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The All-New Sailors Cafe

2nd June, 2017

Story by RM

Sailors Cafe is a name familiar to foodies in Kota Kinabalu, but since last month the cafe had a transformation after being bought over by new owners, husband and wife team Chef Firdaous Bin Mohd Izhar and Genevie Elizabeth Jimmy.

The furniture and fittings might look familiar, but everything else in the cafe has changed. The space is slightly smaller with a 36-person capacity, but it is cosy and reminiscent of a mother’s kitchen. The wall is adorned with quotes, photographs of Paris and floral arrangements.

Chef Firdaous and Genevie were both from the hotel industry. Chef Firdaous has been cooking for about 26 years. He started out his career in Paris, hence all the memorabilia. Before taking over the Sailors Cafe, he was the Food and Beverage Director at Nexus Resort Karambunai and an Executive Chef under YTL Hotels and Resort.

According to Chef Firdaous, the main difference between the old and new Sailors is in the menu. His original recipes are fusion between Asian and Western cuisine, but with a hint of local flavours.

What’s good to try? The Lamb Shank Rendang is something unique. The recipe for this dish was originally from Genevie’s grandmother. It goes well with the Herb Rice, which is cooked with local herbs found in Sabah’s backyard.

If you’re a seafood lover, the Snapper Chermoula is worth the try. The dish infuses flavours from Asia and Africa. The Seabass En Papillote is also popular. This is something Chef Firdaous learned during his time in Paris. En Papillote is a method of cooking in which food is put into a folded pouch or parcel and then baked. But at Sailors, this dish is incorporated with Nonya flavours.

Other recommended dishes include the Seafood Chowder (American style), Gratin Cheese Sandwich (a beef sandwich smothered in homemade au jus), and Caramalised Banana (with crepe suzette).

Chef Firdaous hopes that Kota Kinabalu residents will enjoy their offerings and help grow their business. The food is made fresh daily and from scratch. Every week, the restaurant has a special dish and Chef Firdaous tries to keep updating the menu regularly.

As for the rest of 2017, Chef Firdaous plans to start cooking classes including free sessions for those looking to start their own business and learn basic skills like making Nasi Lemak or Roti Canai.

The Sailors Cafe is located at Lot 36, Tingkat 1, Plaza Grand Millenium, Penampang. Business hours are from 5:00pm to 10:30pm daily (except Tuesday). For more information, look them up on Facebook or Instagram.

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