Mango Garden Restaurant - Rumah Terbalik, Tamparuli , Kota Kinabalu
Sunday, May 26, 2013 // 5 comment(s)

No idea where to find a place in Kota Kinabalu that serves true authentic local malays and native east malaysian food?

Fret no longer! We finally have a restaurant in Kota Kinabalu that serves all these delectable and authentic traditional cuisines from Sabah under one roof and that is - Mango Garden Restaurant.

The outside of Mango Garden Restaurant

If you're wondering where is this restaurant, it is actually located just right next to the first upside down house (Rumah Terbalik ) in South East Asia, located in Tamparuli area which opened in early February 2012. There is currently only 5 of these unique structures in the entire world, two in Japan and Europe respectively. I was there to visit the Rumah Terbalik when it just opened last year and at that time, the restaurant doesn't exist yet nor any construction work was taking place at that time. Now that they have a restaurant within the span of a year, shows that it has fast progressed as a unique choice of tourist destination in Kota Kinabalu.

I personally didn't know this restaurant existed until the owner of Rumah Terbalik's wife Ms. Diana Chia dropped me an email and kindly invited me for food tasting. So I did my usual research on this restaurant and found it very interesting because I am looking forward to the unique traditional dishes that I get to taste. Since my dad is a fan of traditional Kadazan food, I'm a Sino as well so I took him along with me for this food tasting.

Upon arrival, my dad & I were greeted by their friendly staff, the manager, Kenny at the carpark, then by Diana herself and their Executive Chef, Fortunato Lowel.

Mango Garden Restaurant derived its name originally from this piece of land as it used to be a mango tree farm. I honestly didn't know this place used to be a mango tree farm until Diana enlighten me about the reason why they chose this name.

Mango Garden Restaurant has a very nice exterior to it, designed to look like a house with a structured body made of glass, it does add on the little touch of class to this restaurant. This restaurant able to cater to 100 person at once, on any occasion just inside. However, they're able to add more tables and a mini stage if you require one outside and cater to a larger functions. I also noticed that they have a couple of mini portable live cooking stalls outside which they use for functions as well.

The Executive chef, Fortunato, previously worked with Petronas for a couple of years, where he took his chance to travel around the world and explore cuisines from different parts of the world until he realized that his job environment is constantly a high risk area. Being a family man himself, he decided to quit and settle in Sabah where he previously worked at Lembah Impian, and now Rumah Terbalik. 

He brought along his years of experience to create fusion dishes, and on top of that he always travels to other towns in Kota Kinabalu where he spoke to local natives around the areas and learnt their signature dishes . Together he incorporated both ideas and that's how the menu came about for this restaurant.

The Menu 

As you can see above, the menu serves a variety of dishes, from appetizers to main course, local favorites  individual meat and vegetable items, desserts and drinks.

You'll definitely be spoilt for choices because there's just too many to choose from. I find it very interesting and easy to read the menu because it has very detailed explanation of the dishes, especially when it involves the clear picture of the ingredients used and method of cooking. What made it even better, it comes with pictures of the dishes as well. I no longer have to guess how my food will look like or wonder what is it, good job on this one!

Pineapple smoothie
RM 8.50

So firstly, we ordered our drinks. We were told by recommendation of the waitress that they are famous for their smoothie, made with local fruits. Thus we opted for Pineapple smoothie and Mango smoothies.

I liked how their smoothies tasted so fruity with just the right amount of fruits and sweetness to it. Texture wise it is really smooth and thick, unlike some other which I've tasted before that's just pure watery and tasteless. A great drink to have on a warm sunny day definitely.

Mango Smoothie
RM 8.50

Tinutuk Mangga * Signature Dish

For starter, we had the Tinutuk Mangga which is basically young mango being cut julienne style and mixed together with traditional fresh herbs, lime, shrimp paste and chili. As the mango is young and raw, it creates the sour-ish taste to this dish and the chili complement this dish well and created a mild spicy and sour-ish appetizer.

Hinava Sada * chef signature dish

Next, we had another very popular appetizer in Sabah originated from the Kadazan Dusun Tribes called the Hinava Sada. It is actually a dish made with freshly selected fish fillet marinated in lime juice, shallots, ginger, sliced chili and grated Badu (wild mango seeds). It was my first time trying out this dish, as I don't normally eat authentic Kadazan dish. This dish has an acquired taste in my opinion but I know it does taste good. More like local made tuna where you can eat it with your bread. Nevertheless, I gave it a try but still it's not what I can easily get use to eating instantly. 

