Bali Memoir: Sarong Restaurant, Bar & Lounge

I have unraveled the micro-braids on my head and the temporary tattoo on my lower neck has started to fade too. All these signs rudely yanked me back to reality and I realize that I cannot postpone this post much longer...
In my attempt to conserve what remains of my short weekend trip to Bali, this post shall begin a memoir of all that I could remember, immortalized in the play of words.

The first evening that I landed in Bali was hallmarked with a visit to Sarong, currently ranked #1 out of 37 restaurants in Kerobokan,Bali by Trip Advisor. Initially, I had wanted to visit Mama San, but when I called in the morning to make a reservation, it was already full-house. So as I consulted Will Meyrick, one of the proprietors of Sarong and Mama San, who heads the kitchen as well, he personally arranged for my reservation at Sarong in the evening. He even appointed one of the floor managers, Rada, to look after our needs well. Who can resist such a warm hospitality? =)


The entire area feels more like a spacious open air single-story Balinese pavilion with lush gardens at the front and the back. The ceiling is tall and raw, revealing the scaffold and the roof, giving an unfinished feel that is still tastefully decorated with lots and lots of curtains and plush sofas, chairs and lounge chairs. The standing vintage lamp, chandeliers and candles / tealights added the mystical charm of Sarong. The warm light orchestrates a romantic and laid-back atmosphere that makes one wants to sit there for hours and savour the wine and fine delicacies served, to momentarily forget about the hustle and bustle beyond these walls. No wonder that couples love to spend hours for a romantic dinner here and I can assure that the conversation extends all the way beyond the dessert wine.

I walked beyond the intricately carved-wooden door, towards a garden that’s been transformed into an outdoor lounge. The furniture features mainly dark-wood elements, with clean and minimalistic touch. Rian already warned me that this niche is dominated by western patrons, so I was not surprised to spot only a handful Asians.

Fresh Apple Juice IDR 45,000 | Mango Poegranate Mojito IDR 110,000
As we came earlier than the reservation time, we waited for our table and ordered our drinks in the meantime. Mum had a glass of freshly pressed Apple Juice. While I had a Mango & Pomegranate Mojito that came served in a tall metal glass, topped with a generous crushed ice, mint leaves and sliced mango. It was a great thirst quencher, especially after my water-deprived flight, but I guess I gulped it down too quickly on empty stomach, I became rather tipsy soon after that.

The menu may be a challenge to read and comprehend for some. It is written in English, only 1 page long (a massive page!) and each item is described in details. It was too long-winded for someone tipsy like me, so I did it the dumb way: scan for the key ingredients in each dishes, for example: seafood or meat, rice or noodles, soup or dry, grilled or steamed, etc.

Sichuan Prawn Dumplings IDR 65,000 for 4 pcs
For teasers, we had Sichuan Prawn Dumplings with Black Vinegar and Chili Oil Dressing. It comes served with coriander leaves, which mum disliked. On the contrary, I liked the dumplings, although admittedly the black vinegar was a little too overwhelming (salty). But this is actually Will Meyrick’s signature: bold and full-on flavours. You won’t find anything subtle in his food.

Black Bean Crusted Grilled Baramundi IDR 159,000
One of the main course I chose was Black Bean Crusted Grilled Baramundi with Garlic Green Chili Lime and Fresh Coriander to be accompanied the Pilaf Rice which uses basmati rice variety, garnished with fried shallots. The grilled barramundi is served beautifully with a generous amount of greens at the side. The fish was well done, boneless (of course!), tender and fresh, I could eat it without any sauces, something that’s quite rare for me who is hyper-sensitive to even the slightest pungent smell. The portion is more than enough to feed 3 ladies.


Phanang Curry Wagyu Beef IDR 150,000 | Pilaf Rice IDR 15,000
Garlic Naan IDR 22,000
The Phanang curry tasted very bold and strong, typically Will's signature style. The curry gravy was salty, sweet and spicy and the chunky peanuts added a surprising dimension to the otherwise smooth gravy. The wagyu beef chunks swimming in the gravy were so tender, I could easily scoop it apart with only a spoon, no fork needed! This dish makes a killer combo with the fragrant pilaf rice, I had to keep telling myself to stop scooping the rice on to my plate. Somehow it didn’t pack as powerful punch with the garlic naan though.

Dessert platter: complimentary
What we just had could’ve been shared among 4 people and each will still be fully satiated. But we could never say no to complimentary dessert. It’s a classic Balinese dessert, like the one I had at Le Seminyak in Jakarta.The bubur injin (black sticky rice or black rice pudding) stashed a twist, inside which, you’ll find lychee fruits! Delish! Mum likes the chewy and juicy green kue klepon. The home-made mango ice cream was a smooth finish to our classy & gratifying dinner.

Some tips: Dining at Sarong is most recommended for big groups, where you order a few dishes and carbs like rice or bread for sharing, the way Asians do. So if you expect an individual serving portion, sorry to disappoint, but you’ll most probably unable to finish it by yourself, unless you’re Adam Richman from Man Vs. Food. However, if there are only 2 of you eating, Will recommends you to order ALL (well, maybe not all) the appetizers for sharing. That way, you can satiate the palate and still get to taste quite a variety of the food there.

Spoiler alert: If you make a reservation at Sarong, you cannot choose where to sit or which table. The lounge at the front porch is definitely out of bounds for reservation. It’s meant to be saved for faraway guests who unsuspectingly thought they could just walk in sans reservation. But by the management’s mercy, they won’t walk away empty-stomached, not at Sarong. I actually love the lounge area, so maybe next time I should just claim to have come from Hawaii without a prior reservation, so they’ll seat me there ;)

This is a perfect example of a perfect dinner, a 5 out of 5 score is probably an understatement =)

PS:
Taking pictures here, especially after sunset is very challenging (most challenging I’ve ever encountered so far!) My photos aren’t doing the food and this place any justice!
You have to be above 12 years old to be a patron at Sarong, unless prearranged by the management.

*) Prices are subject to 6.5% Service Charge and 10% PHR

Sarong Bali Restaurant, Bar & Lounge
JL. Petitenget No.19 X
Ph: +62361 737809

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