Coast, Shangri-La's Rasa Ria Resort and Spa, Pantai Dalit Beach, Sabah
Words by Kirsten Durward
Photos by The Yum List
I’m enticed by the sensation of old style Hollywood glamour at Coast. The subtle underwater is elegantly represented with huge blue-glass chandeliers representing giant jellyfish dangling over the vast central bar. There is an undeniable feel of glamorous 1930s art deco in the design, with a silver backdrop to the mainly glass structure through which we view the sparkling night sky. Soft hanging glass lanterns provide a genial ambience to top the snowy linens and shining silverware. Our menu is presented in the style of an elegant black leather landscape photo album. A live pianist gently tinkling completes the soft assault on our senses as we relax into the atmosphere. Monica longs for a bob and I imagine evening gloves with long cigarette holders.
Our host for the evening, Jeremy, adds to the charm with his wary responses to our gentle teasing and demands for food sharing. He encourages us to try the Chef’s special Table D’hôtel menu for the evening, which proves excellent value (RM130 for three courses) and additionally selects three signature dishes from the a la carte options.
We love the presentation of the homemade bread selection, delicately light sesame crackers, crisp and delicious, vie with light fluffy focaccia and soft baguette, ready to dip in the balsamic mix. The accompanying amuse bouche is a ladle full of cauliflower puree crème in the centre of a large saucer with a narrow trail of fresh herbs.
We find that Coast has a decent wine list including a variety served by the glass. Jeremy assures us that fine wines are easily procured for the more discerning diner. Meantime, we regular diners plump for a sweet round and clean Californian White Zinfandel (RM39) and a Chilean Sauvignon Blanc with notes of lime and pepper, which proves a good choice with fish (RM40).
In presentation, Chicken Terrine (from the set menu) echoes the underwater theme; a black sea anemone sits among coral tendrils. We delight in the fine moist texture, the chicken flavour full but subtle. It’s a memorable dish.
The second appetizer, Couscous Salad (from the set menu), is light, fluffy and colourful, with melon, yoghurt, cucumber ribbon, basil leaves and cherry tomato.
The Crab Roll (RM58) sits elegantly on the plate. We love this signature dish of salty crab and creamy avocado, with its cold tang of mango and subtle chili fire snow.
We appreciate the hot plates that our mains arrive on. A detail many restaurants could do to pick up on.
Fettuccine Pasta bursts with the Mediterranean flavours of black olives, semi dried tomato, garden basil and Parmesan shavings. Capers give a zing to the dish, which is slippery and tasty and soon devoured by Jeremy (after we've had our fare spoonful).
Pan fried sea bass is elegantly presented with the lemon beurre blanc served separately, by far my preference with fish. Cutting through the crispy skin reveals moist flakes with a good dense flavour. One of the best-cooked pieces of fish I’ve eaten in Malaysia, and the lemon sauce delicate and light. Delicious.
Seared Lamb Rack RM136) is thick cut, divinely cooked to my choice of pinkness. Potato foam is a light textured mash, through which thick dark soy honey reduction oozes delightfully. Monica loves the artichoke barigoule, and I enjoy the contrasting tastes of sweet apple puree and savoury celery leaf, combining with my juicy lamb.
Sipping the last of our wine, we prepare for dessert.
Melon Soup is an unusual dish with humorous presentation. A patisserie crisp balances like a dhow sail, over a perfect quenelle of coconut sorbet atop a mould of fruit sitting in a clear soup. This all collapses into a floating fruit salad that we conclude is suited to the Asian palate.
The White Chocolate Cake, has the texture of a bread pudding. Another unusual choice combines papaya with coriander for a slightly savoury dessert.
Both of us have a predilection for chocolate desserts, and Chocolate Fondant looks fantastically tempting. As I delve in, hazelnut chocolate oozes out. It’s gooey, delicious and dense. The accompanying ice cream merges sensuously on the plate and I end the meal with the happiness of bedtime hot chocolate.
We think it’s worth the trip for off-site guests, and recommend starting on the terrace with a sunset cocktail to take advantage of the spectacular sea views.
Reason to visit: Superb location, elegant Hollywood glamour, exotic menu choices.
Shangri-La's Rasa Ria Resort and Spa
Pantai Dalit Beach
Tuaran, Sabah 89208
+ 6 088 797 888