Tuhau Miampai Daging Salai
RM 10.50

Another appetizer, is actually sliced beef marinated with Tuhau, or what we call local ginger stem pickles, char-grilled and mixed with chili, lime, lemongrass and other herbs. According to Fortunato, this dish is taken during drinking session as titbit but can be taken with rice as well.

Rendang Daging

For main course, I'm sure everyone knows what is a Rendang Daging. It is one of my favorite malay dish of all times, and a must have during any special occasions such as Hari Raya. I liked how this dish was exceptionally tender and flavorful as it is the key to cooking a good rendang. The beef cubes were slowly braised with local herbs and spices, with mixture of thick coconut milk till it is soft and tender.

           Sup Tombol Ekor *Chef Specialty

In another words, this dish is called Oxtail Soup as most of us would've known. The oxtail is braised with vegetables such as potato and radish , along with the usual add on of local herbs and spices. The moment I had this soup, I instantly felt like I just had the most authentic oxtail soup which I didn't have in a long time. In KK, it is not easy to find this soup which are rich in its taste and flavor of oxtail in the soup unless you go to an authentic malay restaurant. This is a must try :)

Sayur Kailan Masak Dua Rasa *Chef signature dish

I find this dish very unique due to the different styles of preparation. We usually can find the normal Kailan stir-fried with seafood in any Chinese restaurant. Little did I know you can actually deep fry Kailan and it tasted like seaweed, most important it is very crispy. Apparently this method of cooking is adapted from the Bajau Semporna tribe. The crispy kailan was complemented with salt and anchovies and each bite of the vegetable does give a very rich green leaf taste. I love this very much. 

Sotong Bakar Masak Sambal Tomato

Next, the last main course of the day is a favorite dish of the Bajau Ubian Tribes. we had the marinated and barbecued squid topped with homemade sweet and spicy tomato sambal and onions which created a thick and flavorful sauce to cover the strong barbecued taste. 

"I love you like a fat kid love cakes "

Rumah Terbalik has an indoor coffeehouse as well that serves a variety of beverages mainly their specialty coffee , cakes and fresh buns daily. Price wise is considered reasonable for a coffeehouse. They have free wifi in this coffeehouse as well. Perfect for anyone in search for a quiet and peaceful time to have their discussion, or generally just any tech savvy person who can't live without their internet wherever they are ;D

Berangan Banana Caramel Chocolate Cake
RM 6.50

For dessert, my dad and I opted to share this banana chocolate cake as we were already full from the heavy lunch. The unique thing about this cake is the Berangan banana was caramelized before it is use to make this cake. It has a very ideal sweetness to it , a smooth texture and to top with the moist chocolate sponge cake and a layer of chocolate mousse. It is one of the best cake I have ever tasted. Another thing is, they made their cakes using entirely local fruits and ingredients.  Definitely a must try!

I had the opportunity to taste the special "Rumah Terbalik" special coffee and was so impressed by it.  I had the Mocha Latte. Look at the picture above you may see how foamy and smooth is the coffee. Little did I know Rumah Terbalik has made all of its coffee with its own secret coffee beans specially made by Cap Kuda, one of the famous coffee bean company based in Kota Kinabalu. The management had blind coffee tasting before deciding on the base of the taste they wanted for their coffee which cannot be found anywhere else. Apart from that, their Barista were also sent for training at Cap Kuda company where they learnt the skill and knowledge on how to make good coffee.

Their coffee comes in different sizes of mugs as well, a huge and a tiny one.

As it was Mother's day during that weekend, I decided to buy my mum a Cassata Siciliana cake because I find it unique. Unlike any other cakes you normally find in the bakery shop. It is actually an Italian cake, similar to a fruit cake. However, I find it a little bit too sweet to my liking though. I wished its a little bit less sweeter then it would be perfect.

Finally, the latest addition to Rumah Terbalik which just opened about 3 weeks ago? Which was the Tandas Terbalik, or what we called as "Upside Down Toilet ". Be sure to check it out!

I also would like to thank the whole team of Rumah Terbalik for doing a great job and specially to Diana and Fortunato for inviting me to this food tasting session. I definitely had a great time learning about this place and the uniqueness of the food it offers.

To know more about this place, please refer to : Upside Down House or visit them at
Batu 21, Jalan Telibong, Tuaran, Sabah.
Tel: +6088 783 911
Fax: +6088 782 503

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