Sunday, November 29, 2015

YummY! - Sabah-Western Fusion Food @ Biru Biru Kota Kinabalu

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               Jotaro's Food Review              
Kota Kinabalu, Sabah, Malaysia - November 2015
We were on a cycling bike-packing tour in Sabah, while in Kota Kinabalu we stayed at a hostel accommodations called the Borneo Backpackers. It is a cosy and affordable place with a nice living room, dining room and kitchen facilities. It sits on the first & second floor above another cosy place, a restaurant on the ground floor called Biru Biru. It was only on our last day in Sabah; our last meal in Sabah, in fact, that we tried out the food at Biru Biru. We should have tried it earlier for they served some unique fusion food; one of a blend of Sabahan and Western that came out pretty well.

But even before we ate, we were impressed by the simple and very local themed d├ęcor of the place. Let me show you:
Looking almost Spartan, furnished with simple furniture it gives a homely feeling. Although the place is not air-conditioned, it was surprisingly not hot eventhough the outdoor temperature must have been hitting the high thirties. Unique huge large top-hung lets the air into a high-ceiling dining area.
At one corner is the bar counter painted in their iconic blue (hence the name Biru Biru; which in local Bahasa Malaysia mean Blue Blue). On the shelves are bottles of rice-wine, packaged in the way that hails from colonial White Rajah days.

A closer look at the bottles of rice wine, these is the "LiHing" brand of locally brewed native rice wine, bottled with a paste on sticker that would have them mistaken for bottles of soy sauce until they are opened and the whiff of rice wine comes emanating out.

The decor and furnishing would suggest that the operator is an environmentally go-green person. This is further shown in the exterior furniture along the side corridor; chairs made from old rubber tires sit next to a low coffee-table made from an electric cable drum. On the left of the photo above can be seen the vertical timber slates that are used to close up the place after hours. 

A further example of eco-friendliness - recyclable bamboo straws!

Paintings and old-styled posters decorate the simple white-washed walls.

High above, hanging down from the ceiling were colourful clothe lamps.

One will be forgiven for thinking a couple sitting here were from the Shangha Bund era of the 1930's.

Posted on one of the walls, a useful 3-D rendering of down-town Kota Kinabalu.

The other half of the 3D sketch plan of down-town Kota Kota Kinabalu.

Ok. Enough ramblings about the decor. Back to the food.
The Corn Beef Salted Fish Fried Rice came with a sunny side egg on top. The frying was done well with the individual grains not sticking to each other.

The corned beef had been well mashed up and stirred into the rice; while the salted fish bits were from a pre-fried fish which brought out the distinct fried salted fish aroma. Overall the rice was not oily and, although an odd blend of east and west, it tasted very good.
I would recommend not to miss this dish if dining here.

Desserts was this smooth and good tasting Coconut Ice-cream. Before ordering, I had confirmed with the waiter first that this ice cream was made from santan (coconut cream) and not milk cream. Many a times I had ordered coconut ice-cream only to find out that it was a poor imitation of milk-cream ice cream with coconut shavings thrown in.
This was the real deal, made from thick santan full of the flavour and aroma of coconut.

It was very smooth too, unlike those Thai ones which are less cream and not so smooth making those more like sherbet.

An interesting cocktail to go with the meal, called "Feeling Good", it's a blend of LiHing native rice wine with lychee. It did make me feel good, slightly light-headed but feeling good.
Unlike clear sake, the native rice wine is a bit yellowish.

Their menus, please not that a 10% service charge applies:
The food menu... meaning breakfast, snack, lunch and dinner.

The fushion waffle with gula Melaka, kaya, honey, etc. sounds interesting.

Drinks menu, including fruit coolers. Next round I will want to try the Bunga Kantan with Lychee.
The liquor menu, including interesting cocktails made with Lihing rice wine.

24 Jalan Dewan Kota Kinabalu, Sabah, Malaysia.
Tel: +6011-1412 3490
Hours: 8:00 am-11:30 pm

GPS: 5.983388, 116.077589
(Click here for Google Street View)

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