Review: Sassy Sarong still going strong in Seminyak, Bali

Recently some foodie friends of mine visited Seminyak on a week long rest, relaxation and fine dining tour. When I requested their top 3 picks they admitted that despite trying many of the hot newcomer restaurants they felt that Will Meryck’s Sarong restaurant in Jalan Petitinget was still their top choice for the food, service and atmosphere.

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After very many years of visiting Bali I have been to Sarong on quite a few occasions including having a great time here on New Year’s Eve 2013. We had stopped in to Seminyak for a few days on this trip to stop in to some of the great restaurants by the coast before heading to Ubud – of course Sarong was also top of our list to go back to. We booked ahead via their website which is easy to do and highly recommended because it fills up quickly even in the low season.

We arrived to met by their traditional warm welcome and we’re seated in the beautiful garden. The warm interiors and gorgeous lighting throughout creates a magical setting for evening dining in particular.

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Sarong does great cocktails and I couldn’t go past the Refreshing Raspberry Mojito to begin and we ordered a bottle of D’Arenberg Shiraz to go with dinner. Wines are expensive due to taxes and in this case the wine was almost half our bill but was worth it to complement the great food.

For entrees we couldn’t go past the betel leaves with raw tuna and the signature pork belly with Sichuan pepper and a divinely Tamarindo and tamarind chutney. Knowing the generous size of the mains we settled on the stir fried chilli prawns with an interesting sauce featuring curry leaves and Indonesians flavours and the Bebe Madura – twice cooked duck with Balinese sambals. For a bit of green alongside, we chose sautéed green beans with Sambal Olek. (Unfortunately no room for dessert!)

 

Needless to say the sassy sauces and variety of cooking techniques used for this variety of dishes, along with super fresh ingredients and herbs all combined with trademark Sarong service resulted in another wonderful dining experience at Sarong. If you haven’t been there yet – it is a must do on any visit to Seminyak!

Thanks to Sarong Bali for the great images from your Facebook page and website http://www.sarongbali.com

 

Review: New Year’s Foodie Nirvana at Mozaic Restaurant Ubud, Bali

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Tray of fresh herbs and spices featured in menu

Our special treat for New Year’s Eve 2015 was to book in to the acclaimed, award-winning Moziac Restaurant in Ubud for their special seven course degustation.

Chef Chris Salans opened Mozaic in 2001 bringing together the indigenous flavours of Indonesian herbs, spices and vegetables with first class imported ingredients such as wagyu beef, black truffles, foie gras all prepared with sophisticated French and European cooking techniques.

The resulting menus and dishes have earned Chris Salans and his team a list of awards as long as your arm, not to mention, calls for a Michelin Star from Mozaic’s international diners.

As you can imagine, our expectations were set very high as we stepped through the beautiful wooden doors into the Mozaic Lounge for a pre-dinner aperitif and complimentary appetiser. We were brought an appetiser of a light as air tiny profiterole filled with a luscious savoury, truffle infused custard.

Our host explained the wine pairing menu with dinner which we decided to go with, and we were very well rewarded , as each of the wines complimented the complex flavours of each of the courses perfectly.

We entered the atmospheric garden pavilion surrounded by beautiful tropical plants and festive new year decorations to be seated for dinner. Divine setting!

One of the best initiatives is the tray of fresh spices that is brought to each table and as each course is presented, the waiters explain which of the spices and herbs are used in each dish. With many of the ingredients unique to Indonesia, this is a great way for diners to touch and smell them and understand more about what they are about to enjoy.

Each course is inspired by a theme of the local flavour featured e.g torch ginger flower or kaffir lime.

Our seven course eating odyssey began with a complimentary amuse Bouche of sweet lobster with a light cucumber and lime foam. It was an delicious introduction to the greater things to come.

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It would be too difficult to try to explain each of the courses in detail so instead all I will do is post my photographs with the menu titles and short descriptions.

I can only recommend that if you are going to Ubud that you visit Mozaic for a truly amazing dining experience. At $170-350 per head depending on your wine choices, it is by no means cheap but it is in comparison to what you would pay in any major city for the same quality of food, ambience and service.

Foodie Nirvana indeed!

