Sunday, December 25, 2011

Nusa Dua, Bali: Bumbu Bali

The best local food was kept for our last night in Bali it seems. Bumbu Bali is a Balinese cooking school and a restaurant. We had a great meal. The satayed meat were juicy and flavorful, the flavors were bold and rich. Cooking was not overdone like we experienced at other Balinese restaurants. A nice experience all around. However, might be a good thing to reserve ahead as the place tends to be packed.
Actually, if I went to Nusa Dua again, I think I'd take some cooking lessons from them.

The kitchen

Sate Campur, Kenus Mebase Bali, Nasi Goreng Veg

Aneka Hidangan 76.5k IDR
Total for two with 164k IDR worth of drinks: 597.74k IDR.

Bumbu Bali Restaurant and Cooking school
Jalan Pratama, Tanjung Benoa
Nusa Dua 80363
Bali, Indonesia

Saturday, December 24, 2011

Nusa Dua, Bali: Sakala

(Sorry for the poor picture color quality but the LED/Neon/whatever lighting at Sakala didn't make the food looks its best)

Sakala is currently a wine tasting/restaurant/night club close to the tip of the Nusa Dua peninsula. I was told that next year, a Hotel would also be tacked-on to the ensemble.
This was by far the best meal we had in Bali. Comes, of course, with a price and it is not much inspired by local cooking (although it does use some local ingredients). But hey, when the food is sublime, not complaining is allowed.
And it is. Expat Quebecois chef Frederic Boulay cooked-up a fabulous Christmas eve dinner that left us very happy... and very full! As a bonus, we had a chance to chat with him a little bit.

Definitely Michelin guide material. Highly recommended!

Dining room is on one side of a very nice pool.


Various bread in funky wooden bread-box

Foie-gras rougie experience from Lande region in France. We usually prefer our foie-gras poiellé (pan-seared) but this was really good foie gras and it was very, very nice.

Grilled prawn with crushed fennel salad and passion fruit emulsion scented with vanilla.
Perfectly cooked prawns with a nice crunch from the fennel and the slightly sweet touch of the fruit rounded up the flavors. Yum!

Butternut squash bisque served with lobster and portabella mushroom, balsamic reduction, cappuccino way.
Here, the foam really adds to the experience; titillating your taste-buds before you get the bold flavors of squash, mushrooms and the reduction.

Beef consommé with smoked duck, young vegetables, chicken & truffle stuffing.

Grilled blue eyed Tuna steak, asparagus and dry tomato risotto, red wine vinaigrette with olive, capers, heart of palm and sweet peppers.
Here, the layering of flavors hit you palate in succulent successions, like waves on the Balinese beaches. My favorite dish of the night.

Wagyu beef tenderloin served with garlic & potato croquette, snow peas, spinach, mixed mushrooms and port cream sauce. Need we say more?

Ooooh, cheeeese! Sakala really didn't skimp on variety and quantity here. This could have been a main course on its own. We were already stuffed at this point.

Some Quebecois-inspired Christmas logs. So rich and sweet!

Chocolate cones

Christmas dinner: 800k IDR x 2
Water: 25k IDR x 2
Balinese Cabernet Sauvignon: 80k IDR x 2. The grapes are from Australian, wine making is done in Bali. Not all that great. We'll have to give Bali another 10 years. But never fear, there's a wide selection of wine at  Sakala.

Executive Chef: Frederic Boulay
Tel: +62 361 774 499
JL. Pratama 88,
Tanjung Benoa
Nusa Dua, BALI 80363

Thursday, December 22, 2011

Nusa Dua, Bali: Ulam

I don't mind paying a lot for food; if the quality is there, it's worth the extra dollars. But I hate paying for bad food, regardless of price. Ulam fits in the second category. I thought that that food was mediocre to fair and the price and environment were geared towards tourists (the restaurant was empty until a tour bus showed up and poured about 30 hungry Koreans). The day before, we had snacks at a local dive and the food was pretty much the same level of quality, yet half the price.

Some average tasting soup.

Seafood basket. The fish was grossly overcooked.

Shalots and red peppers sauce. Quite spicy but nice.

Various satay skewers. Satay sauce was good but the skewers were all dry.

Desert crepe. Was actually ok.

Total for two with drinks, service and taxes: 241,3356 IDR

Ulam Balinese seafood restaurant
Jalan Pratama No. 88 Nusa Dua

Ubud, Bali - Warung Babi Guling

Litterally; pig turning.

Spit roasted suckling pig. Quite good, juicy meat. With spicy green peppers sauce.

Guests sit on the floor.

This was 50k IDR.

Yeah, the sauce was indeed as spicy as it looked...

P.S. Teddy, our driver, got the same server of pork for half the price since he's a local. Go figure.

Wednesday, December 21, 2011

Bali - Conrad Nusa Dua - Eight Degrees South

Our x-mas vacation is in Bali this year. First time for either of us. We had a great time. Is Bali ever hot and humid though...

