Written by @joehairie and @Lan
Photos by curiostraveller.com
(UPDATE: CEASED OPERATION)
Further reading: www.tavern.com.my/lobster-nasi-lemak Click this LINK
Starting 1st October, diners in Kota Kinabalu are in for a big surprise as Tavern Kitchen & Bar is introducing its latest menu (first in Malaysia) named as Nasi Lemak Lobster. It’s not that typical Nasi Lemak Lobster as you may find in Tampines, Singapore, as this one is refined for a much better presentation. Its flavors are well thought of by the Chef to please the palate of discerning diners in this city.
Consisting of 7 elements, the Lobster is indeed the main star of the dish. Diners will be amazed to know that they will be served with fresh and high quality Lobster, cooked with heart and soul, with skillful techniques. There are 3 layers inside the Lobster, the melted Parmesan Cheese, Peanut Sambal and the Lobster Meat.
Other elements are the generous, fragrant, delicious Nasi lemak; boiled egg; fried anchovies; fried ground peanuts; sliced Tomato and Cucumber and the mandatory element, Sambal. All elements are cleverly arranged side by side on banana leaf to give great first impression, significantly to indicate its deliciousness.
Diners will not be seeing the usual Sunny Side up eggs as in Tampines Nasi Lemak Lobster. Tavern Kitchen & Bar is not about street food therefore the presentation have been carefully thought of by the Chef. Most importantly, the freshness, flavors and textures of all elements are given equal attention by the Chef in order to give a well-balanced dish to diners.
The Lobster itself is of exactly 400 grams in weight before being cooked. That alone shows how much attention is given to every little tiny details prior to the cooking process. The rich and generous melted Parmesan Cheese is already one alluring element, bringing this entire dish to a whole new level as in the inside; it is accompanied by another layer of Peanut Sambal.
We had the opportunity to savor this dish. The Lobster’s meat was amazingly tender and easily peeled off from the shell, suggesting its freshness and not being overly cooked. The meat tasted naturally sweet and the flavor enhanced as we go along due to the presence of melted Parmesan Cheese and Peanut Sambal.
It’s indeed one great combination. Who would have thought that Cheese and Peanut (as in Sambal) could go perfectly together in pleasing diner’s palate? It’s one clever thought, surpassing the original idea in the Tampines Nasi Lemak Lobster. The rice itself was heavenly delicious, fluffy and went well with the Sambal.
It is indeed one worthy dish to try and take note that this is not a year-round menu. It’s not available every day throughout the year so make sure you head to Tavern Kitchen & Bar to savor this unique Nasi Lemak Lobster before it ‘disappear’ from the menu. Currently, the promotion price of this dish is set at RM49++* (before tax) and at such affordable price, diners will get the best flavors while consuming it.
We love the Sambal so much as it really complemented the other elements on the plate. It’s in between of sweet and salty, with quite thick but pleasant texture and a bit spicy. It’s totally different from that traditional Nasi Lemak’s Sambal which is reddish in color. This one is a bit dark brown and you will surely be thinking of asking for more Sambal! It’s one amazing, heavenly delicious Sambal!
The Anchovies and Ground Peanuts were perfectly fried and both were so crunchy that we wish we had endless supplies. Overall, this particular Nasi Lemak Lobster is of the best dishes that we have ever had this year. It’s unique as you will not be able to find it anywhere else in this city. It’s much better than what we had in Tampines, Singapore; in terms of presentation, flavors, texture and even price! There is no need to travel all the way to that place now as it is available, right here in Kota Kinabalu.
Diners will be in for another surprise as those who opt for Nasi Lemak Lobster will be offered 2 special add-on dishes. Both dishes are optional and are offered at amazing unbeatable prices. The Tiger Prawn is set at RM49++ per dish while the Giant Squid, RM38++ per dish. Those opting for other dishes in the menu (other than Nasi Lemak Lobster) are not eligible to purchase these add-ons. Prior to cooking, the Chef will ensure that the weight is 500 grams for the Tiger Prawns and 400 grams for the Giant Squid.
Both dishes are grilled perfectly and coat with sauces of your choice. There are 3 types, namely; Sambal (Dark in color- similar to the original Sambal offered in Nasi Lemak Lobster), Peanut Sambal (as in the second layer of the inner Lobster and tasted similar to the sauce for Satay) and White Sauce (Bechamel) which is specially catered for those with Western palate. While all three sauces are great, we personally love the Sambal as it went well with the texture of both dishes.
Giant Squid (Add-on: RM38++*)
The perfectly grilled Giant Squid (RM38++ per dish*) is beautifully presented on smoked banana leaf and accompanied with pickled vegetables (Carrot, cucumber and cauliflower). We savored this dish as well and the pickles gave that needed acidity to the sweetness of the Sambal. The texture of the Giant Squid was acceptable, not chewy and it tasted delicious as the Sambal’s flavor really penetrated into the meat.
Though the Giant Squid was a bit charred (which is great!) on the outside, it’s juicy inside and that pretty much gave that moist to the meat, eliminating the need to chew it hardly. It is a dish that is worth trying as it is full of flavors and textures, simply put, delicious.
Tiger Prawns (Add-on: RM49++*)
The Tiger Prawns (RM49++ per dish*) is amazing in taste, it’s originally sweet and the flavor; being further enhanced with the delicious Sambal. We savored this dish as well and on on the plate were two beautiful grilled Tiger Prawns. Both were huge in size. It’s not overcooked as it was easy to separate the meat from the shell. This Tiger Prawns are served with Pickled Vegetables as well and that gave contrast to the sweetness flavor.
Another unique feature of this dish is the presence of Tuhau. Tuhau is is a Sabahan Kadazandusun delicacy made from wild ginger. Prepared from the shoots of the ginger-like species Etlingera coccinea, the tuhau is diced into tiny pieces, and stuffed into the prawns.
Tuhau is a popular local appetizer, served pickled and consumed with white rice. Available all year round in most tamu markets or vegetable markets all across Sabah, the tuhau is pickled, made into spicy sambal tuhau, or turned into dried serunding tuhau.
Tuhau gives that extra pungent taste, in a pleasant way. It’s finely chopped and evenly spread inside the Prawns. Overall, it’s not that really strong in taste, in the sense that those who are not Tuhau fans will be fascinated by its suitability to any kind of proteins.
Overall, there are three strong but great flavors in this dish; produced by Sambal, Tuhau and Pickled Vegetables. Though these 3 elements are different in texture, taste and looks, they are actually one perfect combination, giving you that sweet, salty, pungent, spicy and acidity; all playing on your tongue, pleasing your palate.
This dish particularly described Sabah in a way, as Sabah itself is famously known as seafood paradise. Tuhau is a produce of Sabah. Incorporating seafood (Tiger Prawns) with Tuhau is one way for people to get up close and personal with Sabah unique characteristics.
Nasi Lemak Lobster (Only 30 plates are available daily) and its add-ons (Tiger Prawns/Giant Squid) are available for limited time at:
TAVERN KITCHEN & BAR
Lot G-93, Aramaiti Street Walk IMAGO Shopping Mall, KK Times Square Phase 2, Jalan Coastal, 88100 Kota Kinabalu, Sabah, Malaysia
(Tavern is located same row as Starbucks on the ground floor of Imago Mall)
Phone: (+6) 012 586 0093 (Enquiries/Reservation)
Website: www.tavern.com.my (LINK)
Facebook: @tavernkk (LINK)
Twitter: @tavernkk (LINK)
*Promotional price for limited time (until further notice by Tavern Kitchen & Bar). Free unlimited Ice Cream when you order any drink.
Nasi Lemak Lobster