DD Warung, as reported in a previous column, has re-opened, It is now larger and far more presentable, on Jln.Danau Poso, Sanur. Its original location was in an unattractive old style warung. It was a tribute to the quality and value of the excellent Thai food served there that it was so popular. In a much more professional location it has now returned. I have since tried the food at the new location I am very pleased to report that the menu, and food quality, is exactly the same. This is Thai food as served in Thai homes, no ‘dumbing down’ for western tastes. Some of the dishes served here have never been seen before in Bali. A good example is Yum Pla Duk Foo. Many years ago at Darley Street Thai in Sydney their chef, David Thompson, explained to me how it was prepared. Cold water fish is dropped into very hot oil. The result is that it explodes, as if shredded. It is served with Som Tum on top [green mango salad] a perfect match. Thai food is all about contrast and balance and DD Waring always seems to get that right. Another family special on the menu here is their Krao Pao [a favourite breakfast for many and what Thai women cook for their visiting grandchildren]. In Thailand it is usually minced pork, outside of Thailand it is more often chicken, wok fried with green beans, onion, chilli and more chilli, on top is an egg flash-fried Thai style [crisp crunchy white, soft yolk]. For this dish, [pictured], there is no shame to say medium for the chilli. However it is a common misnomer that all Thai dishes use Chilli, they do not. Such is the case with Kai Med Ma Muang [Chicken Cashew], just many healthy vegetables [broccoli, tomato, baby corn, onion and fungus] as well as the chicken strips and cashew nuts.
Moana is on Jln. Pamtai Batu Bolong in Canggu. It calls itself a ‘fish eatery’, a strange title but I guess that is what it really is. The owner is Polynesian and the fish is prepared in that style. Many of the dishes feature raw fish, even in some of the salads. In fact the Poke Bowl is a raw fish salad that originated in Hawaii. Tuna can be just seared in a Carpaccio [Italian, Polynesian or just International?] but the cooked versions are never overcooked which is a pleasant change. There are also many grilled fish dishes and that normally includes an excellent Mahi Mahi.
Pearl is a French restaurant in a small boutique hotel of the same name, at the end of a small gang off what used to be called Jln. Double Six [Jln. Arjuna] Open for dinner only it has survived, in an almost hidden location, for almost 9 years, enough proof that it is doing something very special. The small but well thought out menu has a surprising number of interesting dishes for this area of Bali. The Lobster Bisque is very French. Ravioli stuffed with eggplant caviar and goat cheese with a thyme sauce is an interesting vegetarian option. The Beef Carpaccio could be called French – Italian as the finely sliced beef is combined with shaved foie gras, poached fig and black truffle powder. Star of the mains is the Lamb Shank; unusually it is de-boned, in mustard with fried garlic eggplant and potato gratin. For me there is an old favourtite, rarely seen in Bali, the Crepinette, which is a ball of minced chicken and pork that has been combined with mushroom and garlic. The French desserts are usually special. If you fancy a Crème Brulee, it comes in three flavours. The Soft Gingerbread is rosemary flavoured or you can just order a tasting plate.
Queen’s Tandoor has long been Bali’s most respected Indian restaurant, not only are the chefs imported from India but so are the chillis and other spices. Authentic it is! Located on Jln. Raya Seminyak it is always busy, a sure sign that the value for money is there. With a 14 year track record it has nothing more to prove. With a growing regular clientele they have a number of special set menus for those who want to dine early [between 5.00 and 7.00 p.m.] any day of the week. Great value! Three different styles, depending on your taste and how hungry you are. The Biryani can be chicken, lamb, fish or vegetable, and is served with plain raita. Express Curry can also be chicken, lamb, fish or vegetable and is with a half serve of rice and one roti of your choice. Perhaps you just want a quick snack, choose from Dosa Sambhar, Dahl Chawal, Curd Rice & Rasam, Chollay Batura, Puri Aloo or Misi Roti Saag. Whichever menu you choose you will be coming back for more.
Cocoon, Jln. Double Six at Blue Ocean Beach, Legian is not a ‘steakhouse’ though it probably serves more steaks every week than any other restaurant in Bali. Last year they began a Thursday Steak Night, it proved to be so popular that they then added a Tuesday Steak Night. Why the success? They offer a selection of imported steaks at quite amazing prices. Porterhouse, Tenderloin and Scotch Fillet are some of the special cuts available. All prices at Cocoon are now shown as net of taxes and service charge, the way most tourists want it. 250gm Tenderloin is only Rp. 200,000 Net, whilst a whopping 400 gm of Porterhouse is priced at only Rp. 240,000 Net. A monster 450gm Rib Eye is served on the bone @ Rp. 300,000, as is the 500gm T Bone. The steaks are all served with salad, chips and onion rings. A glass of Plaga Cabernet Sauvignon to go with the steak is only Rp. 50,000 Net [Rp. 250,000 for a bottle]. I recently tried their Eye Fillet, which is always available on the normal daily menu. I can not recall ever enjoying a better steak. The monster steak knife [almost a Kris] just sliced through the meat as if it was butter, yet being so tender did not retract from the taste. With so many other mains at Cocoon also being attractively priced, I doubt if there is a better value for money quality restaurant in Bali.
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