SANGSAKA offers the amazing combination of international standards with the spices of Indonesia utilising the expert skill of chef Kieran Moreland. It is an off shoot of the successful Merah Putih but oh so different. Merah Putih is bold and brassy, whereas Sangsaka is reserved and intimate, almost hidden behind the native shrubbery half way between Brabant and Petitenget, and so hidden can be difficult to find, but well worth the effort.
Their interpretation of that fine dining ‘amuse bouche’ is a forewarning of what is yet to come. Three small bite size creations with contrasting taste explosions. Essential to your order must be at least one serving of Roti Bakar, a quartered round of flat bread made with purple potato, dips of eggplant and tuturuga [pandan infused flavor from Manado], so easy to snack on.
The selection of small dishes is so tempting that it is possible to just make a meal of these, particularly as most are large enough to share between two diners. The main problem here is of choosing what to eat, so many tempting taste offerings. One of the most interesting is also one of the cheapest. Bebek Rica Rica, a generous slab of duck meat flavoured with those of Manado, leek, chilli and kemangi [lemon basil], served on a rice pancake which you fold around it and devour with a satisfied smile.
It is always a pleasant surprise to discover dishes that are both healthy and taste great. Such was the Sayur Labu, a mix of zucchini flower, banana heart, pumpkin and smoked coconut. Or what could be healthier than Jagung, just a kenari crusted corn cob in chilli butter. Even the simple Bak Pao is different, inside is chicken that was cooked Opor style in coconut milk. Betutu is a slab of duck breast cooked with those Balinese betutu spices and long beans, pumpkin and basa gede [nuts, ginger, turmeric and chillies].
Then there is the Pangsit, a langoustine dumpling with red peppers and coconut bisque or the top of the range a Beef Satay using oyster blade black Angus with cashews, soy and shallots.
For me the champ of the small plates was the Mie Udang, house prepared turmeric noodles tossed with garlic, chilli and yabbie flesh, a large yabbie sitting on top [pictured], although the strongly flavoured Babi Panggang [pork belly, smoked octopus] ran it a close second.
The mains cover every food group. Fish is the Ikan Menyatnyat, tempe crusted Emperor with taro and leek in a torch ginger curry. Udang Bumbu Bali combines ‘monster’ king prawn with tiger prawn, chilli, spinach and cilok [an Indonesian special of tapioca flour, ground toasted dried shrimp, thinly sliced scallions]. The Lamb is Shank with onions and lamb rissoles [meat balls, an Aussie touch from chef].
The selections continue with quail, suckling pig and beef cheek. For those who must have a steak there is a Rib Eye that has been wood roasted served with potato and oxtail, or for a dish shared between two; a real Wagyu, the Kagoshima Sirloin.
Three extra sambals can be ordered as sides, rice can be coconut rice or fried [with pork and prawn]. Then there are Broccoli Fritters or a side of wing beans and red beans. For first-timers the recommendation is to use the Tasting Menu, nine different dishes in five servings.
A wonderful introduction to the incredible tastes of Indonesia, which was not called the Spice Islands for nothing. Carefully crafted by a talented chef.
Restaurant : Sangsaka.
Address : Jl. Pangkung Sari 100, Kerobokan.
Telephone : 0812 3695 9895.
Open : Dinner only, from 6.00, daily.
Non-smoking Area : Inside in air-con.
Smoking Area : Front terrace.
Parking : Small off-road area at front.
Price : Rp. 700,000 for two [+ drinks].
Credit Cards : All major cards.
Food : International, with Asian spices.
Wine : Good list.
Service : Excellent.
Atmosphere : Relaxed, quality dining.
Overall : A great experience.
Reviews that appear in Bali Advertiser are based on actual visits to the establishments listed, without the knowledge of the restaurants, and are not paid for by the individual restaurants.
Opinions expressed here are those of Gerry Williams and not necessarily those of Bali Advertiser. Gerry Williams attempts to write from a ‘typical’ diner’s perspective and, whilst quality of food is the most important criteria overall, value for money is the real measuring stick.
Copyright © 2019 Gerry Williams