK Singles Black Pepper Burger set meal (my partner gave two thumbs up for it) and my all time favorite, their Onion Rings which are to die for. FYI, we actually had a BK joint in Tawau back in the late 1990s/early 2000s if I'm not mistaken but has since 'perish' due to loosing the battle of fast foods with the ever supreme KFC (which Tawaurians just can't seem to get enough of for some reason).

Don't worry folks, this is the last entry that I'll be doing of franchise food places in KK. But there are some other popular franchises that has yet to graced themselves to our shores such as Domino's Pizza, Wendy's, Subway, Carl's Jr (all available in West Malaysia) and many, many more. Fingers crossed that they'll be available (at least in KK) in the near future.

Food - 4/5 (hands down to me the best among all franchise fast food burgers)
Price - 4/5 (pretty standard fast food pricing)
Service - 3/5 (nowadays all franchise food employee had the tendency to 'yell out' their greetings but I'm okay with it)
Decor - 4/5 (again, your typical reddish BK setting but still comfortable)
Location - 4/5 (as stated above, it won't be hard for you to find it)









   
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Sri Kulai Food Station (KK FoodieVenture #12)

Obviously when you are traveling, you do need to count your budget, especially on food. So one such ways to minimize your food spending is to try out the pre-packed food station that has been popping in KK as of late. Totted as the 'first halal frozen ready-to-eat meals' in Malaysia, all you had to do is pick your choice of meal, pay for them at the counter and then go back to the station to popped them into a ready microwave (also provided at the station). They also tend to provide spaces for you to eat your meal near the station so it's pretty convenient as well.

Usually installed within 24 hours convenient stores such as the Orange store (available throughout KK but the one that we'd went to was the one at Warisan Square shopping mall), the Sri Kulai pre-packed frozen food consist of numerous offerings. When we decided to try out the food, we got to choose from the choice of Nasi Lemak Rendang Chicken, Roasted Chicken Rice, Spaghetti Bolognese and Shao Mai with Chicken Soup. We eventually opted for their Spaghetti Bolognese and Roasted Chicken Rice. On first glance as we opened our now hot meals, we kinda already expected it to be very simple looking (I mean, the feeling is pretty similar when you are eating airlines food - you do not have high expectations for it). But as we dug in, I was pretty surprise with the taste. It might be a frozen food, but I'm happy to report that Sri Kulai did not neglect their food's tastes as ours was pretty satisfying. Granted the portion might be small (like I said, think typical airline food) but taste-wise it's quite good and just right in flavorings.

It's also good to note that Sri Kulai will be available in Tawau very soon, as I've recently seen the Sri Kulai station being installed inside this as yet to be opened (at the time I'm posting this) children's playground of sorts called El's Kids & Moms Wonderland, just beside De Choice Hotel. 

For ratings though I'll give them...

Food - 4/5 (surprising good for a frozen pre-packed meal)
Price - 3/5 (it's not exactly cheap as it's not totally budget food - more like convenient food)
Service - 4/5 (hey, it's self service) 
Decor - 4/5 (the orangey-station really is eye-catching)
Location - 4/5 (available in most Orange convenient store around KK and also an actual, entire store just for it at City Mall KK)








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Pasar Pilipin Stalls (KK FoodieVenture #11)

Trust me when I say that you will not get the full KK experience if you did not drop by the in-famous Pasar Pilipin (aka Filipino Market) at least once. Since I'm staying nearby, I do frequent the place even though I do heard 'rumours' about the place. But do not fret folks since I can honestly say that with the recent 'update' to the place, the market is now looking much better (and not to mention cleaner). Still it doesn't hurt to be extra careful when walking around since there can be quite a number of people around the area by night time.

The marketplace is not exclusively selling food though. There's also fresh fish, vegetables, local fruits and a number of non food items being sold but half of the place is dedicated to food. Me and my dear partner have tried a number of stalls around the area (which sold anything from pre-made food to by-order meals) and depending on your taste buds, the place has some pretty good places to eat. One such place is this stall that sell by-order dishes such as Nasi Goreng and Mee Goreng (see pictures below) not too far from one of the main entrance. I mean really, the pakcik that is doing all the cooking is hands down (to us) the best food in the area. The dishes might look unappealing and simple, but wait till you take a bite off them. And they also give a very generous portion for the low price you're paying. There's also a couple of good places nearby to get grilled food such as sausages, chicken wings and satays. And if you're thinking of eating (somewhat) fresh fish, then there's also quite a lot of stalls that cater to your needs. But do beware though, since the grilled fish sellers tend to increase the price if you do not look local so you can try to negotiate to lower the price a bit.

