Nuffnang Ads

Showing posts with label Bali Food. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Bali Food. Show all posts

Sunday, August 28, 2016

Bali 2016: Seafood Dinner @ Menega Cafe, Jimbaran

Days go and nights come, but in between is a beautiful evening sun set.  After strolling through the town of Kuta we settled for a sunset dinner at seafood heaven Jimbaran.  Known for its local-tourist discriminating prices and its posh set menus featuring matchbox size crab and lobsters, most brand Jimbaran with the “do not go tag”.  But when you’re with a local, Jimbaran becomes a pretty damn good seafood spot.  Two years ago I came to Menega Cafe and left dreaming of the amazing butter sauce they used on their clams.  This time, I am re-visiting Menega Cafe.  Will I still be impressed?

The scenery earlier, as the sun starts to set is lovely!

Menega Set Menu:
The set menu which gives us a few of the basics.  Fish, squid, and lobster were “OK”, but hardly necessary.  These comes as part of a set so I just have it.  The best thing in the set are the 6 clams it comes with.  We  had to ordered more of it for sure!

Grilled prawns.

Grilled clams with Menega Cafe's special sauce.
The verdict from before still stands true.  Set meals at this seafood heaven is still less than impressive but is every bit quintessential in getting the evening started.  You get bit and pieces of seafood, vegetables, some drinks, rice and condiments.  The basics.   But what really made the evening great were the grilled prawns and clams.  Menega Cafe’s grilled prawns were super good. Briny, sweet and the smokey chargrilled flavours from the coconut husk is just sensational.  Then come the tender clams topped with a  rich garlic butter sauce.  God these were superb.  Menega Cafe still impresses after two years.  The cooking style is simple, but tastes spot on.  

Note: Do not shower before dinner because the smokiness of the grill is sure to stay with you for awhile!

   Menega Cafe Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

Wednesday, August 24, 2016

Bali 2016: The best Babi Guling? @ Warung Bakas Sari Dewata, Denpasar.

With the disappointing meal of Babi Guling at Warung Ibu Oka now behind me (said no one ever), I headed to my last Babi Guling meal of my trip.  South of Seminyak in the city Denpasar is Warung Bakas Sari Dewata.  The crowd this morning is hardly convincing that this was the place to be, perhaps 9am was too early for Babi Guling!  But the only thing that mattered was the pork on the fork.

For myself I had the Babi Guling Campur whilst the other two had the Babi Guling Special.  My Babi Guling Campur from Warung Bakas Sari Dewata looked amazing.

1,2,3,4,5,6 and …7.. SEVEN dishes on the plate.  Now that’s a party.  But what amazed me even more were some of the dishes I got.  One of the really tasty ones was the bits of smokey crispy bacon that was spiced sensationally.  Then you also get this stringy pulled pork that was super dry almost like a pan-fried pork floss.  As you chew it all the flavour just oozes out.  God it was magic in the mouth.  Also not to forget, were the  tender skewered pork and the spit roast.  The spit roast was slightly drier than the one at Pak Malen but it was not hard to eat.  The string beans were sauteed with some sambal so that was pleasing too.  Oh and the crackling here?  Absolutely cracking!

My two other friends ordered the Babi Guling Special.

Ok let me tell you something.  As ironic as it sounds, I hate to break it to you that it was nothing special.  If anything, it was indeed less special. My friends were going crazy by getting the most pork on their fork but because it was only spit roast on the plate, the party on the plate got a bit monotonous after the first few bites.  Also, remember how I said the Babi Guling at Warung Bakas Sari Dewata is drier than Pak Malen?  Now imagine having to eat all of it =.=!!  Folks, less is more sometimes.  This is one of those times haha.

Regardless of your choice, it will come with a complimentary bowl of soup cooked with bone broth, and heart of banana tree.

