Sunday, August 3, 2008

Grand Port View Restaurant

W came back from Canada for a visit and V thoughtfully made reservations at Grand Port View Restaurant (GPVR) because "those living overseas are deprived of really good seafood." I had my doubts about GPVR but didn't want to always impose my decisions on others.


We started with a hot and sour soup that I couldn't even finish. Too thick and gooey and not particularily tasty.


The simple fried choy sum (mustard greens) was good.


Boiled grass prawns.

When we complained that the dish was adulterated with sand prawns or what we call 'hard-shell prawns' (the ones with the lighter shell in the pic; they are cheap prawns although I like them for their springier/crunchier meat compared to other types of ocean prawns), the waitress said that they mix the two because some people like it that way but if we don't like that, they can replace the sand prawns. Well, hello, we aren't stupid, and we don't want to pay the higher price and get cheaper prawns. This is the first time I've encountered this. They must've gotten away with it many times as most people probably didn't notice the mixture. They did appease us by giving an extra small plate of grass prawns.

Whenever I eat grass prawns, I always struggle with this conundrum: should I eat grass prawns which are farmed and feed on antibiotics and other chemicals, but are so sweet, fresh, juicy and springy or should I stick to sea prawns which are less contaminated but half-rotted, bland and soft? In short, should I go for taste or for health? Isn't that always a culinary struggle?


I love clams and these ones, cooked with ginger and spring onions, were good. But do you, like me, feel that you are paying for the shells mostly whenever you order clams? There's so little meat I always end up eating all the ginger slices and spring onions.

My theory is that clams need cool waters to grow plump and juicy, like the ones I dug in Puget Sound, USA. Here in Sabah, they usually disappoint because the shells are thick and heavy but the meat is tiny and tough.


Steamed scallops. Now here's another mollusk that needs a bath of cool water to encourage it to grow big and thick. Our local scallops are always so thin there's not much bite.


This is what grows best in Sabah waters, the garoupa. V had chosen the fish from the tank, so how can a live fish taste so frozen? It tasted okay for frozen fish but definitely I'd expect a live fish to taste sweeter, smoother, finer and fresher. Makes me wonder what we can do to 'mark' our fish because live fish prices are 3 to 4times higher than frozen fish.

I wasn't going to do this post because I was disappointed in the taste of the food and the dubious prawns and fish dishes we had. But quite a few people confuse GPVR with Port View Restaurant, and I feel I must point out that they are very different. Port View Res. is one of the better seafood restaurants in KK (although recently their standards have dropped) but that also means it is one of the most expensive. So be warned, GPVR and Port View aren't one and same.


Johnathan said...

Hi Terri, its hard to believe that restaurant actually did that kinda thing. I would've complaint so hard that they decided to give me a free meal (I can be a genuine hardcore jerk hahaha). Anyway, there was once we had lunch at JUMBO seafood restaurant and we ordered the brocolli with scallop and found a caterpillar in the brocolli (usual case) and we notified the captain, who later gave us a complimentary plate of fried scallop wrapped in yam cake (large plate).

Clams... I never will order this dish as like you, yeah, no meat, no point.

Nowadays with fish farms, it is pretty disappointing to have fishes in restaurants (even though they are fresh from the tank) as they just doesnt taste near to those fished from the ocean or bought from the wet market (Pasar). What more in KK, I would expect top grade fishes good enough even for sashimi. Maybe the reason why I am picky on fishes is due to the curse of having fresh fishes from the sea since young (my dad is a fisherman/businessman).

TeaLady said...

Hi Terri. Great Pics. I enjoy seeing your restaurant reviews even tho I will never make it to your neck of the woods. Keep up the good work.

Terri @ A Daily Obsession said...

johnathan; oh i think u r right to complain if something's not right. i always complain if smthing's wrong with my food (n my boys will beg me not to; they say i'm embarassing n they feel sorry for the ppl bc i can be quite stubborn. smthing i learnt frm my MIL bc my own mother will NEVER complain). the restaurants here have a small town mentality; they will try their best to get out of the situation. customer's satisfaction is not their motto.

tealady:thanks margaret u r so sweet. 'neck of the woods' is exactly what it is here :)

Precious Pea said...

Where is this grand port view place? Not the same as the one i had right? Perhaps they swapped the fresh garoupa with a frozen one once it entered the kitchen??

terri@adailyobsession said...

pp: no, this is not where u had dinner. GPVR is diagonally opposite from Jesselton Point, towards the north of the city, at the old wharf. i suspected tt too. a live fish shd taste every sen u paid for. Port View where u had dinner cooks the best steamed fish in town. yummy, but reputedly to also 'cut throat'. at least 2 ppl have told me they paid RM600 per fish bc they had not asked the price. always ask the price first!

"Joe" who is constantly craving said...

my hk fren once told me..even if it is swimming in the tank, it doesnt equal old it is..whether it is abt to die..all plays a part in the texture and sweetness of the fish..

Terri @ A Daily Obsession said...

joe: yes, i'm thinking along those lines too. i think if tt fish was really live, then it must've been in the tank for so long it has lost its sweetness...

Jonathan Chee said...

I think every time i go back to KK, my parents have already given up on both of these restaurants, instead we go to this seafood restaurant somewhere in Inanam... I forgot the name! But it tastes good and the price is reasonable! However, Port View still in my opinion serves the best steamed fishes.... Yum *drools*

I find it really sad though, and it doesn't apply for only port view and GPVR, a lot of the restaurants in KK has dropped in standard but the price is raised astronomically high! If they want to increase the price FINE but at least keep the standard there don't you agree? *heaves a deeeeep sigh*

Thean said...

My experience recently at Grand Port View Seafood restaurant was short and unpleasant. We wanted to order mud crabs but they had none. Their garoupas were not very healthy looking in the fish tank, had some rotting skin disease with red wounds. Above all the captain was unfriendly and rude. We were a table of 12 and decided for another restaurant.

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