Bread with salsa, butter and tapennade

Salad Caprese. 110k IDR
The buffalo mozz was really good.

Grouper fillet, castelluccio lentils with spicy chorizo,
cream of lemon grass with saffron threads 290k IRD
Dish was ok but I thought that the flavors didn't come together harmoniously.

Opakapaka fish with black Hawaian salt fricassee of scampi meat with dried fish  315k IRD
Scampi was really really good. Fish a bit overcooked.

Taboule. Was not cooked long enough so the grains were a bit crunchy.

All in all, this restaurant comes at a premium due to its beach/hotel location. A premium that didn't translate in amazing food. For over USD $50 a person, a was expecting better.

Dinner for two + drinks + Service charge + Taxes + "Community donation": 1,062,700 IDR
Eight Degrees South @ Conrad Bali Nusa Dua

Sunday, December 4, 2011

Hong Kong: Greyhound Café

Replacing Pizza Express, Greyhound Cafe offers urban Thai fares in the IFC mall.
They don't really have a lunch menu so it can make for a pricey lunch. But food is good.

Some blue drink (Passion Fashion). It just makes for an interesting picture!

Pad Thai. Really good. Probably one of the better Pad Thai I had. Prawns are cooked nicely, it's not smothered in a sweet ketchup sauce like we have experienced at other places, and the balance between all the ingredients is good.
HKD $108

Tom Yum Soup. Fine but on the pricey side for a soup HKD $108

Greyhound Café
(Shop 1082, Podium 1, IFC Mall, 8 Finance St., Central, 2383-1133

Thursday, December 1, 2011

Hong Kong: The best grocery chocolate pudding

We're investigating grocery store bought chocolate puddings.

City Super:
GU, $68/3 ($22.67  each), 7/10
Nestle Mousse Dark Chocolate, $11, 7.5/10
Mamie Nova, 18$, 7.5/10
La Fermiere Creme Gourmande, 26$, 5/10
Sojasun Plaisir Chocolat, $8, 5/10
Domaine du Bignon, $12, 4/10

Essential Waitrose Chocolate Mousse, 6.5/10, $37.90/6 ($6.32 each)

Yogo, $8, 3.5/10

Mamie Nova, Sojasun Plaisir Chocolat, La Fermiere

Yogo Chocolat, Waitrose  Essence Chocolat

Nestle La Mousse Dark Chocolate, Domaine du Bignon, GU

Tuesday, November 29, 2011

Hong Kong: Happyfisherman Restaurant 漁民樂

Hong Kong is seen as an expensive place to live. Actually, it is not but for one thing; housing.
Everything else is really up to you; you can dress cheap, get cheap entertainment, travel for cheap... and eat for cheap.

The Happy Fisherman offers inexpensive food, in large quantity and it is quite good! (and good for you, for the health-minded)

Take a load of this: you get one fish-dumpling soupy dish, vegetables, 2 fish, and 2 big bowls of noodles in fish soup for HKD $118. The broth has a rich taste, the fish are fleshy and cooked nicely. The bones are easy to manage (very important for me!). We have become regulars!

Fish dumplings and tofu in fish broth

Tomato and udon noodles in fish soup. Broth is tasty.

Glorious fish! Perfect for two.

G/F, 35 Chung Wui Street, Tai Kwok Tsui

Monday, November 28, 2011

Hong Kong: King's Lodge

Beef and spring onions. Ok-la!

Xia Long Bao. Skin too thick, broth is ok. There are much better alternatives for Xia Long Bao in Hong Kong.

Snow peas tips. 

Spicy fish. Very spicy.

Overall, I was not super impressed by King's Lodge. It's not bad but not worth a detour at the same time.
For two, six dishes plus drinks: HKD $362

King's Lodge
Shop UG98
Olympian City 3, Kowloon

Thursday, November 24, 2011

Hong Kong: Shalom Grill

We were watching Curb your Enthusiasm and wondered if there was ethnic Israeli food in Hong Kong that we could try. We openriced and found Shalom Grill.

I guess to each his own but we the plethora of good  and inexpensive restaurants in Hong Kong, I can't see why someone would go back to Shalom Grill. Two words; expensive and bad.

I can understand that Kosher meals are not easy to come by in Hong Kong but if I were Jewish, I think I'd just go on a long fast.

I guess we should have done a bit of research beforehand because we were hoping for more ethnic Israeli food and that's not the place for it (the waiter recommended beef Stroganoff and spring rolls as Israeli food? I don't think so)

Expensive for the level of food quality and ingredients.

The mixed appetizers was OK at best. Note that the only thing that is mixed are the dipping sauces.

Chicken skewers were nothing to rave about... but edible nonetheless.

The mixed grill had the worst possible cut of beef and worst taste I ever had in my life; chewy, bland, and 50% of it was a huge chunk of lard. Chicken slab was about 1 micron thick (read: dry).

Now, over $400 for this is highway robbery.

Will not go back.

That's your fault Larry David! :-)