So yay or nay?  Definitely a yay from my side but definitely a nay for my other friends who ordered the Babi Guling Special.  Warung Bakas Sari Dewata has definitely put some good pork on the fork with the Babi Guling Campur.  The variety of dishes  on the plate for the Babi Guling Campur makes it a strong contender for best Babi Guling in town.  That salty-sweet smokey bacon was to die for and I enjoyed every bit of it.  But it has to be the right proportion to not be sickening.  While proportioning on a plate is a very fine line, I have to say that Warung Bakas does it well!  Note that Warung Bakas Sari Dewata’s location is fairly inconvenient when compered to Pak Malen and Pak Dobiel, both of which are located near to the touristy hotels.  But with convenient service like Gojek and Uber, it is easy to get your food brought to you or have you brought the the food.

Warung Bakas Sari Dewata Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

Monday, August 22, 2016

Bites: Another Meal of Babi Guling @ Warung Babi Guling Ibu Oka

Done with the breakfast, our driver paced through the small roads leading to the sleepy town of Ubud.  After over an hour of driving, the only thing that have seemed to pass really quickly was time.  The road leading to Ubud is a cross between a rally trail thanks to its windy road and a bumper car with all the holes in the road.  We soon reached Ubud and decided to get something to drink as the windy road took a toll on our stomachs.  After coffee at Seniman Coffee Studio, I recovered my appetite and was ready to go.  If there was ever one thing that I wanted to try so badly, it was the famed Babi Guling by Ibu Oka.  This Ubud staple is a household name that is popular amongst tourist and locals alike.  While its fame saw it grow to three shops around the town of Ubud, was it really worth the hype?

The all season Indonesian drink and a Babi Guling essential, Teh Botol.  I have probably had 15 bottles while I was there haha.

There is only one thing people order when they dine at Warung Ibu Oka.  It is the Babi Guling.
On first glance, it looks like every other Babi Guling out there.  You get the bits and pieces of pork stir fry, a little element of crisp from the deep fried pork, a chopped up spit roast pig and to top it off, a glossy shard of pork crackle.   While all Babi Guling look about the same, it was in the finer details where the difference was.  Here, the pork crackling failed to deliver the crunch that other places did.  Instead, it came with the need of a dental floss.  The sticky shards of crackle between my gums was the worst feeling ever.  Then comes the overly oily combinations that coated my rice with a yellow stained grease. But what was Warung Ibu Oka’s no.1 failure?  There was no standout flavour among the many elements on the plate.  Its as though everything on the plate summed up to nothingness and not the porky goodness one would normally expect.

Babi Goreng Tepung was an extra that we ordered.
This is essentially deep fried battered pork, except that it did not come out piping hot and crunchy!  :(  I really wondered whether it was just a bad day at Warung Ibu Oka or its just the way it is.

In my last trip to Ubud, my friend previously advised against going to Warung Ibu Oka.  But hearing how this institution built a reputation for the sleepy town of Ubud, I just had to try it.  Alas, trust the local and move on.  Warung Ibu Oka might previously be the king of the Babi Guling's porky goodness, but it was now clear to me that whatever mention Ibu Oka get is just a momentum of the past.

Babi Guling Ibu Oka Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

Saturday, August 20, 2016

Bali 2016: Breakfast by the Paddy Fields @ Nook, Kerobokan.

Today was road trip day to Ubud.  But before we hit the famous rice fields of Ubud, we stopped for a little morning feed.  Today’s breakfast venue is Nook, a brunch spot located by a vast paddy field.  This little cafe or rather this restaurant if you like, is no more than a little shack right off your suburb road.  It could be anywhere but it had to be right by the paddy fields haha. Gimmicky I would say but never doubt the advantages of what the green pastures have to offer.
But nothing is more important than the food when I am hunting down for a good morning chow.  The table pretty much ordered the staples that we have been having over the last few days.  As you’d expect it Nasi Goreng and Mee Goreng.

Nook’s cooking style of both the Nasi Goreng and Mee Goreng were pretty similar to the one in the hotel I stayed in as well as the one I had in Biku.  Both were fried decently but this one came with all the little bits and pieces that makes it a tad more presentable. Grilled chicken skewer and roast chicken pieces were pretty decent.  But of them all, the most important accompaniment of them all is a perfectly cooked sunny side up.  That yolk was drool!