For restaurant information visit http://www.mozaic-bali.com

Dabu Dabu (Indonesian sambal)
Fresh chilled oysters with Dabu Dabu Relish and Russian Sturgeon Caviar

Kecicang(Torch Ginger Flower)
Seared Freshwater Sulawesi Yabbies, Radish puree, Ginger flower, chargrilled watermelon and Black Truffle

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Seared Freshwater Sulawesi Yabbies, Radish puree, Ginger flower, chargrilled watermelon and Black Truffle

Sereh(Lemongrass)
Duo of chilled and smoked Foie Gras with apples and lemongrass

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Duo of chilled and smoked Foie Gras with apples and lemongrass

Tempe (Fermented soy bean)
Stockyard Wagyu Beef, Fermented soy bean and Fresh Winter Black Truffle Crumble

Kemangi (Lemon Basil)
Balinese Lemon Basil and Celery Sorbet with Ciroc vodka

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Balinese Lemon Basil and Celery Sorbet with Ciroc vodka

Pala(Fresh Nutmeg)

A.O.C. Vacherin Cheese with Fresh nutmeg Pericarp and reduction

Jeruk Purut (Kaffir Lime)
Kaffir Lime Clay with Valrhona Chocolate and Kaffir Lime Sorbet

Top Thai with views in Singapore

We are in Singapore visiting our son Nick who has been posted here for work since earlier this year. Now living the life of an ex-pat, Nick is being a great tour guide during our stay. Last night we went down for a walk along Boat Quay along the river. The Quay is a bustling tourist destination with a range of restaurants from Lebanese and French to Indian and Singapore Seafood. We chose Lanna Thai for dinner after drinks at the Red Spot Brewery further down the Quay.

Clean and orderly, Lanna Thai at Boat Quay in Singapore
Clean and orderly, Lanna Thai at Boat Quay in Singapore

We were greeted warmly by the waiter and given a lovely table right on the riverside with views of the stunning Marina Bay Sands building, Fullerton Hotel and passing boats in the background. After ordering drinks, which are expensive, we decided to start with some Thai standards – mix satay of chicken, beef and mutton and Thai fishcakes. The satays came with a delicious satay sauce in which you could taste the freshly roasted and crushed peanuts. The Thai fishcakes were super authentic achieving that elastic texture and lightnness that only Thai cooks seem to know how to get.

Thai green chicken curry and Roast Boneless Duck at Lanna Thai
Thai green chicken curry and Roast Boneless Duck at Lanna Thai

Succulent and tender roast boneless pork
Succulent and tender roast boneless pork

For mains we chose Butter Grilled Prawns in Claypot, Thai Green Chicken Curry and Roast Boneless Duck. I ordered Nam Prik(fresh sliced chilli in fish sauce) as a side sauce to add that extra kick of spice. The food was so surprisingly good for what looks like a tourist trap restaurant, I forgot to take photos until we were almost done. Certainly the grilled king prawns with their sweet, succulent meat deliciously enhanced with a butter sauce were demolished quickly as was the meltingly tender boneless duck.

Lanna Thai Green Chicken Curry, the chicken was thinly sliced to absorb the flavours from the delicious cocnut curry sauce. Thai basil., Apple and pea eggplant and bamboos shoots featured in curry too.
Lanna Thai Green Chicken Curry, the chicken was thinly sliced to absorb the flavours from the delicious cocnut curry sauce. Thai basil., Apple and pea eggplant and bamboos shoots featured in curry too.

imageThe Thai Green Chicken Curry was spiced exactly right with a finely balanced cocnut curry sauce and authentic vegetables such as apple and pea eggplants, bamboos shoots, and Thai basil.
Prices are calibrated for tourists so expect to pay $70-80 per head depending on how many you drinks you have! (Wine of course is as with much of Asia at silly prices for silly brands, so beer and spirits are the go!)
Not usually a fan of tourist area restaurants, I was very pleasantly surprised by the authenticity and quality of the food at Lanna Thai and would recommend a visit if you are heading to Boat Quay.

All that was left of the Sweet king prawns cooked in an indulgent butter sauce.
All that was left of the Sweet king prawns cooked in an indulgent butter sauce.

The spirit of sharing: foodie adventures from far and wide

I started my blog in the spirit of sharing my foodie adventures with likeminded people. Free Spirit Food is inspired by my travels and (mainly) foodie adventures including reviews of cooking classes, markets and restaurants. Having spent my early childhood in South Africa I grew up surrounded by the smells and taste sensations of my extended family’s delicious Indian cooking. I also took for granted our weekly Sunday roast dinners or sampling traditional African food. Then when we moved to Australia my horizons expanded to Italian and of course Thai, Chinese and Vietnamese delights. My travels have also fanned the flames of my interest in cooking and exploring the tantalising flavours of the world. I hope my recipes, reviews, tips and tales will inspire you to try some new foodie adventures at home and afar. Shanthini

Icing on the cake - Easter in Sydney
Icing on the cake – Easter in Sydney

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