Saturday, 19 May 2012

Day 2 - Out and About

Day 2 in Kota Kinabalu

Hubby and I woke up around 8-ish in the morning, got out of the hotel an hour later and decided to take a stroll to look for somewhere to have our brunch. It is quite hard to find a restaurant or a place to eat which would suit both our taste buds (not to mention our very tight budget). We walked for about 10 minutes and found a Chinese "canteen-type" or "turo-turo"  kind of cafeteria. The cafe is called Five Star Hainanese Chicken Rice and BBQ Pork. A Chinese man (probably around his 40's) was by the entrance and he smiled at us. He was trying to tell me something in Chinese (Bahasa Malaysia or Mandarin perhaps). He probably thought I am Chinese which a lot of foreign people think I am from the very first moment they see me. I just smiled back at him as he showed us to our seats. I told Vic this one would probably be a lot better than the last restaurant we ate dinner at. One is because it's Chinese and their cuisine is 80% similar to what Filipinos cook and eat back home. Second is I am more familiar (well both of us are) with Chinese food. Their menu, like any other simple cafeteria, is posted on the walls. Some have pictures so you know what you're ordering, I guess they are the best sellers of the bunch. Vic decided to go with Roasted Duck with Rice and I opted for something called Claypot Yee Mee. I asked the Chinese guy (he was also waiting tables and cooking and preparing the dishes) if this is similar to congee and he nodded. There were a variety of drinks to choose from. Fruit juices and teas aplenty but we chose black jelly with milk on ice. It took about 10-15 minutes for the food to be served. It is hot and you can even see them prepare the food in front of you, so you know it is not something that they just re-heated. I also believe the owner is the same man who greeted us, sat us down and waited on our table plus prepared our food. I was telling this to my husband as most Chinese business owners are like that. They want to be hands on with everything so they know that all goes well. I must say I loved the dish! Although I thought mine would be like rice porridge (congee) with meatballs and egg on top but it was actually quick fried noodles which was very tasty and very filling. I must say I would eat that again if I go back there. Vic liked his too and it was a surprise to see him eat rice like at 10 am in the morning. So brunch was good and it was value for money since they didn't charge us any service charge or government tax unlike the last restaurant we ate at. It probably is included in the price declared on their menu board.

My brunch is called Claypot Yee Mee and we ordered black jelly with milk for our drinks

Vic's brunch - Roasted duck with rice and free soup
We both decided to continue our stroll around the city centre which is where our hotel is. We made our way to the KK Esplanade. It's a nice place overlooking the sea. There were loads of people there the previous night, all were taking pictures of themselves by the dolphin statue. There was a nice breeze that morning but the weather is just as warm as back in the Philippines.

On our way to the KK Esplanade

Fishing boats
I absolutely adore this dolphin

Oops... thought they were a bit more disciplined than that

Hubby found this keychain by the edge of the walkway

Upon reaching the other side of the walkway of the KK Esplanade, we found ourselves standing in front of the mall. Upon entering I saw this sign below.
No pork. Aww...

This shop tickled me LOL

Brand new clothes on display as oppose to the shop's name
 Hubby and I were tired after our long walk so we decided to go and have a drink at the food court and we loved the view from the top.
Cooling off outside the food court overlooking the port area

A police ferry boat

 The mall's entrance
After roaming around the mall, which was surprisingly not as crowded as the malls in the Philippines, we decided to go and have some of our pesos changed to ringgit. We asked the hotel staff if there is a nearby beach resort around the city centre and they just shook their heads. Most beaches are out in the nearby islands. Sadly we really can't afford to go island hopping so we thought of watching a movie instead. The same mall has eight floors apparently and we missed the higher floors, we thought they just had 5 floors. So we went straight to the 8th floor where the cinemas are and bought tickets to watch The Avengers movie in 3D. We haven't had lunch yet so we scouted the mall for somewhere to have a decent meal at. Vic asked the lady by the "pay toilet" (you have to pay 30 sen to use the mall's loo) where the best restaurant is in the mall. She told us to go on the ground floor and find UpperStar. Upon entering this cool bistro, we were mesmerized by the brilliantly decorated walls. There were loads and loads of frames with paintings and also the ceiling. One wall (by the right side of Vic) had a very cool wall decor with the famous painting called "The Creation of Adam". They also had desktops in some of the tables where you can surf the internet for free while enjoying your food. We ordered pasta - hubby has chosen pasta carbonara and mine was penne with chicken in tomato sauce. It was one of the best we ever ate! The penne was tender and though the chicken was chopped (not minced/ground) it was delish! Not only is the food great and the ambiance amazing, the service was flawless too. The waiters were polite and they are always there to attend to your requests. I would definitely recommend this restaurant to everyone who will visit Kota Kinabalu.

