Sarong, a must-try if on a gastronomic tour of Bali, serves up Asian cuisine, with a primary focus on Indochinese and North Indian cuisine. For one of Bali's top high-end restaurants, the food here is surprisingly affordable, with most mains priced below S$20, and starters in the S$12 range. And while most Balinese warungs tend to water down their food, Sarong's spice levels are unadulterated, and unabashedly potent. Don't worry, the staff will warn you, repeatedly, which dishes are spicy.
The low-lit restaurant was romantic and gorgeous, but the open-aired garden setting made for a most uncomfortable meal, good food notwithstanding. Despite being seated directly in front of a fan, we were still hot and bothered. The humidity meant that we perspired throughout dinner. Worse still was the mosquitoes that have made themselves home at Sarong. I got 4 bites and the Hubs got 2 (he was more covered up than I was). Suffice to say, we didn't linger after dinner.
A signature, the Crispy Pork Belly (IDR110,000/S$11.60), burnished with a honeyed sichuan chilli glaze, was kicked up a notch with a grilled tamarillo for a lingering spice. A lime-tamarind dip provided a tart-ish relief.
One of 2 must-trys at Sarong, the Sashimi Salmon (IDR120,000/S$12.65), dressed in a mint and yuzu sauce, and garnished with radish, baby watercress, edamame, organic flowers, and enoki, was bright, piquant and totally refreshing.
The other must-try, the fork-tender Slow-Cooked Short Rib Beef (IDR180,000/S$19) and marrow was flavoured with kikil black nut chilli, and laced with shimeiji mushrooms in a punchy spicy soup, while crispy cassava was instrumental in mopping up the potent gravy. I was sniffling like a poor sod, but for the spice-loving Hubs, this was just fantastic.
The Tandoori Seafood (IDR180,000/S$19), a melange of king prawns, scallops, snapper and squid marinated in a yoghurt and mustard lemon, were imbued with the lovely smoky char of the tandoor oven, wonderfully juicy and moist.
Complimentary crackers with an incredibly addictive minty yoghurt-based dip.
A must-try cocktail at Sarong is the Candy Floss (IDR120,000/S$12.65), a whimsical girly blend of Thai basil candyfloss, with Havana Club rum, fresh strawberries and citrus juice.
Despite the Sarong Mary (IDR115,000/S$12.12) being a signature here, I didn't think its vodka, lemon juice and cherry tomatoes mix was as outstanding as its Candy Floss. This was more grown-up, with a more assertive taste and, well, staid.
The entrance to the restaurant
The garden tables
The indoor seating
My personal take on the best seats in the house, a comfy couch for up to 4 persons.
Jl Petitenget No. 19