But for my personal experience...

Food - 5/5 (can't get enough of the food there)
Price - 5/5 (pretty cheap for KK standards)
Service - 3/5 (I'm just saying.. be a little wary of the grilled fish sellers) 
Decor - 3/5 (it's the authentic KK outdoor feel that's pretty unique if you're not use to such places)
Location - 4/5 (in front of Le Meridien Hotel, that's the only pointer that you'll need)







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Kenny Rogers Roasters Centre Point (KK FoodieVenture #10)

We're back with more 'franchise-food-that-we-Tawaurians-can-only-get-outside-of-our-hometown' episodes (gosh, that's a mouthful). This time I'm bringing you (by 'you' I meant my fellow Tawaurians) to Kenny Rogers Roasters Restaurant (yup, that famous jingle is currently on play in my head) inside of Centre Point KK shopping mall. The franchise is on the lower ground (LG) floor and it does need a bit of a walk-around to spot the place. It's right beside a Maybank booth so you'll definitely see it.

Since this is a well-established franchise, I'll just get right down to the food and keep this short. I'm actually a frequent visitor to the place so that shows just how satisfied I am with the food. In my recent visit, me and my partner decided to take on the same dish (their Quarter Chicken + 3 sides meal set) which is pretty awesome in terms of taste, as well as their Rock N Roll sausages (simple yet fulfilling) as well as some extra Chocolate Muffins (trust me, their muffins are to die for).

So overall I say...

Food - 4/5 (if you love eating chicken then you can do no wrong here)
Price - 3/5 (a tad pricey but I'm satisfied with the dishes)
Service - 4/5 (they definitely take their service-with-a-smile motto to heart)
Decor - 4/5 (comfortable, typical KRR setting)
Location - 3/5 (go straight to the LG floor, at the far end of the floor)






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KK Burger Bakar (KK FoodieVenture #9)

We take a short break from eating heavy duty food and decided to go easy on our dinner. A big thanks to online food bloggers and commentators via Tripadvisor (my no.1 food 'research' source) for recommending various places in KK for us to go. And one such place is this burger joint called KK Burger Bakar. Their networking when it comes to promoting their small business is pretty impressive, as I've actually heard about them from quite a number of people. Their stall is somewhat at the farther side of a cluster of stalls area, next to the Plaza Tanjung Aru.

Other than their networking skills, I'm also pretty impressed at their creativity in naming their burgers. I mean seriously, a burger called Angry Bird and Titanic bound to make you wonder right? And if you thought that the glamorous names are a cover for the lack of variety and taste of the burgers than I'm sorry to say you're wrong. There's actually a variety of choices to choose from such as chicken, beef, lamb and fish patties (with unique names) and after taking a bit of a time, we ordered their Salsa Chic burger (for me - cause I'm craving for chicken during that time and I love their 'real chicken meat' patty) and the Titanic burger (for my partner - very tasty but the name still amuses me). It was raining quite heavily when we got there but customers still flock to the place like there's no tomorrow, so that does said something about the quality of their burgers. Drinks however were not provided by the stall but do not worry since a neighbouring stall will come to your table personally for drink orders.

All in all I say...

Food - 4/5 (the hard-to-remember variety still amazes me)
Price - 3/5 (I assume it's a reasonable price by KK standards - might not be in Tawau though)
Service - 4/5 (a simple system of you-order-we-send)
Decor - 3/5 (it might be a stall but I must admit that it's pretty comfortable)
Location - 3/5 (we did have to ask people for direction to the place)







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Kak Nong! Restaurant (KK FoodieVenture #8)

Now we head back to the Harbour City commercial area (next to Ming Garden Hotel and in front of KK Times Square) to have some heavy tea time meals. This time around we decided to try the restaurant we originally wanted to try out when we first got to the area, several days before. The large Kak Nong! Restaurant is said to be pretty popular especially during lunchtime so we manage to avoid that particular time and decided to dropped by in the evenings. There's no trouble in finding the place as the restaurant is at the far end of the single row commercial building and there's more than enough parking spaces within the area.

