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LowCost Cafe

So before I begin, let me just get something straighten out first okay. No… the food and drinks available within the eatery were not priced at a ‘low cost’ but instead can be considered as very reasonable. The outlet that I’ve visited recently was their Muhibbah Square branch (as oppose to their main branch at Taman Sawit, Balung), yet another new commercial area along Jalan Muhibbah and located right in front of G-Mart Supermarket. 

Since me and my mom were checking out the somewhat newly opened supermarket within said commercial area (since it’s not that far from where we live), we got hungry and decided to dropped by for a quick lunch. I was told by a colleague that the cook was a Thai national so I wasted no time in trying out their White Tom Yam, couple with some Nasi Goreng Lalap (my go-to dish) as well as Sweet & Sour Chicken Rice for my mom. Portioning for the food listed was on the smaller side (befitting the ‘reasonable prices’ that I’ve mentioned) but still pretty sufficient and was actually quite delicious. I like the fact that their tom yam was not too spicy and has a nice fragrance to it. The sour taste was also nicely done and just tickles my tongue into emptying said dish.

On a side note…

Food – 4/5 (surprisingly pretty good – giving them thumbs up for this)
Price – 3/5 (very reasonable indeed)
Service – 2/5 (note to said eatery – I would appreciate it if the waitress did not act all condescending towards the customers)
Décor – 3/5 (very hip and laid-back but the wooden seats does feel a bit uncomfortable to sit in)
Location – 3/5 (they’re at the far end of the commercial area)

** Current status – Still in operation (as of December 2017) 








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Restoran Resepi Bonda

Since my partner is a die-hard footie fan, I got dragged into places that I never thought I would’ve gone numerous times in the past. So when he found out the existence of this particular restaurant (bearing his numero uno team no less) he wasted no time in coaxing me to stop by the latter, which is located at Jalan St. Patrick (the single row shop right in front of LA Hotel).

This restaurant is an obvious hub for local Liverpool FC fans to gather around and trash talk other teams each time there’s a big game being streamed live (from my personal observation of course). But if you’re not into the whole football scene, you can always opt to immerse yourself in your own gastronomic world and ordered an array of local dishes available from the menu (like I did). I’ve eaten their Nasi Ayam Lalap (which was surprisingly appetizing although some might argue that it was a tad salty) as well as some Grilled Chicken Wings from a stall nearby (so-so at best). My partner had their Nasi Goreng Cina and he’d also said that it was quite tasty despite the less appealing look (well, it’s either that or because his team was scoring the moment I’d asked him about it). One thing that I would like for them to highlight on is their cleanliness though (or the lack of it to be exact).    

Nevertheless…

Food – 4/5 (pretty satisfactory for a themed restaurant)
Price – 3/5 (still on the medium side)
Service – 3/5 (can do with a bit of speed)
Décor – 3/5 (not as extensively decorated as Chiffonade but still pretty appealing)
Location – 4/5 (it’s visible from the main road leading up the St Patrick’s Church)

** Current status – Still in operation (as of December 2017) 







**Yup, my partner is standing by his team, no matter what



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Big Apple Donuts & Coffee

I still remember the time when Big Apple Donuts & Coffee first opened its doors here in Tawau (specifically in Fajar Complex, on the same row as Kingston Executive Hotel) a few years back. Man, you could barely make it to their cashier counter due to the overwhelming crowd and very long queues. But now that the hyped has died down, the situation is the exact opposite of the latter. When I suddenly had the urged for some donuts recently, it does not escape my attention that the place was pretty vacant. But on the other hand, I did get to sit down and enjoy my donuts peacefully so it’s all good (for me at least).

Since they’re the one and only donut shop here in Tawau, I can’t complain much on the variety of their pastry since I do admit that it is quite vast. But what I do want to comment on however is their sometimes overbearingly sweet flavours. For example, I opted for their Java Lava, Chocoholic and Mimi Lolo donuts and the former was by far the sweetest one of them all. Granted, I do love its (very) chocolate-y flavour but even a self-proclaimed ‘chocoholic’ such as myself would agree that the sweetness should be taken down a notch. Ever heard of ‘less is more’ Big Apple? Ironically though, I did ordered their Ice Peach Tea to wash off my tongue and got a very watered down version of said drink. Definitely not worth paying RM8 for something that you could easily buy elsewhere (the drink is from the Lipton variety) for half the price.