The Mee Goreng was of a similar calibre to the Nasi Goreng.  But, one thing different was the use to Kecap Manis or sweet soy.  I acknowledge the flavour that sugar adds to dishes but I am definitely not the biggest sweet tooth out there. If I could, I would definitely cut that recap manis back a bit as the dish would have been sickening if the serve was any larger. I would not mind having a sunny side up on my noodles too :P!


Food wise,  what Nook served was pretty decent but I was not too sure whether its been any different from the other breakfast spots I have been to.  But what made a difference though was the fresh morning breeze blowing ever so lightly.  Add that to the green pastures of the paddy field and perhaps after ridiculing how gimmicky Nook was, I started appreciating its location a lot more.

Nook Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

Wednesday, August 17, 2016

Bali 2016: Modern Asian @ Mama San, Seminyak

For Sunday night’s dinner in Bali we set foot into modern Thai restaurant Mama San.  This cool joint is the brain child of Chef Will Meyrick who has already made his mark in the Asia Best 50 list with his other high profile diner Sarong.  But instead of donning his waitstaff with the formality of Sarong, Mama San is his popular venture which sports a more casual appeal serving the masses with its modern Asian food.  While I have not tried Sarong, I was definitely super keen to see what was in store for us at Mama San in Seminyak.  (Just so you know, Chef Will Meyrick has opened two other Mama Sans in Hong Kong and Malaysia too!

Roasted Peking duck with steamed choy sum & red bean sauce.

Most of the time when you get Peking Duck its only the skin that is served because the rest of the duck is rarely marinated hence the other courses like the Sang Choy Bow comes to play.  At Mama San, it was served like a Roasted Duck along side the Chinese staple of steamed choy sum and some “tim cheong”.  The crisp duck skin really made an impression along with its juicy flesh.  However, what I questioned was whether Mama San has overdone the sauce because it was hard to appreciate the duck when it was drowned in all that sauce.  After all if one was eating Peking Duck, you would only have a small dash of sauce although some might say its a matter of personal preference.

Vietnamese Grilled Prawn on Sugar Cane with rice paper roll and nuoc cham.

Next we had these amazing grilled prawns.  It has been a long time since I last had these and I really loved it.  These garlicky prawn skewers are slightly sweet and almost like fish cakes but made out of prawns.  This was a DIY session as we used these skewers to make Vietnamese Rice Paper Rolls! Summers!

Chatuchak crispy pork ribs with green mango peanuts & Nam Yam dressing.

Named after the largest market in Thailand, these finger licking good dish reminds me of the food I have had in Thailand.  Crispy pork ribs were seasoned so well it reminded me of Som Tam Nua’s Fried Chicken.  This dish was extremely palatable.  The pork ribs for were fried well and flesh was tender!  Then you have the sweet/sour Mango Salad which helped de-grease all that porky action that just happened.  Its that sort of balance that makes Thai cuisine so popular all over the world.  Two extremes on a plate that balances out one another to create a whole lot of roller coaster in your mouth.

Roasted Duck Red Curry.

Red curry and rice is one of the best Thai dishes to go with rice.  This was no exception with its deep red curry sauce ever creamy and rich in spices.  Unlike the overly sweet Peking Duck, the level of sweetness in the curry was spot on.  I also felt like the sweetness had sense of fruitiness and acidity which really complements the creamy sauce. But be careful of the baby eggplants!  They are like little land minuses they are really bitter when you bite into them.

Crispy whole fish with three-flavor sauce wild ginger turmeric pineapple chilli & tamarind.

Last but not least was the three flavoured fish. Thai cuisine’s habit of putting the three flavours of sweet, sour and salty consistently across its dishes makes Thai cuisine some of the most appealing cuisines in the world.  This was no different.  The fish was perfect with its mild chilli jam sauce having a nice bite of acidity from the tamarind and also the sweetness of the pineapples.  What makes fish like this enjoyable is when you get a small part of the fish that is really fried and crispy despite getting soaked with all the sauce!