One thing that first stood out about the place (in my mind) is the service. Waiters and waitresses are somewhat swift when you called for them but seems irritated when taking your order. We pretty much got this sour look as we told the waiter our orders and we barely put the menus down when it practically got yanked from us. I understand they maybe tired after working for hours but we do at least deserve a little smile right? Thank God the food was pretty delicious. We ordered ourselves some Gulai Ayam (hands down their best dish), Nasi Lemak (pretty hot & spicy sambal) and a Nasi Goreng Kampung for my partner  (which I've also tasted and it's definitely nothing to be ashamed about). They also have some pre-packed 'kuihs' and we got to try their version of Kek Sarawak which is not too sweet, just the way I like them.

Overall I say...

Food - 4/5 (I'm still dreaming of their Gulai Ayam)
Price - 4/5 (a tad pricey than other places but I'll take it)
Service - 2/5 (happy customer = more successful business)
Decor - 3/5 (the spacious place can get a bit dirty due to the crowd)
Location - 4/5 (like I said, it's at the far end of the building)







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KoKi Bandung Restaurant (KK FoodieVenture #7)

So I'm not gonna lie. The main reason why I went to this KoKi Bandung Restaurant is because of that TV show Jalan-Jalan Cari Makan on TV3. Since I never miss the show, one of the places that stood out for me was this place at Alamesra, Kota Kinabalu. The restaurant is visible from the main road but finding the right road leading to the place was quite tricky. I kid you not when I say that it took us a solid 25 minutes (because we got lost 3 freaking times) just to get to the place. Yeah, such genius the two of us!

We're fortunate however to arrive there after the busy hours (aka lunchtime) so it's pretty mellow when we were there. The decor deserves some shout out as it has a lovely authentic Javanese feel to it (not to mention some eye-catching 'wayang kulit' like dolls near the entrance). And yes, we did spot the infamous JJCM plaque hanging near the cashier so we can let out a sign of relief that we got to the right place.

Food wise, we decided to order ourselves some Satay Penyet (if you're imagining those typical roadside satay, you'll be disappointed), Ayam Penyet and a Nasi Goreng for my partner. The fragrant rice (which also has a nice taste to it) and their delicious sambal (which comes in an array of choices) are free and can be refill at your request so I'm definitely happy with that arrangement. Their food are definitely authentic and tasty to boot. I know another similar place in KK that also caters to authentic Indo food (and dare I say, even superior when it comes to taste) but you won't be disappointed here either.

As for the ratings...

Food - 5/5 (hey, what can I say. I'm a big fan of authentic Indo food)
Price - 4/5 (pretty reasonable in my books)
Service - 3/5 (I have to agree with some food bloggers when they say that the service can be a bit slow)
Decor - 4/5 (very comfortable & unique setting)
Location - 2/5 (let me repeat - we got lost 3 times before we actually got to the place)








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Selera Laksamana Tomyam Seafood (KK FoodieVenture #6)

We'll just dive into this pretty straightforward since I'm actually killing a bit of a time before going out (currently waiting for mom to get ready for a wedding we were suppose to be going 20 minutes ago - better late than never. Hahaha.. ). We found ourselves at Anjung Senja Waterfront one rainy evening and quickly settled down to the stall nearest to the entry way. The place is located right at the pretty awesome looking waterfront of KK. More specifically, it's located right in front of Wawasan Plaza, near to where we were staying during the first week of our vacation. There's plenty of food stalls around the area (which had been renovated, making the place looked more polish and inviting now - kudos to DBKK).

After taking sometime looking at their menu, we decided to order the same dish (Nasi Goreng Mamak) as we were hoping that they'll be able to cook it faster as we were quite hungry. Which unfortunately was not the case since the waiter somehow messed up our orders and gave us MEE Goreng Mamak instead. But nevertheless, the owner was apologetic and quickly solved the problem. Taste wise I personally think it's okay but nothing special about it (it tasted like any ordinary fried rice - sorry) but we'd also had ordered their Ikan Bakar and the sambal to that dish was pretty awesome. It's spicy and rich, just the way I liked it.

So overall I would say...

Food - 4/5 (this is mostly for the fish - really satisfied with the dish)
Price - 4/5 (it's pretty standard stall price so I'm good)
Service -  3/5 (it's an accidental error and it's totally forgivable but it does effect the rating though)
Decor - 3/5 (it's actually much more comfortable now than it was before)
Location - 4/5 (I mean come on, it's on the waterfront of KK so you can't miss it)





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