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BFTP: Premier Hotel Sibu

Wow, I’ve just realized that I’ve only posted this BFTP almost once per year. Well, I think I really need to step up my game huh? So this time around my memories had flown us all the way to Sibu, Sarawak.

Premier Hotel Sibu

When – Way back in 2009, because a former college friend of mine has been begging me to come and visit her
Where – I would say that it’s within a very strategic place at the Sarawak House Complex, Jalan Kampung Nyabor. For those of us not from that area, the hotel is within the Pekan Sibu.
Room(s) that I’ve stayed in – Superior Double Room
Reasons for staying – Like I’ve mentioned before, one of my close friends from college has been bugging me to come to her hometown in Sibu for years. And since she’d been to Tawau previously, I think it’s only fair that I returned the favour and finally relented. I would say that it was a pleasant experience, although I got the impression that Sibu is smaller than I initially thought though.
Pros:
~ the hotel is somewhat in the middle of the main town area so you are in close proximity to lots of shops and even their ‘pasar malam’. And if my memory serves me correctly, it is also within walking distance to the main ferry terminal (of course, it is the main form of inter-district transportation in Sarawak).
~ the hotel is also attached to a shopping complex (but looks more like a large supermarket to me) called the Sarawak House Complex so it’s pretty convenient for you to buy your essentials.
~ the room I was given was very comfortable, with that old school charm (can also be translated as ‘dated’) and has a nice view overlooking the town. But they have since refurbished their rooms so it is more modern looking now.
Cons:
~ I went out to grab a bite at the wee hours in the morning (I’ll explain why later) and was surprise to see the lobby area very darkly lit. I mean, two-lights-only darkness with only 1 staff manning the place. I found this very surprising since the hotel can be considered as large (and by the looks of it, one of the pricier ones at that time) so I wasn’t expecting them to be very frugal when it comes to the lobby. But then again, it was a while ago and from the looks of it now (via their current website) they have gone through renovations and are now (hopefully) much better lit than before.
~ unfortunately if you’re interested in visiting other malls in Sibu, then you do need to take a taxi to and fro since the area is quite far away from other malls.
~ at that time, their free wifi services were only limited to the lobby area so I do remember having to carry my laptop downstairs just to send some emails
~ I also remember the bathroom lights were off during my first night there but it has been sorted out by the second night.  
Memorable event(s) – I clearly remembered that the first night I checked into the hotel was also the beginning of the fasting month. So imagine me going out trying to find some place to have my first sahur of the year, in an unfamiliar town, ALL ALONE. Yup, thinking back I just realized that I was pretty bold during those days. Thankfully I do not have to walk that far, since there’s a 24 hours KFC nearby for me to grab a (very) early morning snack.
Overall Ratings: * * * (curious as to what the place looked like now)


(P/S: Pictures below are mostly ‘borrowed’ from www.tripadvisor.com so all credit goes to them, otherwise stated differently of course)

(This front pic is taken from bettyandlingshing.blogspot.com. The shopping complex is actually attached to the hotel)

(The room that I got looked very similar to this one - this is way before they'd dolled up the place)

(Yup, this reminds me so much of the room as well way back when)

(Want more prove that this is exactly what the room looks like a few years back? Just check out the retro TV!)

(This last one was taken from www.yanty.my - This is what Pekan Sibu looks like, it is actually smaller than it looks though) 

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Taste of Grill

I really wish that I could review some more ‘makan place’ from KK though (because it’s hands down the place to be when it comes to a wide variety of delicious food in Sabah) but alas, I’m back in Tawau now. So currently on my list of eateries-to-visit is this place called Taste of Grill (situated within the Sabindo town area, very near to Quong Ming Bookstore & Tai Yang Supermarket). From the sound of it, it’s kind of obvious that the place will be featuring grilled food right? But do not fret if you’re not really into western food since they also have your usual local cuisines on their menu.

This place has been around for a few years now but I admit that I was actually avoiding it before. Why you asked? Well, I know the reason might be silly but the place is actually a subsidiary of the Tawau Carparks company (yes, the ‘sworn enemy’ to any local motorists) so you can forgive my ‘pre-judgemental’ attitude (okay, I’m actually half kidding here folks). But recently my curiosity got the best of me and I decided ‘what the heck’ and just give it a go. So me and my dear partner decided to go there one evening and ordered their Nasi Goreng USA (my partner’s order – which was very delicious according to him) and Grilled Chicken Chop off their menu. And you know what guys? I’m really glad that I give them a chance since their chicken chop were arguably one of the best in town. I mean seriously! The price might be slightly above average but it’s actually worth it since their chicken chop was really tender, juicy and most importantly, thick (a rare sight in Tawau). The barbeque sauce that came with it also enhanced the chicken chop even more (although it might be a tad too salty). And the best part of it all was the fact that we do not have to wait too long for our meals (which is usually the case whenever you’re ordering anything ‘chop’). So two thumbs up for them!

Now let us move on shall we…

Food – 4/5 (I highly recommend their grilled food) 
Price – 3/5 (very mid-range – I honestly was expecting something more expensive)
Service – 4/5 (kudos to the kitchen staff for their swift service)
Decor – 3/5 (your basic half open air, half air-conditioned premises)
Location4/5 (it’s also right below their very own Tawau Carpak HQ in Sabindo)   

** Current status – Has been closed (as of August 2017) 






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Borenos Fried Chicken Centre Point (KK FoodieVenture #57)

Again, I was hoping to do more foodie reviews from KK but since we have very limited time in between the short term course (and with provided breakfast & lunch buffet no less) I’ve only (barely) managed to go to two new eateries that coincidentally were my first patronage as well. This relatively new fast food joint (locally bred I presume?) had taken me by surprised since I’ve been patronizing the Kenny Rogers Roasters restaurant (at the lower ground floors of Centre Point Shopping Mall) for years and was a bit baffled to find them gone and replaced by this unknown eatery.

