#atozchallenge: Hinava squid ink pasta

I went to Kota Kinabalu from the 9th to the 12th of April 2016, with three objectives in mind. Firstly, I had never been to East Malaysia, or Borneo, in my entire life, so this was my first trip there. Secondly, I wanted to visit the scenic mountain area of Kundasang, and the picturesque Tunku Abdul Rahman Marine Park. Thirdly, I wanted to attend a restaurant opening.

In this article, I am going to talk about the restaurant, Tavern Kitchen and Bar. As luck would have it, it officially opened on 9th April 2016 at 6pm, and I was the first person to walk in. Located in the beautiful new Imago Shopping Mall in KK Times Square Phase 2, the restaurant featured a fresh and youthful modern design and interior decor, with walls covered in interesting murals.

Tavern Kitchen & Bar specialises in local and western cuisine, plus some creative fusion dishes. As I always like to try new food and drinks, I ordered the Hinava Squid Ink Pasta, and Coconut Mojito. For dessert, I tried the Apple Tuhau Crumble. I went into without expectations, because my experience tells me that expectations ruin everything, but I was not disappointed in the least.
The Coconut Mojito arrived first, as it should. I am not much of a drinker, but I will always make an exception for a mojito. At first, I thought it would be a clear drink and contain coconut water, but it actually came milky white because it had a generous dose of creamy coconut milk. It came topped with a sprig of mint leaves and coconut milk froth. The drink was rich and creamy, but at the same time packed a mild zing. It was a mojito after all. I thought that it was an enjoyable drink.

Coconut Mojito

The Hinava Squid Ink Pasta came next. This pasta is inky black, but let not the colour deter you. First of all, you must give your attention to the hinava on top, which is basically raw fish salad, a local Kadazandusun delicacy. It is a speciality of Sabah. The hinava squid ink pasta is an exclusive creation of Tavern Kitchen & Bar. A fusion of salty, tangy & spicy flavours, the contrast in colours also make it a very striking dish to behold. I savoured every bite of the medley of flavours.


Hinava Squid Ink Pasta

Last came my dessert, the Apple Tuhau Crumble. I like the crumble on top, which was unique because it had rolled oats in it. The apple filling was infused with its signature spicy tuhau flavour. Tuhau is a tangy & spicy Kadazandusun dish made from pickled wild ginger. In Sabah, it is traditionally eaten with rice.


Apple Tuhau Crumble

In fact, I was intrigued so much by tuhau, that I bought a container full of the pickled variety the next day when I travelled to Kundasang, the scenic area at the base of the famous Mount Kinabalu.


Pickled tuhau sold in a market in Kundasang – I bought one of these containers 🙂

Tuhau is prepared in three ways – pickled, in a spicy sambal, and in a dry ‘serunding’. If you go to Sabah, you must try it. 😀  Do not worry, it is not stinky or salty, It is a combination of sour and spicy flavours.

If you go to KK Times Square, be sure to drop by Tavern Kitchen and Bar. It is opened daily fom 10am to 2am. The staff are pleasant, and you will not be disappointed by the choices available on the menu, which was designed by the friendly celebrity chef Nicholas Pillai.

Other articles I wrote about Sabah:


7 thoughts on “#atozchallenge: Hinava squid ink pasta

  1. […] I was the first to arrive at 6pm, and the walk-in customers slowly trickled in. Since I was first, they processed my order first, and my food arrived soon. I ordered the Coconut Mojito, Hinava Squid Ink Pasta, and the Apple Tuhau Crumble (pictured below). I thought the food was delicious, tantalizing fare for the taste buds, and wrote about it on my food blog, in an article entitled ‘Hinava Squid Ink Pasta‘. […]

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