In addition…

Food – 4/5 (would loved it if they’d just dialled down their sweetness a bit)
Price – 3/5 (has seen an increased due to the GSTs)
Service – 4/5 (pretty prompt – probably because I was the only one there)
Décor – 4/5 (your typical brownish Big Apple trademark decor)
Location – 4/5 (they’re also right next to King Park Hotel)

** Current status – Still in operation (as of December 2017)





  
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Rumah Makan Putri Minang

Also known as Restoran Putri Minang (I’m purposely using their other name just because it sounded cooler and more authentic), the barely a month old eatery has opened its doors within the ‘hotel row’ of Fajar Complex (they’re right next to Heritage Hotel). God knows just how much I’d missed Indonesia’s Padang cuisine (there was a Padang food eatery that had opened a few years back at Kubota Square but has since been closed) so I was more than happy that this particular restaurant has decided to take the plunge and open such eatery within the notoriously competitive commercial area.

The foods were as veritable as it can get, since the friendly veterans manning the restaurant were Minangkabau in ethnicity. Although food selections were not as vast as one would hoped from a Padang cuisine restaurant (as they’re typically known for their multiple choices of readily cooked ‘lauks’) the foods that me and my partner had tried were nevertheless flavoursome. Now do forgive me if I’ve wrongly identified the dishes (as the waiter was talking a bit too fast for me to fully caught up to what he was saying) but we did tried out their Beef Rendang (my partner cleared this dish up all by himself so that was a good sign), Gulai Ayam (its whiter than what I usually had but the chicken was juicy with superior spice level), Grilled Fish (the sambal lado on top definitely elevated the taste of said fish) and Fried Begedil (you just can’t go wrong with a potato patty now can you?). They’d also given us some Daun Ubi (boiled cassava leaves) as our ‘ulam’ for free so the experience dining there was a positive one for us. Now all I had to do is to cross my fingers and prayed that this place will lasts longer than expected, as the previous tenants to the shop had issues maintaining a steady stream of customers in the past.       

Besides that…

Food – 4/5 (I do hoped that they would add to their current selection of ‘lauks’ in the near future)
Price –4/5 (still very reasonable)
Service – 4/5 (I really like the all round smiles from said ‘veterans’)
Décor – 3/5 (nothing much to comment on this area)
Location – 4/5 (they’re also right next to one of two 7 Eleven stores around the area)

** Current status – Still in operation (as of December 2017)  





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Backyard Vacay: The Dream Hotel

My birthday had come and gone recently so I’ve decided to pamper and gifted myself with my usual ‘backyard vacay’ activity. And I must say that I had mixed feelings coming back from said hotel (which is strategically located within the ever busy Fajar Complex, with its main lobby being on the first floor – right on top of Pizza Hut). So here are a few pros and cons that I’ve listed down to make it easier for you guys to read my review (and for the fact that I’m on my lazy mode right now so please bear with me okay)… 

Pros
  • The room was very spacious and has a beautiful Japanese concept (also known as the Sakura Suite). Other themed rooms include Roman & Chinese rooms.
  • Loved the overall design (such as the king sized mattress on the floor & on the same level as its other furnishings) as it felt like an actual Japanese room.
  • Friendly and attentive staff especially the female receptionist (who’d noticed that it was my birthday and wished me which I think was thoughtful)
  • Price was slightly cheaper when booking online than when you walk in

Cons
  • There’s no lift and the stairs were pretty steep (and there were 3 sets of stairs to climb should your room is on the top floor – like mine was)
  • Signage leading up to the rooms were not very clear (as I literally had gotten lost while searching for my room & needed some assistance to locate it in the end)
  • Maintenance might also be an issue as some of the lights were off, the fridge were a bit run down & the water pressure was very low
  • There’s only 1 socket for the entire room
  • There’s also this somewhat eerily feeling since I suspected that I was the only occupant on the floor that I was staying (cue the scary, horror movie music…)
 But overall…

Type – Japanese (10 Tatami) Room
Room – 4/5 (could do with a little TLC)
Price – 4/5 (very good pricing even for walk-in patrons)
Service – 4/5 (a simple greet can really make your whole experience better)
Décor – 5/5 (I’m a sucker for themed rooms)
Facilities – 3/5 (nothing much expected from this no frills accommodation)
Location – 4/5 (rest assured that you’re surrounded by lots of shops, banks & eateries)









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Bintang Food Court

Seriously, if I did not decide to make a shortcut upon entering the newly opened Kubota Sentral commercial area via the backside road of Bintang Kubota (which is exactly where this restaurant is) I would have never notice that the eatery was there. Location plays an important role within the budding commercial area, as seen and proven by previous tenants with similar situation before. It is especially a concern since the restaurant was bold enough not only to take on the rather secluded area, but also rented 3 shop lots at one go. Let us hope that the restaurant will survive and continue to stay open for many years to come.

