The lat­est menu of­fer­ings at the re­cently re­fur­bished Feast Vil­lage and Fish­er­man’s Cove at Gaya Is­land Re­sort

YTL Life - - Contents - Words RENYI LIM

East Malaysian del­i­ca­cies and just- caught seafood are just some of the high­lights at the re­vamped Feast Vil­lage and Fish­er­man’s Cove — two of Gaya Is­land Re­sort’s culi­nary des­ti­na­tions.

As any­one with a vo­ra­cious ap­petite for ex­plo­ration will agree, get­ting to know a new land is never just about see­ing and do­ing — it is also about tast­ing. Ex­otic, un­fa­mil­iar flavours can un­earth a whole new way of ap­pre­ci­at­ing the lo­cale you’ve ar­rived in ( or even re­turned to), and this is cer­tainly true of Gaya Is­land Re­sort’s din­ing ex­pe­ri­ences.

The sheer va­ri­ety of cuisines on of­fer at Feast Vil­lage — usu­ally ev­ery guest’s first port of call at the re­sort — goes far in terms of high­light­ing Malaysia’s di­verse food cul­ture. The res­tau­rant’s laid- back, soak- in- the- sun­light am­bi­ence serves as a clever coun­ter­point to its lively in­ter­na­tional open- kitchen con­cept, where dif­fer­ent coun­ters of­fer Asian and Western dishes. The res­tau­rant’s newly re­freshed in­te­ri­ors are bright and wel­com­ing, trans­form­ing the space with mod­ernist flo­ral and bam­boo- tiled mo­tifs, gleam­ing wooden pan­elling and com­fort­able cream- coloured chairs, earthy brown seats and punchy lime cush­ions.

An en­joy­ably in­ter­ac­tive ex­pe­ri­ence is very much part of the Feast Vil­lage ex­pe­ri­ence,

ex­tend­ing to break­fast, lunch and din­ner. In the morn­ings, din­ers have op­tions of tast­ing items from the noo­dle and pan­cake sta­tions. Even or­der­ing a la carte de­liv­ers its own sort of fun in the form of grill- it- your­self beef or chicken sa­tay, both of which ar­rive over smok­ing char­coal with peanut sauce, made from the chef’s spe­cial recipe, and cubed white rice cakes.

There are am­ple op­por­tu­ni­ties to try dishes that can’t be found in other parts of the world, like Tuaran mee — springy egg noo­dles said to be the favourite com­fort food of Saba­hans, made in the vil­lage of Tuaran. The same goes for the nasi goreng Gaya, which con­sists of lo­cal- style fried rice with fish crack­ers, pineap­ple salad and fried chicken, as well as sa­tay pizza, topped with bite- sized morsels of ten­der chicken and mer­ci­lessly spicy slices of fresh chilli. On the rooftop of Feast Vil­lage is Fish­er­man’s Cove, which spe­cialises in lo­cally sourced seafood. A re­cent de­sign ad­di­tion is a trans­par­ent roof on the out­door deck area that pro­vides, on nights when skies are clear, star­lit din­ing ex­pe­ri­ences.

Here, be­sides a daily ro­ta­tion of chef’s spe­cials, din­ers can also en­joy ex­tra­or­di­nary views of Mount Kin­a­balu. Amid white table­cloths, ex­quis­ite table­ware and a gen­tle breeze that sweeps in from the ocean, din­ers can have their fill of man­grove crab­meat tarts, an umami med­ley of ma­rine crys­tal white prawns, squid, clams and cock­les scented with aro­matic na­tive herbs, and slen­der strands of spaghetti en­twined with Frutti de Mare or fruits of the sea.

A large part of the ap­peal of Fish­er­man’s Cove is its com­mit­ment to serv­ing line- caught, re­spon­si­bly sourced seafood in sup­port of sus­tain­able fish­ing prac­tices. The Catch of the Day se­lec­tion ranges from tiger prawns to fish found in lo­cal wa­ters such as co­ral trout, garoupa or red snap­per, de­pend­ing on what the seas around Sabah have gifted to fish­er­men that morn­ing. Guests are en­tirely in con­trol of how they’d pre­fer their fish pre­pared. For in­stance, broiled with sea salt or steam­ing gen­tly in a nu­tri­tious soy broth.

Cu­ri­ous din­ers might want to go with a wholly East Malaysian style of cook­ing, where the fish is pan- fried and topped with Bor­neo sam­bal — a heady mix­ture of onions, shal­lots, lemon­grass, galan­gal and the un­mis­tak­able pun­gency of bela­can shrimp paste, served with a por­tion of steamed red rice grown in the un­du­lat­ing high­lands of Ranau. It is just the sort of dish that will have you long­ing for Gaya Is­land Re­sort long after you’ve left.

AS ANY­ONE WITH A VO­RA­CIOUS AP­PETITE FOR EX­PLO­RATION WILL AGREE, GET­TING TO KNOW A NEW LAND IS NEVER JUST ABOUT SEE­ING AND DO­ING.

Feast Vil­lage’s beau­ti­fully lit re­freshed in­te­ri­ors fea­ture geo­met­ric tiling.

Sit­u­ated on the rooftop with a breath­tak­ing view of Mount Kin­a­balu, Fish­er­man’s Cove serves seafood-themed dishes as well as scrump­tious desserts.

THE SHEER VA­RI­ETY OF CUISINES ON OF­FER AT FEAST VIL­LAGE — USU­ALLY EV­ERY GUEST’S FIRST PORT OF CALL AT THE RE­SORT — GOES FAR IN TERMS OF HIGH­LIGHT­ING MALAYSIA’S DI­VERSE FOOD CUL­TURE.

The re­gional cui­sine and ex­quis­ite fresh seafood pre­pared by Gaya Is­land Re­sort’s skilled chefs is a play on the senses.

For more in­for­ma­tion, please visit www.gayais­landresort.com

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