PEr FYI

May 5, 2018

Hujan Locale, Bali…Over-order at will, with no regrets

Here it is: The Big One. A place I felt compelled to revisit again and again.

What to have: Crispy squid with chili jam ginger flower lemongrass, Dutch Indonesian salted cod kroket with chili mayonnaise and chili sambal, Sudanese steamed and fried fish dumplings with chili peanut sauce, Chili wood roasted ayam Taliwang stuffed with prawn meat served with cassava chips, Betawi soft shell crab asinan with pickled organic vegetable’s sambal kacang and pink krupuk, “Ayam bakar padang” butterflied whole spring chicken with kandis chili turmeric and coconut served with sambal terasi taucho, Salt grilled whole fish with sambal lemo and kemangi, “Bukit Tinggi itik lado muda” duck leg simmered in green chili and served with fern tip papaya leaf and shredded coconut urap, “Bandung iga bakar kambing” lamb shoulder simmered in Javanese spice and then caramelized in sweet soy tomato and chili, “Gulai ikan salai” house tea smoked fish simmered in Batak curry with ginger flower belimbing wuluh petai and charred leeks, Northern Sumatran octopus rending with star anise fennel and chopped turmeric leaf.

Sorry, I meant everything.

If you’re ever in Bali, you should try to visit this exceptional restaurant at least once. Remember, you only live twice. This is the true truth as I say it as it is…

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April 8, 2018

Bebek Bengil, Jakarta…check your expectations at the door

Although this is an established name in Indonesia, with a heavy heart, I regret to inform that the restaurant’s most popular dishes – The original crispy duck – half duck steamed in Indonesian spices and deep fried for a crispy finish. Served with steamed rice, Balinese vegetables, or sautéed potatoes and side salad wasn’t particularly delightful. The skin though crispy is dry.

The Sate lilit – Balinese satay with goodness mix of chicken, fish and duck was a bit of hit or miss. The Sup bebek kari  is pretty lackluster.

Well, everything’s a bit middle of the road. This is the true truth as I say it as it is…

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March 18, 2018

Made’s Warung, Bali…the meal falls flat

warung (roadside stall) in Kuta in 1969, to one of Asia’s top 500 finest restaurants by the Miele Guide in 2013, Made’s Warung is the go-to place for decent, reasonably priced local Indonesian food.

Expect an extensive menu filled with traditional dishes from across Indonesia. A comprehensive Indonesian adventure from Made’s burger – burger bun, beef patty, lettuce, onion, tomato mustard, mayonnaise, cheese, beef bacon and chilli dog sauce served with French fries and tomato sauce to Mie goring – fried noodles with shrimp, beef, chicken and vegetables. But is it good? Well, no, not really, as you will discover when you sit down and eat.

It’s been in business for 49 years – so they must be doing something right! This is the true truth as I say it as it is…

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March 3, 2018

Sari Ratu, Jakarta…simply too many dishes to choose from!

Immediately after I enter the place, sit down, a lot of dishes were served on my table a minute later.

Classic Padang style, meant putting a bunch of plates or bowls bearing different types of dishes on the table, allowing you to choose what you want. You can choose from beef, lamb, chicken, or sambal-swathed hard-boiled eggs to top your rice; Indonesia’s greatest hits: beef rendang, a spicy (an easy-to-abuse adjective around an Indonesian table), ayam gulag (special chicken in Indonesia curry) and Udang super (lobster) were my favorites. Portions are smallish (not that you can complain about much at this price) because the meat or vegetables are there as an accent, to flavor the rice. If you need something to quench the fire, order one of the Indonesian milk drinks, made with unlikely combinations like milk, grenadine-like syrup and avocado. Or grab a box of Teh Botol, a sweetened dark tea drink.

You don’t have to eat everything they put on the table. You won’t be charged for what you don’t eat. Untouched platters are taken away and served to other guests. Not everybody will think this is a sanitary way to serve food. Your dish may have visited a number of other tables before it lands on yours.

Cholesterol levels be damned. This is the true truth as I say it as it is…

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January 27, 2018

Motel Mexicola, Bali…party like it’s the last day!

