Thus when we walked into the place, we were most pleasantly surprised. This was also the first Balinese restaurant we have ever been to - in Malaysia and in any other part of the world.
The restaurant is located on Jalan Mutiara Tropicana 3 (off Persiaran Tropicana) in Mutiara Damansara, PJ. It may be a wee bit tricky to find if you can not familiar with the place. It is not too far from the Tropicana Golf Club.
The place was very pleasantly and tastefully furnished with unmistakable Balinese wooden furniture, paneling, soft lighting, and various Balinese artifacts and paintings. They used oil lamps to create a real soft cozy dining atmosphere.
We were ushered to a table on the ground floor, which was very well patronized that night.
After making our menu selection, I wandered upstairs and discovered an even more cozy and conducive dining hall. The up-stair dining area had a more Balinese ambiance, with wooden benches and throw-pillows.
I have never been to Bali and had no idea what Balinese food was all about. The menu was both familiar and new. I could recognize quite a number of the selections that were common with Malay cuisines. Others were totally alien.
The soto ayam was one familiar name. But the way it was served was anything but. It was presented as a soup, without any noodles or nasi impit (rice cake). Instead, a piece was garlic bread was offered. The soup was ok, not particularly great. It was a bit starchy - kind of a strange texture. I have tasted better soto ayam.
We selected the Balinese Trio - a combo of 3 types of food. We thought it would be a good way to taste a bit of the various Balinese cuisines. The three were barbecued chicken wings, 'cumi cumi goreng' which was deep fried squids, and 'sate lilit' which was a grilled fish and meat paste wrapped around a lemon grass (serai). They were served with 2 different types of sauces. All 3 servings were delicious. However, I did find them rather dry. Considering that the dish was meant as snacks for beer drinkers, I guess my complaint is unjustified.
The Kambing Bumbu was delightful. It was stir-fried lamb served with nasi kunyit (turmeric rice) and various accompaniments including kangkong, a small plate of tempe (fermented soy beans) and long beans and a piece of crispy fried cracker. I particularly enjoyed the nasi kunyit. It was fluffy and aromatic.
We shared a serving of pisang bakar for dessert. It was grilled banana served with a scoop of vanilla ice cream, dessicated coconut strips, a sprinkling of peanut candy and a generous amount of rich caramel. My family found it too sweet, but I enjoyed it. It was great dessert after the spicy Balinese meal.
My meal was made complete with a mug of nice cold beer.
It was a very satisfying meal. As we walked out, I noticed they installed a wash basin at the entrance of the restaurant. What a considerate convenience. You could use it after your meal, or as mum had always insisted, wash your hands before you eat.
After the heavy meal, we took a walk and explored the nearby Jaya Grocers to burn off. Then we headed for home. We got into the car, inserted the key but nothing happened. The car was dead. The battery went flat. What an end to a lovely evening. The conked battery - that is a separate story....