Monday, October 08, 2012

Our trip to Bali

C says:

We recently took a short trip to Bali, and while beach holidays aren't really our thing, much preferring ice and snow to sun and surf, we'd read and heard enough about the food in Bali to decide that it was about time we paid a visit.

A few places did indeed live up to our expectations, and deserve their own posts so more on those separately. For now, we'll cover the best (or not) of the rest.

Ku De Ta

We stayed in the Seminyak area, and Ku De Ta was a short cab ride (or a long beach walk) away. We ordered stuff from their Grazing menu, and were very pleasantly surprised with the quality.

Standouts were the barbequed pork ribs with an Indonesian marinade, a lobster and pork gyoza, and extremely tender fried calamari. Flavours were very well balanced, and portions really quite generous.

A peek at their dinner menus showed a lot of promise, so that's definitely an option if we ever find ourselves back there again


Metis benefits from an amazing space - a huge building amongst sprawling padi fields. Unfortunately they take ambience and mood lighting a bit too far. I appreciate if you want to set a romantic vibe, but I also want to be able to actually see what I'm eating. Photos were impossible because it was just too dark. We should have taken cousin L's advice and come here before Bali’s really early sunsets at about 6.30.

Food-wise, I think they have potential, but they're a bit too aggressive with the flavour of their sauces. A consistent note throughout all the dishes is that the main ingredients were all but masked by the sauces, such that the latter was all you tasted.

They specialise in souffles, and since the menu advises a 30 minute wait, we ordered one at the start of the meal. After the mains, we waited an inordinate amount of time for dessert. They finally told us that the souffle had broken, and offered to either make another one (hence at least another half hour wait), or offer us ice cream on the house. We opted for the latter, and while it was a nice gesture, I really would've liked to try their famous souffle.

BBQ seafood at Jimbaran Bay

This was hands down the most disappointing meal of the trip. Again, I'd read a lot about the stretch of BBQ seafood restaurants along the beach at Jimbaran Bay, most of which are apparently tourist traps, but a few have been singled out as serving really good grilled seafood at reasonable prices.

After a soul-destroying 2 hour cab ride from Seminyak, we headed for Menega Cafe, which had the most smoke billowing from it which we took as a good sign.

We had squid which turned out to be skewered rather than a whole squid, prawns and a red snapper. The seafood had a nice char, but was at a rather unappetising room temperature when it was served. Also, while it was marinated in a garlicky sweetish sauce, it was undersalted so it all tasted a bit flat.

Yes, it was really cheap. The entire meal set us back less than S$30, but with an almost 4-hour round trip cab ride costing S$40, it just doesn't add up.

Ibu Oka

Bali is famous for babi guling (or roast suckling pig), with none more famous than Ibu Oka, a road side warung in Ubud that's been lauded to death in just about any article on food in Bali, and been given Anthony Bourdain's stamp of approval. Naturally, how could we not go?

You can order a number of different permutations - we had a mixed plate, with meat, crackling, crispy fried intestines and blood sausage served with rice on the side (another option has them all served on top of the rice), and a plate of just the meat and crackling.

I loved the fried intestines and the crackling was pretty good too, but at the risk of being lynched, I dare say that the pig meat itself didn't impress me all that much. Maybe because it was all doused in a watery spiced jus that was pretty salty, or maybe I just have very high expectations for my suckling pig. I certainly don't think this alone is worth a trip to Ubud.

A says:

Ku De Ta had the most interesting menu. And while I had high hopes for Metis, the sauce for everything was seriously over-seasoned. Of the places listed here, I’d only go back to Ku De Ta.

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