Since it was our last night in KK, me and my colleague decided to give them a go (because it’s quite obvious that we won’t be able to do so after we’d gotten back to Tawau) so after a few minutes, we decided on their 2 pieces Chicken Meal (their take on the KFC ‘inspired’ meal set), Porridge Value Meal (their version of the McD’s meal maybe?) and some side order of Criss Cut Fries. Other than the fries (which were superb) the chicken meals were okay at best. They might not be beating KFC anytime soon but they’re not that far behind either in terms of taste. A slight peeved on our part might be on their service. While we do not have any problems with their front staff, their kitchen staff is in need of more help (I guess?) since it took them ages to prepare your orders. They had this unique system where you’ll be given a special device (see below pics) that will beep like crazy once your orders were ready to be picked up at the counter. That’s nice and all but it will be a much better experience if they did not take more than half an hour to prepare said meals. A Chinese family literally walked away without their orders due to the long wait (and it’s not even during peak hours).

Next we have their ratings…

Food – 4/5 (they have something here, just as long as they can stabilize the quality) 
Price – 3/5 (similar to their rival KFC’s pricing)
Service – 2/5 (the only part that they really should focus and improved on)
Decor – 3/5 (very much screams ‘fast food joint’ with its greenish colouring)
Location4/5 (it’s right next to the Queen’s supermarket, in front of a couple of Maybank ATMs)  







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Lucy's Kitchen Imago (KK FoodieVenture #56)

As I’ve stated in my previous post, my very recent 2 days only work related course had ‘forced’ me to take port in Kota Kinabalu (my favourite place in Sabah). We’ve stayed at the Imperial Boutec Hotel which was in near proximity to our venue so I’ll be going straight to the food part of my journey okay? Well, I’ll only be blogging about 2 new eateries that I’ve managed to squeeze into my very limited timing in KK and one of those places is this eatery. Me and a colleague decided to unwind for a while after a full day’s worth of presentations (which was just insane for our part) and actually walked to the Imago Shopping Mall nearby.

We were roaming around the lower ground floor level and hopped from one eatery to another, looking through their menus for suitable dinner when we finally made our selection. I was actually here around January and I can’t remember whether this place was here before. But nevertheless the menu appealed to both of us so we got in and tried out their Nasi Lemak Pandan Biasa (very lovely and non spicy sambal) and their Basmathi Rice with Grilled Chicken (my colleague absolutely loved the well portioned chicken) but my personal favourite has got to be our shared order of Peanut Butter Waffle (I’m in love with the crispy, just nice waffle!). The Asian fusion eatery has a couple of other branches around KK and is also very agreeable with our not-so-big wallet. Now that was surprising since I’d expected it to be pricier judging by their outer looks alone. It’s definitely a lesson from the ‘do not judge the book by its cover’ page huh?

For ratings I’m giving them…

Food – 4/5 (we’ll definitely be coming back for more) 
Price – 4/5 (surprisingly very affordable – thumbs up for this)
Service – 4/5 (they’re very welcoming – which was a major plus for me)
Decor – 4/5 (very modern & sleek looking – loved it)
Location4/5 (I’m surprised that I’d just discovered them in Imago)  







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Sipadan Cafe - Family Food & Drink House

I FINALLY have some time to update this humble blog of mine, after a hectic but short work related course (more on that later) as well as a 2 weeks worth of flu that followed suit soon after that. So since I’m feeling a bit better now (thank you for asking by the way… wink wink) I might as well squeezed in a couple of reviews especially those from my recent KK trip. I admit that even though I’ve visited Kota Kinabalu to unwind almost on a yearly basis, it’s actually quite rare for me to go there for work purposes. So let us start things off with a review before I’d actually stepped foot in KK. Where else people but... the Tawau Airport (cue in the dramatic music...).

Trust me when I say that major improvements have been made to the Tawau Airport eateries. It used to be so bad that nobody (and I mean, nobody) wanted to grabbed anything to eat from the airport and would rather have expensive-and-in-tiny-portioned meals served in-flights. But after revamping the place here and there and opening its doors to multiple new tenants, the place has somewhat came to life with new offerings. We decided to stop by the so-called ‘official’ café for the airport called Sipadan Café (or as the bill would later printed out, the 'Family Food & Drink House' - don't really know which one is the official name though). It’s on the first floor, right next to the main departure hall and near to the Air Asia ticketing office. Me and a colleague had some time to spare so we’d decided to tried out their Thailand Fried Rice with Egg (the fried rice tasted okay but ordinary though) and their Black pepper Chicken Rice (my colleague said that it’s surprisingly tasty but nothing to shout out). Couple that with two bottled drinks (that will probably cost you only 1/3 of the price that they’re charging us – outside of course), we’d barely managed to avoid eating more than our RM50 budget. It actually does not surprised me at all since that always seems to be the case when you’re dining in airports but at least I do hoped that they can improve on the taste of their dishes in the future.

And yes, I’m still rating them…

Food – 3/5 (could have been better)
Price – 2/5 (ridiculously high)
Service – 3/5 (would appreciate it if the staff can throw out some smiles once in a while)
Décor – 3/5 (at least it’s comfortable even though it might be bare looking)
Location – 3/5 (it’s waayyy at the back side of the rows of offices and other eateries on the first floor)

** Current status - Still in operation (as of August 2016) 






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