The Bali that most tourists experience is fairly casual – sand, sun, surf makes for a laid-back lifestyle. So finding somewhere a bit special to go for dinner isn’t particularly easy. We’d been recommended Sarong Seminyak by the driver who picked us up from Denpasar airport. Out walking one afternoon we stopped by to check out the menu and booked a table for the following weekend.

Sarong is set back from the road on Jalan Petitenget; there’s a large foyer and then a collection of dining rooms, one abutting the bar and two others divided by a dramatic water feature (see the picture at the top of this post). The decor is Balinese ‘luxe’ – lots of heavy timber, Hindu symbols and, somewhat incongruously, lots of chandeliers, in various styles.

Still, the ambience at night is very pleasant, if a bit on the warm side. A large fan next to our table struggles with the heat and humidity and we were grateful that the sun had disappeared.

Sarong was founded by Scottish chef Will Meyrick in 2008, who decided to offer what he considered to be the best street foods of Asia under one roof.  Indeed, he styles himself the ‘street food chef’ with a number of outlets throughout Bali, Jakarta and Hong Kong.

The flagship in his restaurant empire, Sarong has an extensive menu. We decided to take a number of small dishes to sample as much as possible. We had a few ‘lost in translation’ moments with our servers who initially told us we’d ordered too much food, so we pared back. We were then encouraged to have rice; a cultural difference perhaps as we’d both prefer to have another dish a bit more exciting for the tastebuds than to fill up on rice, but there you go.

In our experience of Seminyak, the beer selection is pretty limited, much to gluttonous husband’s chagrin. The local beer, Bintang, is perfectly drinkable but a bit unexciting for someone who loves IPAs. Greedy Girl also struggled to find a glass of wine, but settled for a 2014 Chateau des Muraires Cotes De Provence rose. This was absolutely the palest rose wine Greedy Girl has ever seen and the waiter described it as a ‘white rose’. Hmmm. Anyhoo …

There are very few pictures in this post because the restaurant is exceptionally dark. Greedy Girl’s powers of description have to be brought to the fore here.

Our first dish was a duck san choi bao, with shitake mushrooms, garlic chives, beansprouts and chilli. The menu said it was served with lettuce ‘cups’. What we got was a very ineptly sliced wedge of lettuce that fell to bits. Sigh. The flavours were perfectly nice but it was messier than it needed to be.

Sarong Seminyak

Duck san choi bao

Some of the plates we had planned on sampling we were warned off as being ‘very spicy’ and no real ability for the kitchen to tone them down. Given we like a bit of spice, rather than having the inside of our mouths burned by chilli, we took the wait staff’s advice.

Next was the ‘signature’ crispy pork belly with Sichuan chilli salt, tamarillo and tamarind sauce. This was perfectly edible. Greedy Girl likes a bit of sweetness and spiciness with pork belly but doesn’t enjoy the flavour being overwhelmed. This was on the edge and the texture of the pork wasn’t as melting as she would have liked.

We were waiting on our salmon sashimi with pickled fennel, daikon, carrot, fish roe and a shoyu dressing. It didn’t appear. Instead, our main course, a slow roasted pulled lamb shoulder with green shallots, shiso leaf and Hoisin mandarin pancake and a sesame dipping sauce was next to arrive.

This was a complicated dish and Greedy Girl didn’t find much to enjoy about it. Gluttonous husband thought the combination worked OK but there was a lot going on. He ate most of it, while Greedy Girl continued to sip her wine.

As the dish was placed on the table, we enquired what had happened to our salmon. The Balinese version of ‘D’Oh’ flashed across the server’s face. The dish was brought well after our lamb shoulder and we made it known we weren’t terribly impressed by that. Going from such a heavy dish to a sashimi wasn’t the way we wanted to eat, especially as we’d agreed the order of dishes at the start of the evening.

And indeed, the salmon dish wasn’t good. It tasted muddy. Nothing worked together and the fish itself didn’t have a great texture. Greedy Girl tried a couple of pieces but left the rest.

On that basis, we weren’t inclined to order anything more. We prepared to ask for the bill and head out into the night when one of the senior wait staff came to the table, bearing gifts.

This was a peanut ice-cream with butterscotch – what the restaurant called a ‘Kampung snickers’, offered by the staff for mixing up our savoury order. It was completely delicious and Greedy Girl – who doesn’t generally eat ice-cream – devoured it.

Sarong Seminyak

‘Kampung’ snickers

We were done.

Sarong is an impressive setting but on our tasting of the food and its general presentation, we couldn’t say it was a ‘rave’. Certainly for a romantic night out in Seminyak, it’s a popular destination. Did it equate to fine dining? Perhaps not.


Jalan Petitenget 19, Seminyak, Bali

Sarong Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

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