Dear fellow tasters,
A recent short trip to Bali took me food hopping and tasting around the upmarket and fashionable Seminyak beach area. There were actually more than ten places I managed to squeeze in my three days itinerary but two culinary establishments stood out amongst others and I decided to write about them first. Both are dear brain children of Will Meyrick, whose experiences in Sydney led him to open two well-acclaimed pan-Asian street-food-inspired restaurants in Bali, namely Sarong and Mama San. I was fortunate enough to have the opportunity to try their cuisines in one day, Mama San for lunch and Sarong for dinner. So, I will write about Mama San first, followed by Sarong on the coming post.
Situated in a former warehouse turned into a two-story kitchen-bar-and-lounge and actually the younger sister of Sarong, Mama San is concepted after a nickname for “a madam of authority in an Asian gentlemen’s club”. The ambiance is urban-meets-oriental, chic and cozy, casual yet refined. Entering the front door, I was greeted by framed portraits of the chef’s culinary pilgrimage across Asia and comfy brown leather sofas on the left, a snazzy bar decorated with wine bottles and racks on the right, and the iconic painting of Mama San wearing blue-ornamented cheongsam on the far end, like a mother looking down at her newly-found family. I suppose my friend and I were one of Mama’s family members that one fine afternoon.
Since we were still a bit full from a late breakfast, we only ordered three dishes to share. The first is a Thai seafood salad dish, “Yam Talay” of squid, shrimp and fish with onion, tomato, Asian celery and chili lime dressing. It tasted refreshing and spicy from the dressing, with bouncy and perfectly cooked seafood, and crisp cucumber, tomato, onion slices, and a dash of fried shallots and celery leaves. Next, we traveled to India on a platter of kachoori with yellow dahl coriander and mustard seeds served with mint chutney and tamarind chutney. The dahl filling was delicious with lovely fried crust and flattering minty and tangy flavors from the chutneys. Lastly, we savored a Chinese clear soup with pork dumpling, shrimp, egg noodles and bokchoy. There were also pork meatballs in them and they were my favorites. The spiced-up and flavorful pork balls were a scrumptious match to the light and tasty pork dumplings. We also loved the silky and luscious noodle and the dainty yet delightful clear soup.
From the drinks menu, we ordered the green goddess, a mixed juice of apple, pear, kiwi and celery, and the jackfruit honey lassi. The juice was actually my friend’s drink but we switched because he enjoyed the lassi very much. The beautiful blend of jackfruit and honey in a yoghurty glass of lassi was definitely a first for me. What’s next? Perhaps durian or rambutan?
When it was time for dessert, I was already feeling satiated but still managed to taste Mama’s chai tea caramel custard with cashew nut ice cream. It was like an edible milk tea or “teh tarik”. The ice cream on itself tasted a bit nutty for me, but when relishing it with the custard and caramel layer on the bottom, it was a perfectly balanced dessert combination. Wrapping up, I really had a superb lunch at Mama San and will definitely drop by to try Mama’s other cooked-up dishes, maybe Malay, Indonesian, Singaporean, Vietnamese or Cambodian.
Enjoy your Asian meal!
The taster’s notes:
Favorite dish – It was a tie between the yam talay and clear soup
What to try next time – everything else on the menu
No damage (complimentary), bill around 350k