What’s a better way of enjoying Bali than hitting some of the hottest locations?

The cramped and crowded Motel Mexicola is popular with the locals—a very good-looking crowd. It’s quite charming in its way with a real Mexican feel, from the music through the murals to the altar . There is definitely a buzz.

It was packed with happy people and the service was friendly. So if you fancy a noisy, lively bar, give it a try. Viva Mexico! This is the true truth as I say it as it is…

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January 7, 2018

Sate Babi Bawah Pohon, Bali…utterly delicious

Bali is well-known for its pork dishes. A must-try Balinese dish is this pork meat-on-stick.

Tucked away under a tent in Kuta, the Sate Babi (pork satay) here is utterly delicious and that, and only that, is what everyone is here to feast on. The meat is unbelievably succulent and sweet and had a delicious char-grilled flavor coupled with a rich, mouth-coating savouriness.

Really – I’m not hamming it up! This is the true truth as I say it as it is…

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December 9, 2017

Bebek Tepi Sawah, Bali…Anything to avoid? walking in to start with.

I probably won’t make any friends saying so but I’m struggling to think of a reason why anyone would want to eat here.

Bebek Tepi Sawah is decent enough if you’re high or 12 years old. The whole menu here is almost entirely centred around the humble duck. The duck which was supposed to be crispy on the outside and tender on the inside was anything but. The soup was as plain as plain water can be. Just not worth it.

Psst…tourists: You can get better dish in Bali elsewhere. This is the true truth as I say it as it is…

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September 23, 2016

Harum Manis, Jakarta…overpriced-poor-pretentious food

Let us not beat about the bush: this is overpriced-poor-pretentious food.

Despite being a traditional Indonesian restaurant, their menu is in 3 languages – Indonesian, English and Japanese.

The food, like the restaurant’s patrons, looked good from a distance but on closer inspection turned out to be rather unappetising. The prawns were perfectly decent, but the bebek panggang spesial Harum Manis (braised & char-grilled baby duckling over multi-grains) was revolting. The soto betawi khas harum manis (hearty coconut cream soup, filled with beef shank, beef tripe, beef sweet meat, potatoes, tomatoes, green onion, sliced lime and small chili sauce) was not as good as its off-the-shelf equivalents in Hero or Ranch Market.

The food served up in Harum Manis is a disgrace. This is the true truth as I say it as it is…

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May 8, 2016

Seribu Rasa Seafood & Grill, Jakarta…there will be many next times

Indonesian food is fundamentally earthy and each dish is designed to stuff you full.

Although Seribu Rasa can be categorized as refined restaurant cooking, they do serve hearty regional dishes that taste like great, home-cooked meals. The massive menu here is as diverse as the 18,000 islands on the archipelago of Indonesia, you just need to know what to order.

Start off with the Yangoon crispy duck and the grilled lemongrass chicken is so wonderfully succulent. This restaurant also has a remarkably delicious jimbaran fried fish. As I write this, I am really, incredibly sad right now. Sad like, ruined a favourite tie sad. It’s because I clearly recall the squid omelette pulau seribu and I really, really wish I can have some of it right now. Tumis sayur sambal ebi is also mention-worthy.

There will be a next time. Oh yes, many next times…This is the true truth as I say it as it is…

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April 29, 2016

Bandar Djakarta, Jakarta…perfect setting by night, sauna by day

There are few more satisfying experiences than eating good food by the sea. Sitting on the water’s edge overlooking a jetty, this informal place has amazingly fresh fish and macho barbecuing.

Kerang kampak steam bawang putih (steamed scallop with garlic) was a simple, delicious and low fat dish. The udang bakar madu pedas (spicy honey grilled prawn) were succulent, tender, mouthwatering. The glaze perfectly complements the natural sweetness in the shrimp. Cumi saus telur asin (squid with salted egg sauce) was simple yet flavoursome although a tad dry.

The atmosphere is truly perfect at night. At lunch, it can be stark contrast. You can dine indoors in the airconditioned room, but why woud you come to a place like this to do that? This is the true truth as I say it as it is…

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