The nice wall decor inspired by the painting The Creation of Adam

Posh and Victorian-like look of the interior of the restaurant behind me

Look at the very nice painting on the ceiling. Lovely innit?

UpperStar's Pasta Carbonara and Chicken Penne

We left there as very satisfied customers and our tummies full. The elevator took us straight to the movie theatre again. The cinema was pretty clean and there weren't a lot of people who watched our chosen flick. Maybe it's because it's already been almost a month since it was released into theatres worldwide. Dolby was the provider of their 3D movies. To be quite truthful it was of good quality, I mean the 3D effect was really cool. The seats of the cinema was very comfy that Vic even fell asleep during the first bit. As for the movie, a review will be made after I have finished blogging our escapades in Malaysia.

About one hour was spent to chillax in our hotel room after watching The Avengers. We thought it's best to stretch our legs out first before thinking about where to have dinner. I suggested that we eat at either Burger King or KFC since they are both cheaper and we don't need to wait that long to eat our meal. As we were about to go out of the hotel, it started to rain. So that made us rethink again where to dine in. Luckily there's an attractive looking joint called Rainforest Restaurant about a 5 minute walk away from the hotel on covered paths. So we sat ourselves in and decided to choose what to have.

Enjoying the ambiance of the resto

Posing beside the tree trunk
After poring over the menu and making inquiries about which is which and what is what, we decided to both have Tom Yum soup and Lemon Fried Chicken with Rice and Shepherd's Pie.
He's going to sneeze! Not really... It's because the soup is very spicy

My dinner which is Lemon Fried Chicken with Rice

Vic had their own version of Shepherd's pie
Tom Yum soup was delicious although it is very hot and spicy! As you can see the evidence in Vic's face, it looked as if he's going to breathe fire. I managed to eat all the meat and veggies in the soup but I gave up on half of the broth. My main entree was Lemon Chicken with Rice. It was nice but it lacked salt. We had to wait for quite some time for his main to be served. I was almost finished when they gave him his meal. He was just curious that's why he ordered their own take on Shepherd's Pie. Vic said the meat is chunky not minced/ground and they probably used some spices because the sauce is a bit red. The mashed potatoes according to him were okay but he doesn't understand why there are a few slices of olives on top of the cheese. It was served in a deep bowl as you can see in the picture above but it only filled half of the dish (not even half I think). Service wise, they are good. The servers are polite and very apologetic for the delay in Vic's meal.

On our way out, Vic overheard loud music being played next to the restaurant. We found this bar with a DJ playing modern dance hits so we sat down and listened while I ordered for a dessert. I tried their mango pudding which is quite nice actually and surprisingly not too sweet. Vic loves disco music and this one was similar to what he digs. We didn't stay that long because we need to hit the sack not later than midnight as we have a long day tomorrow. For party goers/bar hoppers or even the disco fanatics, this one is spot on for you. They don't just serve alcoholic drinks, they have a wide variety of meals and finger food to choose from when one is hungry and just wanted to listen to some dance tunes.

 Walking towards our hotel, I spotted something bright and glowing by the roundabout. I pointed it to Vic and I quickly grabbed my camera to take a picture of it. We thought we lost it as it turned right but then it went back and we were shocked that he was coming towards us. I'm talking about a bicycle glammed up with different types of lights that you cannot miss at night. See picture below for further details. I couldn't help but stop him in his tracks and asked him to please have his photo taken (along with his cool bike) with Vic. Hubby said it reminded him of the double bicycle in MIB 2.

Coolest bike I've seen so far

Vic and the owner of the MIB 2-looking bicycle
That was a good day. I know we missed the ocean and the beach but there were other things to do aside from swimming. That was the end of our 2nd day in Kota Kinabalu and the last day of our adventure.

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