Written by @Lan (Photos by curiostraveller.com)
Thought of the day-“I love food, I love eating.”-Robin Gibb
We both love seafood and we recently had this opportunity to visit Kampung Nelayan Seafood restaurant. There’s nothing else to do there, of course, other than to enjoy the delicious food served by the talented Chefs. Kampung Nelayan Seafood Restaurant is located about 8.3 KM from Kota Kinabalu City Center. There are 2 main dining areas here namely the Main/Common Dining Hall and the Puteri VIP Rooms. In the main/common Dining Hall, customers are to choose either having that ala carte servings or to indulge in their generous Buffet BBQ Steamboat. We had both and for the ala carte, we had it in our comfy Puteri VIP Room, with full privacy, away from the crowd!
According to Kampung Nelayan Seafood Restaurant’s official Facebook page (LINK):
At night, the magic happens and the restaurant is transformed into a full blown Ala-carte Seafood Restaurant. Our Valued Guests get to experience dining in the ambiance of Kota Kinabalu’s only lakeside floating seafood restaurant that is anchored within a Botanical Park while being entertained by our “Sabah Cultural And Variety Show” performed nightly by professionals on our floating stage.
While we do enjoy being in the crowd, looking at merrier things around, we do at times want to have some privacy while dining. For that reason, we’re booked on a sumptuous ala carte dinner, something that we will cherish forever as the experience was amazing.
There is a stage at the front of the dining hall where customers get to see the cultural performance in the evening, while enjoying their meals. To the right of that stage is one building mimicking a ship, sort of, as if it’s floating. In that ‘ship‘ are the VIP rooms and our private dining room is located inside it.
Getting to the building that looks like a ship is easy. From the main/common dining hall, there is a walkway, again, it’s mimicking a bridge as if it connects the ship to the main building. The ambiance and decorations around the restaurant might seem to be outdated but there are plans to upgrade or change things here and there in the near future.
The building that resembles a ship consists of 3 private rooms. The first one is a bigger VIP room that is good for 40 pax inside it. The big private room itself can be divided into 4 individual rooms that is able to accommodate 10 pax. The room is of course air conditioned complete with TV sets and Karaoke! This a great place for large group to have sumptuous seafood spread while entertaining, singing as you please. A staff informed us that several Formal Presentation were held in this big VIP room as well.
Opting for the VIP rooms means that customers need to choose from the fixed menu that range from RM800 to RM1,100. These prices are much higher than the same Open Market Set Menu as privacy is ensured to VIP customers (Menu is attached to the very end of this post).
The biggest VIP room has got to be Room 88. It comes with not only the Karaoke and air-condition, private washroom and comfy sofas are available as well! It is kind of dining in luxury here, with privacy intact, away from the ‘chaotic’ scenes at the Main/Common dining hall. We love this room very much and are thinking of organizing small dinner party in the near future.
The wood structure and curves at both ends of the ‘ship‘ gives that wild imagination as we did feel like being in a real moving ship (of olden days). The nature , lake and greens, surrounding the ‘ship’ gave that calmness and tranquil. It made us speechless that very moment when we sensed the tranquility, opening up our palate. A staff was assigned to look after us and she indicated that its time for dinner!
For our dinner, we chose to have Sapak/Lala cooked in Kam Hiong style, fried Prawn with cereal and salted egg yolk, Crab with chili sauce and Grouper cooked Thai Style topped with sliced green mango. All 4 were amazingly delicious and cooked to perfection. The dishes were of fresh seafood, freshly ‘captured’ from the aquarium, cleaned and cooked. Decorations were simple but nice.
The Sapak/Lala had fresh meat and it really went well with the thick dark-brown sauce. It had all that salty, sweet and spicy (well, a little bit) taste. The meat was easy to be pulled out from the shell, one simple pressure using the fork and off it came out. It’s nice to have this type of seafood cooked in Kam Hiong (Golden Fragrance) style as it enhanced the meat flavor thanks to the presence of curry powder, dried shrimps, shallots and garlic.
The Crab was delicious. It’s fried and added with some chili sauce during the cooking process. The meat was of big size and it was easy to separate it from the crab’s hard shell. The openings were meant not only to make it easier for customers to ‘go through inside‘ in getting the meat, it’s also to enable the Chili Sauce flavor blended well with crab’s meat.
We love salted egg yolk and tit’s amazing to know that it’s been integrated with the prawn, adding some cereal to thicken the sauce. All that nice salty and sweet flavor were inside and outside the prawns. It’s definitely tasty and finger licking dish, yes I literally licked the head of each prawns I had, might be messy but that’s how I had it. It’s creamy as well and the entire thing went well with the white rice.
The Grouper that was cooked in Thai Style with sliced young Mango was our favorite. The sauce that is part of Thai Chili Sauce was sweet, salty and tangy at the same time as it’s been infused with extract from Pineapple thus giving that sourish taste as well. The meat of the dish was fresh and sweet. The texture was tender in the inside while the skin was crispy. We had it little by little, combining the sauce, meat and white rice altogether. It’s heaven food, amazingly delicious.
Wonder where our seafood came from? At the front of the restaurant is a long display of seafood. There are plenty choices from fish to prawn, crab to sea snails and many more. If you choose to dine according to the menu, you do not need to choose as certain type of seafood has been determined beforehand. However, should you feel like having something else, this is the place to go.
All you need to do is choose the type of seafood that you want. There is a big display above in regard to price and how it may look like after being cooked. The staffs at the display station will help you in giving guidance. Sapak/Lala, Tung Fung Lo as well as oysters are available as well. For each item, there will be a price display next to it so that you will be able to tailor your order according to your budget.
Your preferred seafood items will then be weight by a staff and he or she will then ask for your cooking preference. If you are not sure, then simply ask for advice. Remember, there is no need to go through this process if you are to select the from the menu. However, there is no harm in looking around, if you are curious to see the fresh seafood here.
We were lucky as one staff insisted to show us how he ‘catch’ the lobster from inside the aquarium. He did that in less than 30 seconds. He’s indeed a pretty well trained staff. There is also wide selections of greens/vegetables. All you need to do is to choose your preference and tell the staff how you want it to be cooked. The prices are clearly shown and that will help you in rounding your total budget.
We attached the details of the Set Menu as well as other information below, hope that will help you in making your final decision before coming. For us, the visit was an amazing one, we had great dining experience in the Puteri VIP room, The dishes were extremely delicious. Staffs were friendly, polite, smiled genuinely and incredibly attentive. Our culinary journey did not stop here as our curiosity grew bigger in that Buffet BBQ Steamboat. We decided to have that as well. We will publish our experience in having that Buufet BBQ Steamboat in the following post.
Craving for the same experience? Head to:
Kampung Nelayan Seafood Restaurant
Jalan Kolam, Bukit Padang
88790 Kota Kinabalu
Tel (Restaurant): + 60 88 231003 or + 60 88 266667
Tel (Office): + 60 269991