Written by @joehairie
Photos by curiostraveller.com
Spice Island @ Sutera Harbour Resort is one of the 100 eateries that is listed in Malaysia Delicious 100 Food 2017-2018
Located on Level 3 in the Sutera Harbour Marina & Country Club, Spice Island is a restaurant that is worth to visit; indulging in their delicious dishes of Malay and Indian origins. Diners will be amazed with its interior’s and exterior’s decoration. One interesting part of this restaurant is their unique ‘Duduk Makan Bersila‘ concept. We came here again, this time with the entire family to savor great dishes of Spice Island.
In our group, only me and @Lan have been to this restaurant. It’s the first for the rest of our group members. Everyone (including the two of us) were super excited to be able to have a great place to spend time together, having sumptuous dinner. Initially, the elders in the group were a bit skeptical as they really thought we’re all about to enter wrong place, as imagined by other average diners.
To read more about the restaurant’s interior and exterior, click HERE (Our previous visit)
With the exception of Club Members, In-House Guests, Royal Families and Dignitaries, the Elites and most discerning Diners in the city; this restaurant is not that well-known by common diners. Perhaps its location in an exclusive or rather secluded area gives that general impression that it is off-limit. A close friend knows about this place but ‘refuse‘ to come as he thought that this place is super-expensive when it comes to prices of food and beverages.
It is that general perception that we want to change; for one obvious reason. Spice Island is a restaurant that serves amazingly delicious Malay and Indian dishes that comes with affordable average price. Surprisingly, the average price is equally the same as other independent restaurants in the city. This is the place to go if one is looking for affordable high quality Malay and Indian dishes; served in 5-star environment.
Spice Island offers two kinds of seating area; the normal dining tables with chairs or Duduk Makan Bersila dining concept. The latter refers to diners being invited to sit on comfy ‘mobile mattress’, mimicking the traditional Malay people custom when having meals. Traditionally, a Malay meal is laid on the floor where guests will be invited to seat on a square piece of cloth called ‘Saprah’. Typically, men will ‘bersila’ (sitting on the floor with their legs crossed), while the ladies will sit ‘bersimpuh’ (folding both legs to one side).
The mattresses on the floor are to ensure guests comfort as the last thing diners need, foot cramps. We were all comfortable sitting (as in bersila and bersimpuh) on that mattresses, from the beginning to the end of our dinner. The eldest in our group, Madam Remimi was not able to bersimpuh. We were impressed with the front staff (Theresa, Faizal, Mohd Taufiq and Sylverance) initiative to go around looking for suitable sofa for her to sit on.
Service started with Theresa making one big round asking each of us of our preferred beverages. All of us opted for fresh juice (Orange and Watermelon). Faizal, Taufiq and Sylverance later came with some unique baskets and inside it were Papadums (thin, crisp, disc-shaped food from the Indian subcontinent). That were meant to be the starter and since we are all Papadum die-hard fans, we emptied every basket! Theresa later explained in details of our course by course dinner (pre-ordered by @Lan).
All four front staff then came again with several plates containing our first Appetizer, Urap Sotong Telur Masin. Generally, urap is a salad dish of steamed vegetables mixed with seasoned and spiced grated coconut for dressing. Spice Island Chef’s elevated the traditional urap by using squid and stuffing all the other elements inside it. Staff helped us to cut each squid and equally divided em’ for each of us.
For future diners benefit; the elements of this particular appetizer consists of Salted Egg, Coconut, Lime Juice, Bird Eye Chilies and Lemon Grass. Priced at RM25.00 per serving, it’s indeed one great appetizer. It made us crave for more as the combination of Squid and Salted Egg was amazingly delicious. It had all that beautiful flavors, sweet, salty, spicy and acidity from the lime juice.
Next came the 2nd appetizer, Murgh Kathi Roll; Grilled Chicken Thigh minced with Green Capsicums, Tomatoes, Chopped Chilies, Coriander Leaves and Cheese wrapped in Pratha Bread. Priced at RM38.00 per serving, this dish is obviously of Indian origin and it was so delicious! While the Urap Sotong Telur Masin was great, Murgh Kathi Roll was even better, heavenly delicious and that Cheese wrapped in Pratha Bread was really something extraordinary in both flavor and texture.
Soon after we finished the 2nd appetizer, we were each served with this beautiful looking dish. It’s put inside a small pot, heated from below using a small candle. We were then briefed by Theresa that it’s a Soup Course named as Soup Kambing Bertutup or in English, Creamy Mutton Soup covered with Naan Garlic. Priced at RM33.00 per serving, it’s one highly recommended dish as it involves a little bit of ‘drama’ or shall we say ‘magic’ when staff unfold the top layer.
It’s creamy of course but not oily and that was a bit surprising, at least for me as its main element is Mutton. It’s cooked with detailed attention that some people won’t even know that it’s about Mutton. Some of us keep having it till the base (while saying, what a nice mushroom soup!) …to that point and it showed how much the Chefs at Spice Island, Sutera Harbour Resort are able to transform dishes into something absolutely delicious even for the most discerning and demanding diners!
Just when both me and @Lan still deeply thinking, admiring that amazing Soup Kambing Bertutup, the rest finished their portion and staff began to serve Naan Lahsun and Kambing Kalimiri. Pardon us for not being able to provide the picture of Kambing Kalimiri on the platter as we were ‘dreaming’ and in thinking mode while staff diligently served that 2 Main Courses! (The soup course was amazingly great that we carelessly forgetting to take photos of that particular Kambing Kalimiri!).