My highlight of Mama San would definitely be the Prawn Skewers and Chatuchak Pork Ribs!  Interesting and interactive dishes thats jam packed with flavour! Not to forget it is amazing textures too. There has never been a shortage of love affair between Asian Cuisine and the rest of the world. Mama San Bali’s take on the Asian cuisine (predominantly Thai) is a decent attempt.  While trying to stay as authentic as possible, I could not help but feel that the dishes served at Mama San had a notch of sugar more than I am used too.  Even then, the meal was really enjoyable.   Add its amazing interior with a matching cocktail list and Mama San easily makes for a great night out.

Mama San Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

Sunday, August 14, 2016

Bali 2016: Sensational Balinese Dining @ Merah Putih, Seminyak

After a light breakfast at Biku, we headed over to the famous Kudeta to chill out.  Guess what?  It ended becoming an intense Pokemon stout as the waves kept gushing Magikarps our way haha.  No comments to that activity.  After exercising our fingers, it was finally time to settle for a more enjoyable activity.  A meal at what was possibly the best meal I ever had in Bali.  Merah Putih which literally translates to Red - White in English are the colours of the Indonesian flag.   The entrance to this modern diner is nothing more than a gateway to awesomeness.  With soaring high ceilings, and glass panels through the dining area, it was a tropical green house in its finest.

The menu at Merah Putih  is a salvation to the morning at Biku. In sight were some really fancy sounding Indonesian dishes which had me salivating.  To go round the table we ordered a few share plates.  But to get us started, Merah Putih served us a much loved Indonesian classic, the Soto Ayam.
To start was a Duck Spring Roll which which felt like a unique twist of the Peking Duck.  Instead of utilising a roasted duck, Merah Putih cooks up a super crisp fried duck.  Best of all, it was not even one bit dry.  The pickled cucumber and other crisp vegetables gave it additional texture and that dash of kecap manis brought the dish home!  Wrap it all in that thin piece of pancake and voila! “Peking Duck” :P!

Bebek Goreng “Popia”; Fried Boneless Duck, palm hearts, kecap manis, pancake

Our next appetiser was the soft shell crab.  It is hard to go wrong with a seafood produce that is so elementary. Deep fried soft shell crabs has always been a crowd pleaser, and this was no different.  Add a dipping sauce and egg yolk, for a touch of indulgence.  Its presentation was another element worth mentioning.  But despite all the ups, what felt a little bit of a let down was the batter of the crab.  It was on the hard side and I would have preferred a milder crunch to this. 

Jangkang; Soft Shell Crab, salted egg, leek, coriander.

Another stunningly presented dish was the Puyuh Panggang Sumatra.  The chargrilled marks were equally brilliant to the smoky flavours of the quail sat upon the rice cakes. Shame though, that it just was not as juicy as I had expected it to be.  It did not quite fall off the bone on first bite.  Probably 2-3 minutes over-cooked.  Luckily, its lip-smacking sauce help salvage its position.  The spices were super potent, with a mild sweetness and acidity. The whole thing was just delicious!

Puyuh Panggang Sumatra; Chargrilled Quail, onions rice cake, curry leaf.

This was the shared main of Sapi Bumbu Rujak.  Its like a Beef Bourguineon minus the wine and Western Spices, ok so its an Indonesian beef stew.  But an amazing Indonesian one that had my tongue wagging.  The beef cheeks were super tender and fell apart effortlessly.  Then you have the perfectly plump Shimeji shroom sauteed and topping the beef.  All of which are put in a sauce so good that I could not stop spooning it on to my bowl of rice.  Not sure how to even describe the sauce but it was flavoured sensationally!  

Sapi Bumbu Rujak; Javanese Beef Cheek, tomato, shimiji, chilli

After a satisfying lunch, I could not help but suggest ordering desserts to share. How could I resist after seeing Merah Putih do so well with the savoury courses?

