Thanis Lim

All Rounder Chef and Food Journalist

La Fuente Kota Kinabalu

The last time I visited KK, Amie suggested having dinner at La Fuente, which is located at One Borneo. It's located just right behind the Adidas Outlet - along with other restaurants such as Kahve Cafe. Before I entered the restaurant - I have no idea what sort of cuisine they serve.

First impressions when I saw the restaurant: Oh? A pub or bar restaurant? I was assuming British grill and steakhouse kinda cuisine. The decor was quite nice - since it's new years eve - you can see that it's lively today, with people having their dinner with a few drinks and preparing for their big party afterwards.

Amie booked us a nice spot outside the restaurant. They had it set up really nicely. I still did not know what type of cuisine this restaurant serves as I did not glance at any of the food at other tables.

When I see the menus on the table, I immediately think of Gordon Ramsey's 'F' word. When I opened the menu and saw TAPAS - I realized this is Spanish Cuisine. The only other Spanish restaurant I had tried in South East Asia was Barcelona in Miri - which did not really impress me. It was overpriced and wasn't really impressive so I hoped this restaurant won't disappoint. Usually one would order Paella (a Spanish style baked in a pan rice dish with seafood or chicken), and other small dishes called 'tapas' - side orders to accompany your meal.

My friends were quite happy to let the foodie in me to order the food. I ordered the main dish which was Seafood Paella (this will take 30 minutes at least to cook), two pastas - one creamy ham and mushroom pasta and one creamy pesto chicken pasta. I also ordered one cold tapas: A gazpacho - For hot tapas - I ordered grilled eggplants, chorizo sausages with potato chips and squid rings. The guys had beer while I decided to be adventurous and ordered Carajillo -  which apparently is a Spanish style coffee with rum. Amie came fashionably late and treat us to Sangria - which her friend highly recommended. 

The breads were served with balsamic vinegar and olive oil. Simple and delicious - though I admit I used the bread to dip on the Gazpachos and other Tapa sauces.

The Carajillo coffee is pretty much a strong shot of coffee and combined with rum or brandy. It had a very good kick to it and I must say - if you're not a fan of coffee, you will hate this drink. If you love your shots of Espresso - then this is the drink for you. The after effects of this drink makes you quite hyper - I wonder if it's the New Year Eve's mood or it's the coffee!

Cold Tapas: Gazpacho - basically blended cold soup - usually made from capsicum. It has a smooth fresh taste to it but none of my friends liked this dish. At the end of the dinner, it was only half eaten. Perhaps not very suitable to our palette or just a disappointing Gazpacho.

This eggplant tapas is quite good. It had a good bitterness to it and the sauce was delicious. It's tasty dipped with bread.

This was my favourite dish of the night. The Chorizo was delicious and the potato chips go very well with the sauce. Thumbs up! I will definitely come back for this.

Crispy Calamari Rings. They were cooked perfectly - not too chewy - and crispy on the outside served with mayo and lemon. Quite good.

Now on to the pastas: The mushroom and ham creamy pasta to me was quite light. It wasn't too rich. It's dependent on how you prefer the dish. I find it lacks flavour and oompph but likes that it's not too heavy.

The carbonara is pretty rich but just a simple carbonara.


I personally like this best out of the three pastas. The creamy pesto sauce is good and the chicken is cooked to just the right texture for me. Thumbs up on this dish. The herby sauce makes this dish the most flavoursome out of the three pastas as well.

The Seafood Paella finally came - the highlight of the night! By the time it arrived,  we've pretty much finished most of our tapas and pasta. I would recommend that you order this dish first and asked the waiters to only start cooking the tapas and pastas about 20 minutes after ordering - so you would be able to eat the dishes mostly at the same time.

Verdict of the Paella - Flavours were good but texture wise - this dish did not make the cut. The rice was too mushy and there was none of that charry goodness at the bottom. However, if you compare this Paella to the one I had at Miri, this paella is definitely better. I wondered if they did not execute it well because of the busy new years eve crowd.

The Sangria (red wine with chopped fruits) was quite refreshing to wash down all those strong flavours we had tonight.

Overall - this would be a good place for to try out Spanish food. If you like strong flavours - you will love their tapas. Do give this place a try. It's better to come as a group of 4-6 - then order about 6 different types of tapas, two pastas and one paella to share - with a jug or two of Sangria to wash all those down.

You'll be expecting to pay around 60 to 80 rm per person if you share the costs.

Hmm.... Sangria~~ *slurps*

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