My mom (being Chinese) is always enthusiastic when it comes to finding and patronizing a Chinese restaurant so we made our way there one evening and ordered some of their individual sized dishes which includes the Thai Chicken Rice and Mix Vegetables Rice. We were satisfied with their food on our first trip that we’d decided to drop by again the following weekend. During our second time there, we were both a bit hungry and had ordered a couple of their main dishes such as the Onion Chicken, Kangkung Belacan and Sliced Fish with Ginger and all of the dishes were nicely done. It wasn’t a total home run for me but nevertheless the dishes were still pretty scrumptious. It’s also good to note that they do have an array of snacks such as buns and pastries available should you have the urge to munch on something light (courtesy of Kurtos Spiroll no less).

Moreover…

Food – 4/5 (tasty Chinese cuisines indeed)
Price – 3/5 (I would say that it is above average)
Service – 3/5 (I blame the pillars that sometimes blocked the waitresses’ view of the customers)
Décor – 3/5 (has the typical big, modern Chinese restaurant feel to it)
Location – 3/5 (again, they’re located at the back row of said commercial area)

** Current status – Still in operation (as of November 2017) 









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Signature By The Licious Beverages

Man, I’m just so happy that Tawau is finally catching up with other more established districts in terms of modern cafes. And like a moth to a flame, I was quickly drawn to this classy looking café ever since they’d first put out their signage (and I’m not even kidding folks). They’re located within the Bintang Kubota Commercial Centre, right beside its immediate rival, the Cakes & Co café (way to stir up some competition there huh?).

Like any other modern cafes, they mainly serve anything that has got to do with coffees as well as some staple western dishes and light snacks. As I was there alone during my maiden visit, I’ve decided to try out their Chicken Pasta and a Belgian Chocolate Cake. And because they did not really specify which type of ‘pasta’ that I will be getting (and they did not ask as well), I was crossing my fingers that they did not give me a carbonara dish (since I’m not a fan of the sauce). Fortunately my prayers had been answered and what came out was a bolognese linguine dish with finely shredded chicken. May I just say that I absolutely love the dish even though the portioning might be on the smaller side. Their cake was moist enough and definitely tasted decadent especially when they’d drizzled a generous amount of ganache plus some caramel sauce on top (a bit of an overkill in terms of sweetness but I’m all in when it comes to anything chocolate). But for a place that prided itself on their coffee, I (personally) found their Mocha Latte to be a bit lacklustre.

In addition…

Food – 4/5 (two thumbs up for their food)
Price – 3/5 (very reasonable indeed)
Service – 5/5 (shout out to their female staff for making extra effort in making you feel welcome)
Décor – 4/5 (lovely modern, laid back place)
Location – 4/5 (they’re also on the same row as the Sedap Corner restaurant)

** Current status – Still in operation (as of November 2017) 







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Restoran Rahmat Taman Univilla

Please don’t mind my very Jalan Utara-Sin Onn centred reviews as of late, since I did mentioned before that I lived nearby right? I was hoping to do more reviews on ‘out-of-my-reach’ areas such as Jalan Apas & Balung but the distance can really be discouraging sometimes. But hey, you’ll never know what the future might bring so fingers crossed people! So for now, I’m reviewing a place that is closer to home, which is situated at the single row shop within the Taman Univilla area.

Me and my parents were at the Indian Muslim eatery early in the evening so we decided to stick to whatever that were available and had their Nasi Campur (for my mom, and she said that the taste was acceptable), Nasi Briyani (I opted for their Ayam Masak Kicap instead of its usual pairing and it was surprisingly yummy – tasted sweet and succulent). My dad was not in the mood for anything heavy, so he’d gone for their Roti Canai. Nothing too spectacular but still pretty good according to him. There are also a number of stalls available right at the backside of the restaurant (a good place to hang out especially at night) and one particular stall that stands out is a burger joint called Crayyon Burger. As you can imagine from their name, they sell burgers with ‘unique’ colouring such as bright red, pink and green (according to the crayon colours I presume). I did not have the chance to try them out yet but I will let you guys know the verdict as soon as I did okay.

Next we have…

Food – 3/5 (not disappointing at all)
Price – 3/5 (mid-range)
Service – 4/5 (pretty swift so no worries)
Décor – 3/5 (your typical Indian Muslim restaurant I guess)
Location – 4/5 (they’re also just a few feet from Restoran Maskur 4)

** Current status – Still in operation (as of November 2017)







(Updated on 16/11/2017 - I've recently stopped by the eatery again. This time I made a point of trying the Crayyon Burgers and tastewise, both were commendable)

**Crayyon Beef burger (left) and Crayyon Special Chicken burger (right)

**A close-up of the Crayyon Special Chicken burger



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