First dessert was Madu. The word “Madu” is honey and this simply presented dish allowed the main ingredient of honey to shine.  Creamy ice-cream, and wafer thin tuile was a great pairing.  The ice cream was silky smooth and the ginger helped accentuate the glorious honey notes.

Madu; Borneo Honeycomb Ice Cream, chocolate, ginger tuile

Next was a coconut dessert which consisted of Meringue and Ice Cream.  While I am usually not a fan of the overly sweet Meringue, the combination of Kalamansi and coconut along with sago helped balanced the dessert that night.  So many layers of flavours and textures to enjoy. Not just a one note dessert. You get the citrusy-zesty flavours of the Chinese Orange clashing with the creamy coconut.  At the same time there is the frothy Meringue and springy sago bits.  So much to like on the plate.

Kelapa; Coconut Ice Cream, kalamansi meringue, boni sago

This modern Indonesian restaurant has reinvented the wheel with its modern rendition on some Indonesian staples.  While this is an act considered taboo by some, the strong combination of top notch ingredients and fresh plating, all of which are done simultaneously while maintaining the dish's authentic Indonesian flavours makes Merah Putih the favourite of my trip.

Merah Putih Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

Thursday, August 11, 2016

Bali 2016: Nasi Goreng @ Biku, Seminyak

Once we were done with the coffee business at the Corner House, we set off to our breakfast spot.  This time, I am at Biku in Seminyak for a proper Indonesian styled breakfast.  This house turned restaurant is set in a wooden house with an interior that is strongly traditional.  While the inside was nicely done, Biku also has lovely courtyard area for dining and that was our choice of sitting as the morning breeze was still nice and cool.

 I  opened the menu and was surprised (or shocked..).  The menu at Biku was 99% modern Asian and 1% Balinese lol.  While I was thoroughly misled by the exterior it was ok, because Biku had the Balinese breakfast staples that I wanted that morning.

Nasi Goreng:

Mee Goreng:

The stir fried carbs were full of goodness and I had little to dislike.  There was a decent amount of wok fried flavours presents along with a light seasoning of soy.   While it was definitely nothing special, it is something I enjoy having even in Malaysia/Singapore/Thailand where well-cooked carbs with some amazing sambal can go a long way!

Bubur Kuning:

Two of my friends ordered the Yellow Congee (or Turmeric Congee) that morning.  While the consistency of the congee was spot on, I reckon the flavours were a little raw because of the turmeric.  It did not feel like its been sautéed with herbs and cooked properly.  Was it terrible?  Definitely no, but my colleague who is a local felt less than impressed with the addition of the turmeric. Instead, she was looking for a hearty breakfast congee.

Over all, Biku has a really pleasant ambience for all occasions.  But if you are a food hunter, this place might score below your expectations due to its limited Balinese menu that does not go beyond the cliches of Nasi Goreng, Satays, etc.  How do I rate this morning?  I reckon it was average at best.  Do note that while the variety of local fare was not the best, I have heard some positive reviews regarding its high tea.  That might be something for next time perhaps.

Biku Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

Sunday, August 7, 2016

Bali 2016: Caffeine Addicts @ Corner House, Seminyak

Fast forward the night by the pool eating supper, it was the start of a beautiful morning in Bali.  The Seminyak streets are not half as busy as Kuta, but the dead morning silence tells the story of the residents who probably had one too many to drink the night before.  As weird as it seems, the stillness of the morning was even more enjoyable without the crowd.  Merely 5 minutes from where I lived was another charming cafe where I was going to be spending the morning waking my stomach up for what was about to come for the rest of the day.  Corner House in Seminyak is a boutique coffee spot serving up Australian style breakfast in the Kayu Aya Cafe Strip.  But no worries, I was not going to go all Aussie in this tropical climate!  The drinks were just to get my caffeine addict friends started thats all.


