The latest menu offerings at the recently refurbished Feast Village and Fisherman’s Cove at Gaya Island Resort
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.
For more information, please visit www.gayaislandresort.com