Dear fellow tasters,
Continuing my previous post on Mama San, this one is about Sarong, her older sister restaurant. Located in the snazzy Petitenget area, Sarong has become a top Asian cuisine destination in Bali and proudly snagged a coveted position in The Miele Guide’s Asia’s Top 20 restaurants for 2011/2012. With a reservation for one that fine evening, I entered the front door leading to the alfresco outdoor lounge that I passed through to get to the main dining pavilion. The ambiance was ethnic and classy without being intimidating or pretentious, fine dining yet informal – flowing drapes, cozy armchairs and fluffy sofas, hanging chandeliers emanating soft yellowish lights, breezy open air atmosphere, and international patrons eager to savor what the multi-Asian-cultured kitchen had cooked up for them.
Menu wise, Sarong’s talented Chef Will Meyrick has put up a compilation of his culinary journeys across Asia, and brought street food from its humble origin to a dignified existence. It was such a tough decision for me to choose from so many: Indian, Thai, Vietnamese, Indonesian, Chinese, Sri Lankan. I settled for a Chinese starter, a Sri Lankan main and a glass of cocktail to begin with. While waiting for the food, I was served a platter of keripik tempe (battered tempe chips), a snack commonly found in Indonesia, especially in Java area. Eating the chips with a cocktail was a bit unconventional and definitely a first for me, even more when the drink is titled controversially as Porn Star, a three-part concoction of vodka, passion fruit foam and vanilla champagne.
Then the crispy pork belly with baby mandarin, ginger, chilli and black vinegar caramel appeared. It was a guilty dish with the pork belly and all, yet somehow the deep-frying was done perfectly, delectably crispy and tasty. Munching the pork belly with the tangy black vinegar caramel, the sweet mandarin, and the shocking and fiery chilli dipping sauce was an explosion of taste, a decadent treat to my palate. It was sinfully delicious that I had no option but to finish all those pork cubes albeit still having a curry waiting for the main.
The slow cooked lamb curry with coriander, cumin, lemongrass and curry leaves tasted mild after all that fire. Nevertheless, savoring the Sri Lankan dish with garlic naan on the side was a very enjoyable experience. The lamb was tender and cooked Sumatran rendang-like with slightly different herbs and spices flavors. To end the sumptuous dinner, I ordered a sample plate South East Asian desserts and a glass of moscato to befriend them. The desserts were toothsome and scrumptious, warm black sticky rice with coconut cream, klepon (black sticky rice balls with palm sugar), steamed coconut cake with jack fruit, durian pancake and caramel banana fritters, served with strawberry ice cream. The klepon and durian pancake were the ones I loved the most.
It was truly a wonderful dinner on a splendid Balinese evening. The food was mind-blowing with share friendly portion. I suppose that’s because of Chef Will’s belief on the Asian culture of sharing and enjoying food in togetherness. I’ll definitely be back another time should I have the chance to revisit Bali. It’s a promise!
Have fun sharing your Asian food!
The taster’s notes:
Favorite dish – the pork belly
What to try next time – everything else on the menu
No damage (complimentary), bill around 700k
PS: Apologies for the bad quality pictures of the food. Instead, I put up official photographs of Sarong’s interior and delicious-looking dishes to ponder upon, all courtesy of Sarong Group.Sarong
Jl. Petitenget No. 19 x
Kerobokan, Bali 80361
T / +62 361 4737809
F / +62 361 4737810