We didn't realize it then, but we had eaten the food there before - although not in the same restaurant. Had we been aware of it, we probably would had gone somewhere else.
The place was very nicely furnished. The atmosphere was elegant, elaborate and distinctly Balinese with numerous artifacts that authenticated this aura.
Particularly impressive was a huge painting that was so intricately and artistically done.
They have 2 dining areas - a comfortable conventional indoor place...
And a relaxing alfresco (outdoor) area for smokers.
It was when we browsed the menu that deja vu crept in. Crystal commented that the menu was the same as that at the Waterlily. The listed food certainly looked the same. But we doubtful. That was Waterlily. This was Ole Ole. Could they be the same? We asked the waitress who took our orders. She confirmed that we were indeed in the same restaurant chain.
Somewhat disappointed because I wanted to taste a different Balinese place, we made sure not to order the same dishes we had at the Waterlily. Our first was the "Sop Buntut" - the oxtail soup. The soup was light. The beef (tail) in it was adequate. There were some nasi impit (rice cake). It was served with a piece of garlic bread, some deep fried shallots, fresh coriander and a slice of lime. I had tried "soup buntut" in Jakarta and I had liked its rich and spicy flavor. The soup here paled in comparison.
The next dish we shared was the "Tipat Cantuk". It was like the Indonesian gado-gado (a salad) with some veges, tofu, boiled egg and a piece of grilled chicken. It was served with a peanut sauce. It was pleasant. The sauce was very nice. But I would prefer a little more veges.
Lastly, we had a plate of chicken and fish combo. Both the meats were grilled. It was served with half a cob of corn and a bowl of slaw. The gravy was thick and peppery which was quite good. The essence of this dish was really the gravy.
I really cannot pin point the reasons but somehow the experience here was not as good as that in Waterlily. Perhaps it was the disappointment that this was the same restaurant and not being able to try something different. And when we scanned the menu again for dessert, we were not in the mood to remain there and decided to go elsewhere.
We moved one floor up to this place named 'T forty two'. It is a combined boutique and a tea/coffee place. They offered a tantalizing selection of over-priced cakes and pastries. We made our orders and proceeded to their sitting area outside the shop.
Their sitting area in a barricaded foyer of the first floor is rather chic. It had elegant furniture. But because they were so over-priced, the place was largely vacant - save the 3 of us.
The coffee was served in quaint small cups and saucers...
So were the macarons and tiramisu that Crystal picked...
Fanciful place and crockery alright. And so was the money we had to pay....
At the time of this blog posting, the Empire Galley is still recovering from the boom. They have not yet re-opened. When they do, I wonder if the place would be the same. The boom was quite devastating. And I am sure there would be major make-overs in some of the places. I am looking forward to go back there again. Not for the shopping - but for the food.