Culinary Bonanza: Glamorous Street Food at Balinese Fine Dining Restaurant
The name Sarong came from the idea that sarong is a piece of traditional cloth which exists in practically any Asian culture, only different names and designs. Today, sarongs are very common as casual wear at home for men and women of all races and religions across Asia, such as in Indonesia, Sri Lanka, Thailand, India, and Myanmar. In fact, these countries are the places where founding chef Will Meyrick found the inspirations to craft the eclectic menu at Sarong. It is Asian street food at its most glamorous state, sans the odor, sweat and flies.
The entire area of Sarong feels more like a spacious open air single-story Balinese pavilion with lush gardens at the front and the back. The ceiling is tall and raw, revealing the scaffold and the roof, giving an unfinished feel that is still tastefully decorated with lots and lots of curtains and plush sofas, chairs and lounge chairs. The standing vintage lamps, chandeliers and tealight candles added the mystical charm of Sarong. The warm light orchestrates a romantic and laid-back atmosphere that makes one wants to sit there for hours and savor the wine and fine delicacies served, to momentarily forget about the hustle and bustle beyond these walls. No wonder that couples love to spend hours for a romantic dinner here and I can assure that the conversation extends all the way beyond the dessert wine.
As you walk beyond the intricately carved-wooden door, you’ll enter a garden that’s been transformed into an outdoor lounge. The furniture features mainly dark-wood elements, with clean and minimalistic touch. I was previously warned me that this niche is dominated by Western patrons, so it was not surprising to spot only a handful Asians.
Written in English in one massive long page, the menu may be a challenge to read and comprehend to some. As each item is described in details, it was rather long-winded, so you can do it the dumb way: scan for the key ingredients in each dish, for example: seafood or meat, rice or noodles, soup or dry, grilled or steamed, etc.
For teasers, try the Sichuan Prawn Dumplings with Black Vinegar and Chili Oil Dressing. It comes served with coriander leaves, which some people may find too off-putting. Admittedly, the black vinegar was a little too salty, but this is actually Meyrick’s signature: bold and full-on flavors, so you won’t find anything subtle in his food.
For the main course, I chose Black Bean Crusted Grilled Baramundi with Garlic Green Chili Lime and Fresh Coriander. The grilled barramundi is served beautifully with a generous amount of greens at the side. It was well grilled outside, but tender and succulent inside. You could eat it without any sauces au naturel to taste the freshness of the fish. The portion is more than enough to feed 3 ladies.
Also recommended is the Phanang Curry Wagyu Beef with Chili Thai Basil and Crushed Peanuts, to be accompanied with a Garlic Naan or Pilaf Rice. The Pilaf rice uses basmati variety, garnished with fried shallots. The Phanang curry tasted very bold and strong. The curry gravy was simultaneously salty, sweet and spicy. The chunky peanuts add some dimension to the otherwise smooth gravy. The wagyu beef chunks swimming in the gravy were so tender, you could easily scoop it with only a spoon. This dish makes a killer combo with the fragrant Pilaf Rice, you might not be able to stop yourself from scooping again and again.
What we just had could’ve been shared among 4 people and each will still be fully satiated. But one could never say no to complimentary dessert. It’s a classic Balinese dessert, a platter comprising bubur injin (black sticky rice) which stashed a twist (inside you’ll find lychee fruits), a green kue klepon and the home-made mango ice cream. These would make a smooth finish to your classy and gratifying dinner.
Dining at Sarong is most recommended for big groups, where you order a few dishes and carbs like rice or bread for sharing, the way Asians do. So if you expect an individual serving portion, sorry to disappoint, but you’ll most probably unable to finish it by yourself, unless you’re Adam Richman from Man Vs. Food. However, if there are only 2 of you eating, Meyrick recommends you to order all the appetizers for sharing. That way, you can satiate the palate and still get to taste quite a variety of the food there.
PS: You have to be above 12 years old to be a patron at Sarong, unless prearranged by the management.
Sarong Bali Restaurant | Bar | Lounge
Jl. Petitenget no.19 X
Tel. 0361 737809
For more delicious treats, visit author’s blog at http://culinarybonanza.blogspot.com/