Our duration at Corner House might be a hit and run scenario as our stay was short, but it did not stop me from admiring its stylish setting!  The bar counter looked reminiscent of a colonial bar counter from the past.  Have to praised its handsome marble top too.  Its distressed walls were particularly attractive when paired with its dark coloured columns and catchy fittings. Pictures of some potted plants by the table:

Friend's iced coffee:

Decor aside, the drinks were “OK”.   Food wise, it looked alright.  You have breakfast burritos and a range of "Eat Pray Love" dishes like mueslis with berries, or acai bla bla bla.  Alright, I'm having a dig at those health foodies out there but you catch my drift.  In saying that though, if you are a Bali expat looking for a taste of the Australian brunch scene then Corner House is definitely a good spot to start.


Corner House Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

Thursday, August 4, 2016

Bali 2016: Fish Dining @ Sardine, Seminyak.

Right after our cafe hopping we were left in a dilemma.  To go back to our hotel in Seminyak and wait for dinner or stay in Kerobokan until dinner time.  We end up choosing the latter and decided to go to our dinner spot early for some drinks.  Tonight’s dinner is none other than the famed Sardine, a fine dining restaurant famous for their fish dishes in an amazing Balinese setting.

In the evening just before the sunset, the outdoor sitting area is pretty special.  The rice field has now been swapped out with sunflowers for the next couple of months.  When it blooms, I can imagine Sardine to be the most welcoming place for a drink or even dinner.   After being wowed by the setting,  I was kept impressed by warm and attentive service.  From the moment we stepped in the ladies brought us to the lounge area and allowed us to choose our seats.  Once the drinks order were placed, a complimentary bowl of hand cut chips were served as a snack.


As our dinner was about to start, we decided against snacking but my colleague could not help but take a photo of another table’s satay.  It was a tough thing not losing my determination to not order any snacks!  Thankfully, time flew and we moved to the dining area.


Complimentary bread:

Have to say that the bread was good!  Easily on the same level like other fine dining places you would find in Australia.

After that was the amuse bouche of Tuna Nicoise Salad.

For dinner that night, we ordered a few things but I only took a few photos as the warm lighting prevented me from taking photos without flash.  

I ordered the lobster potstickers with a ginger and vinegar dipping sauce.  

Surprisingly Asian but still every bit tantalising.  There was not like a whole chunk of lobster in the dumplings but there was a good enough amount to give diners the bursty-briny flavours of the lobster that is rich in seafood sweetness.  The final kick of acidity came from the dipping sauce that mellowed nicely with the dumpling flavours.

Another of the other appetisers we ordered was the Vietnamese Beef Salad.

Have to say, the flavours were authentic but lacked the “wow” factor because it was something you could get easily in the Vietnamese restaurants back in Perth.  I guess, what I am trying to get at is that there could have been a little more surprise to the whole dish like the lobster potstickers which I ordered.  Perhaps, hitting the right notes like an authentic Vietnamese diner would is a good enough achievement? lol.

Finishing off the appetiser, my main arrived.  This time, another Asian inspired dish of Miso Seabass with a Soba salad.

This white fish is a favourite of mine because when cooked right its absolutely tender and smooth.  Sardine is well-known for their fish dishes and its smooth flesh did not disappoint!  Its accompaniment of soba was the perfect pairing for the miso basted fish.  My slight discontent though was the fact that the layer of miso on top could have been a bit more generous.  And to finish that good layer of miso, shall be a good broil to help all the miso caramelise to perfection.  Why more Miso?  For me the dish could have done with a little more salt and the caramelised miso also has an ability to accentuate the sweetness of the fish!


We skipped that dessert that night as it was probably the 4th or 5th meal we have had that day.  Sardine was an enjoyable dinner.  While the setting was worth raving about, the food as a whole felt a bit of a let down.  Do not get me wrong, it was in no way bad but it lacked that “special” touch and finish.  But if it’s the classics that you are looking for, Sardine will have plenty to offer.  Price wise, be prepared to pay around $40 for a full 3 course meal + drinks.  Not cheap by Balinese standards but still worth every penny.

Sardine Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato