09 February - 23 February, 2011
Update Cafe des Artistes is not a Thai restaurant. However, a couple of their Thai dishes are as good, or better, than what is served up in many so-called Thai restaurants in Bali. Once a year, during green mango season, they offer, on special, one of my all-time favourite Thai dishes, even though it was originally imported from China many centuries ago, before being vastly improved by the Thais, Lemon Chicken. The soft breast meat encased in breadcrumbs, deep-fried and topped with a very piquant, not at all sickly sweet, lemon sauce beside a pile of fresh chilli laden, slightly sour, green mango. It is the ultimate Thai combination of hot, sweet and sour, and all at the same time. However there is one other dish which is on the permanent menu at Café des Artistes, Yum Neua. Now Thai Beef Salad, along with the famous Tom Yam Goong soup, both appear on hundreds of menus in Bali, and sadly as a rule neither of them are close to the original. However at CDA it is just about the best combination I have ever had, the marinated strips of tender beef [warm] tossed with many paper thin strips of juicy cucumber that have been sliced endwise, crushed peanuts, mung beans, coriander, mint and chilli [pictured]. The Thais often use fresh fruit to counter balance the fire of the chilli and this is a perfect example. But then ‘balance’ is the secret of great Thai food, and this one has it all. C/R/G-12 Jan. 11
Pearl Restaurant has closed for their annual holidays as Chef Jeremy is off exploring the new tastes in Europe and is sure to add some interesting new dishes to his already tempting menu at this classic small French garden restaurant in the Pearl Hotel, Jln. Double Six, Legian. Re-opening Thursday February 24. Kakiang Bakery has been set up, temporarily, on Jln. Dewa Sita, in Ubud, whilst the Kakiang Resort and Café is totally rebuilt. Originally it was to be only for take away sales of their breads, cakes and pastries, but they have now placed two mini tables each with two chairs on the footpath just outside the entrance. My early morning Toasted Ham & Cheese Croissant and Illy Coffee breakfast lives again! Ubud has been quiet in recent years with only an occasional opening of a new restaurant. However in recent months there have been many, so we try to catch up:
C/R/I-17 Nov 10
Saigon Saveurs has now opened above the Bintang Supermarket, in Campuhan, Ubud. It offers a small but interesting selection of Vietnamese specialties. Spring Rolls can be fried [cha goi] or fresh [goi cuon] and the Hanoi style Shrimp Cake [banh tom na noi] is a popular starter. Whilst the famous Vietnamese beef noodle soup, Pho Bo, is a major attraction and the Vermicelli with either lemongrass beef or chicken is also worth a visit. Warung Makan 54 is found on Jln. Raya Kengetan in Singakarta, a convenient pitstop along the busy road that connects the south of Bali with Ubud, Kintamani and beyond to Singaraja. It is a local warung with a bit of style, immaculately clean, a nice bar and the usual rear garden eating area. Self-styled as Balinese cuisine many of the dishes are general Indonesian but only those that are popular amongst the Balinese; Ayam Bakar and Goreng, Bebek Goreng, large plates of Sate Ayam, Nasi Sela [rice flavoured with cassava] in a Nasi Campur selection with Balinese sambals, Pesan Lindung [baby eels], etc. Also on offer is a range of Arak cocktails.
Warung Sate Kukul features ‘snails on a stick’ and is another rustic all bamboo construction a bit further up the same road, opposite the old petrol station at the turn to Ubud. Other dishes include all the standard Indonesian warung fare. Warung Om Namaste is a giant multi-level bamboo structure, overlooking the rice fields in banjar Katik Lantang, on the road running south from Penestanan. It serves Indian food and includes all the staples; Samosa and Pekora to start, Vegetarian [Aloo Gobi, Dal and Mixed Vegetarian curries], Meat Mains [Butter Chicken. Mutton, Fish and Prawn curries] and rice dishes [Vegetarian, Chicken and Mutton Biryani] and a plate of Chapati on the side.
Bridges has opened, on the bridge at Campuhan, after a major renovation, multi-tiered down towards the river. A talented young Australian chef is producing exciting food from their kitchen. The day starts early with breakfasts [soft poached eggs in traditional Benedict form or variations styled as Atlantic and Italian]. A creative Goat Cheese Brulee is a hollowed out beetroot stuffed with thyme infused goat cheese topped with crisp prosciutto and roasted garlic. A Baked Apple is filled with shredded confit of duck. Mandarin Pancakes are a pile of blinis to which you add the hoisin duck pieces, fresh cucumber, Thai basil and chilli. Red Pepper Crusted Chicken has been covered with salt, pepper and coriander then served with a coconut sauce. To finish a 3 Spiced Poached Pear [red wine, star anise and vanilla/cinnamon]. What a refreshing change to find a totally new menu, that is not just a copy of others!
Bollero is in Jln. Dewi Sita, where once stood Gaia and before that the original site for Tutmak. With some connection to the very successful Ibu Rai on Monkey Forrest Road, it has had a very stylish fit out. Spring Rolls are in two forms; Duck with glass noodles, onion and chilli the sauces citrus and sweet chilli and the traditional Vietnamese fresh version rice paper rolled around shredded greens, cucumber, prawns and bean sprouts, the sauce nuoc cham of course. The Coconut Spinach and Coriander Soup has a prawn and coconut dumpling. For meat-loving tourists from OZ a Mixed Grill, beef, chicken and king prawns turning it into an American style ‘surf and turf’! Honey Ginger Cashew Chicken and a Seafood Laksa are other options. Gerry Williams For more information see our website: www.balieats.com C/R/G-9 Feb. 11