Leila and Lily are going back to China for good, after spending 3 years studying in Sabah. I am sad to see them go, but I also have to accept the fact that China now holds more promise than ever before. The girls love it here, "because of the people and the relaxed lifestyle," they said, wiping away tears. It's hard to say good bye again--last Friday it was Ming, now these two girls, and in December my friend Linda and family will also go, to live in Melbourne. I am feeling like the last person left at the train station. One thing I am happy about is that both Leila and Lily became Christians while here.
F and I decided to take them somewhere special, and I chose Coast, the restaurant with the best ambience and decor in KK I think. They had a baby grand and a beautiful singer the last time and the food was good too on the 2 or 3 occasions I have eaten there. I haven't been there in a while. It is a long 45 minutes drive from the city, but as the Swiss lady seated next table to us said, it is truly beautiful and quiet out there at Shangri La's Rasa Ria Resort at Dalit Bay, Tuaran. She had a choice of Hong Kong or Bangkok or Penang and she's very happy she chose KK.
Coast, a Californian-style restaurant, has been awarded many restaurant and tourism awards over the years. Despite that, not many locals go there because it is out of town and the prices are steep. However, don't think they are begging for diners. It was a good thing I booked a table because the place was packed, mostly with Korean and Australian tourists. I think it was partly because the rain discouraged the hotel guests from going out, and also Naan, that lovely Indian restaurant in the hotel, was closed for renovation.
Assortment of bread, on the house.
This was the first sign of trouble. While the bread was as good as most major hotel's, the pesto sauce was flavorless. I asked what pesto it was, but the waitress didn't seem to understand.
Cream of mushroom RM10++/US$2.80++.
I had very conservative dining friends. They unanimously went for mushroom soup; I wanted seafood chowder or bouillabaisse. I remembered they had kids' menu the last time I was there, and the waiter surprisingly said we could order from that menu even though there wasn't any kid with us. The cream of mushroom was RM36/US$10.20 (I think) on the regular menu and only RM10/US$2.80 on the children's menu, so we each had that. The only thing though was the soup came in cartoony plastic plates. Which was okay by me, but the soup was the worst soup I've tasted in a long time. It was thin, and it tasted and looked like they'd been keeping it boiling on the stove all night--oil bubbles speckled the soup. But worst than that, the shiitake mushrooms tasted bitter. I am so glad we didn't pay nearly 4 times for a refined bowl of the same soup.
Cod with saffron linguine, RM80++/US$23++
Both F and Leila opted for this dish. I had a taste and the cod was disappointingly bland while the linguine was too soft and oily. What has happened to Coast?? Maybe my friends should have ordered Catch of The Day, sea bass, which the Swiss lady said was very good and which a couple on my left also had.
Chicken breast stuffed with couscous and doused with beurre blanc creme (white butter cream), RM70++/US$20++.
I never order chicken in western restaurants, because I don't like chicken breast, which always turn out dry, but lately I've had too much beef and also, the last time I was at Coast, the steak was served with a small piece of foie gras, which was heavenly, but now they don't do that anymore. Again, this was disappointing--whatever flavor there was just didn't please and it was a drag having to eat it. I also never liked couscous--and this dish confirmed it for me--it's just too fine on the tongue.
Duck breast, RM80++/US$23++.
Lily's pick was the best of the mains and there was a surprise tucked beneath the strips of veg--foie gras. Still, I think it could've been better if she had allowed them to slightly undercook the duck.
Baked potatoes, RM20++/US$5.70++
This was ridiculous, two so-so tasting potatoes, the size of my fist, with a hardened crust of cheddar and bacon bits for that price.
Mashed potatoes with rosemary and truffle oil, RM18++/US$5++
This was quite good because the rosemary and truffle oil went well together (if any restaurant can't even do mash, they better close down) but the portion was only about 5 spoonfuls.
The bar at Coast, after everyone had left. I finally figured out at this point that in this lighting the party mode on my camera was most suitable. See the difference?
The bill totalled RM320/US$91 for the 4 of us, which was surprisingly reasonable for Coast but that was because I used my Trio card which took 20% off the bill. Also, we didn't have any drinks but hot water because it was a cold and rainy night, nor wine because I was the only one who drink but I had to drive.
We decided that we wouldn't risk dessert there (I don't think that I'll go there again for a long long time) and opted for durians in Foh San. Btw, I was in Foh San 2 nights ago and one truck had one precious 'red prawn' durian. I called Ming in Melbourne to taunt him. However, the durian seller said the red prawn durians don't grow so well here and he didn't recommend it.
On the way home, we passed the durian stalls near Yayasan Sabah and decided to eat there just in case the stalls in Foh San were closed (it was drizzling and around 11 pm). Big big mistake. The durians were lousy (wet and too light in flavor), I am sure the scale was faulty (the two durians weighing 3 kg were much smaller than the two 3 kgs of yummy durians I had in Foh San), the fella charged me RM18/US$5 per kg even though I had bargained for RM15/US$4.30 and he proceeded to open the durians without saying no, and he was hitting on me (must've been too dark there) and Leila! We gobbled the durians (Leila and Lily love durians, my influence) and scooted, keeping an eye on the rear view mirror.