Naan Lahsun is Garlic Naan and is priced at RM15.00 per serving. Each of us was offered choices of Yellow Lenthil, Curry and Pineapple Chutney. (We all opted for all three!). Kambing Kalimiri is about juicy and tender Lamb Rack marinated with Cumin, Coriander Powder, Fennel, Garlic, Bombay Onions, Black Pepper and Fresh Yogurt. The price of Kambing is set at RM56.00 per serving and on the platter are several Lamb Rack. Both dishes were exceptional in presentation, taste and texture.
Next main course was the superb Daging Rendang Minang. This dish is about Northern Malaysian Authentic Dried Tenderloin Beef Stew cooked with Lemon Grass, Turmeric Leaves, Lime Leaves, Galangal and homemade Dried Shredded Coconut. Priced at RM38.00 per serving, this dish requires an astonishing and demanding 4 hours of cooking to get the required texture. This dish was absolutely delicious and we are in fact still craving for more!
Being Asians, we can’t really be separated with rice. Luckily at Spice Island, they serve delicious Nasi Biryani (Basmati Rice cooked with Biryani spice). The Nasi Biryani that we had was light, fluffy and full of flavor. The cashew nuts were crunchy. Raisins were all over on the rice as toppings. All these elements contributed to the mixed flavors of salty, sweet, spices and buttery. What a great rice to go along with the other main dishes!
Then there was this beautiful dish named as Baingan Bartha. It’s grilled and mashed Aubergine (eggplant) cooked with spices and Mustard oil. Priced at RM20.00 per serving, it’s one worthy dish to try especially if you love eggplant as we do. It’s one light main course, not that oily and goes well with any other main courses you choose from the menu.
We were then served with Murgh Makhani. This dish is about Free Range Chicken cooked with Tomatoes, Cashew Nuts and Creamy Fenugreek Sauce. Priced at RM33.00, it is a non spicy dish, perfect for everyone and once you have it, you will want more and more. It’s creamy, tender, boneless, sweet, salty and sour (obviously from the Tomatoes). This dish is highly recommended especially if your diner mates dislikes spicy food.
It’s indeed one spicy dish. The spiciest of all dishes that we had but we absolutely love it. We love fish curry so much! Priced at RM43.00 per serving, it is named as Meen Kuzhambu; a Southern India authentic Fish Curry cooked with Mustard Seeds, Cumin Seeds, Black Pepper and Fresh Coconut Milk. We highly recommend this particular dish to those who can stand that flavor of mild spicy (but heavenly delicious) curry. The fish meat? Sweet, fresh and boneless.
Last but not least main course, equally delicious was this Tandoori Jhinga. Simply put, Prawn Tandoori, something that you don’t want to skip when placing your order at Spice Island, as it’s absolutely, amazingly, heavenly delicious! Priced at RM60.00 per serving, the prawns are big and all that beautiful flavors are inside the prawn. It looks dry on the outside but inside, juicy and tender!
For dessert we were served with this delicious Bubur Cha-Cha Nangka Madu. Priced at RM15.00 per serving, it’s a stew of Sweet Potatoes with Pearl Sago Pudding and Honey Jack Fruit in Coconut Milk. It had the right flavor, neither too sweet nor bland. The texture, creamy and all that potatoes were perfectly cooked. We all emptied our bowls and just when we did that, Theresa came to offer us hot beverages, coffee and tea.
Chef In Charge – Chef Hasmawi
We had the opportunity to meet the humble but knowledgeable Chef Hasmawi who’s in charge of looking after the kitchen operation. He’s assisted by Chef Mohd Syafiq and Chef Jaliah. Born and raised in Wilayah Persekutuan Labuan, Chef Hasmawi is now in his 8th year serving at Sutera Harbour Resort, specifically at Spice Island. Before joining Sutera Harbour, he was working at Istana Hotel, Kuala Lumpur.
According to him, Spice Island concentrates on elevating the dishes of Malay and Indian origins, at times creating fusion dishes to please the palate of discerning diners. He added that Spice Island most famous dishes are Daging Rendang and Kambing Kalimiri. The Kambing Kalimiri itself is elevated into a fusion dish by adding some extra ingredients, making it more presentable and suitable for modern day diners.
From left to right: Mohd Taufiq, Chef Mohd Syafiq, Faizal, Chef Hasmawi, Theresa Paulus (Asst.Outlet Manager), Sylverance and Chef Jaliah.
The Remimi’s Family would like to thank Sutera Harbour Resort (Spice Island Restaurant) for the absolute yum dishes and memorable, outstanding dining experience. We’d like to acknowledge the front staff and Chefs who were so attentive on the evening we visited Spice Island at Sutera Harbour Resort. Together, they prepared and presented beautiful and delicious dishes. These staff are true assets for Sutera Harbour Resort as they are very hard-working, ensuring guests comfort and most importantly work from their heart and soul.
Spice Island @ Sutera Harbour Resort is indeed a perfect place for families and friends to spend time together, having and sharing great foods. Open for public, this restaurant offers free parking for outside visitors (non members/in-house guest). For international visitors, when visiting Spice Island, do try their unique ‘Duduk Makan Bersila’ concept as it is an opportunity for you to learn something new whie dining. This award winning restaurant is worth visiting for its exceptional service as well yum delish foods!
Spice Island have been awarded Malaysia Best Restaurant by Malaysia Tatler in 2016, a fact that shows how much detailed attention is given towards the products of this restaurant. For its high quality Food and the staff outstanding service, curiostraveller.com listed Spice Island in Malaysia Delicious 100 2017-2018. This is the among the best 100 eateries in Malaysia and we certainly have no doubt about that.
Level 3, Sutera Harbour Marina & Country Club
Sutera Harbour Resort
Kota Kinabalu, Sabah
Capacity: 150 persons
Cuisine: Malay and Indian Dishes
Operational Hours: 1830 HRS to 2230 HRS/Daily/Dinners Only
Enquiries/Reservation: (+6) (088) 318 888 ext 8175