Travels with a Gourmet

a food lover's travels, memorable meals, culinary trials and gastronomic experiences

On a mid-week evening, A & I decided to try out the relatively new arrival in the Bali restaurant scene –Sardine.  Located in Kerobokan, a bit further away from the hustle and bustle of Seminyak’s restaurant strip, it is across the street from another Bali hip and happening restaurant – Metis.
You enter Sardine‘s unassuming facade of bamboo fence and thatch to face a large open-air all-white bamboo pavilion split in the middle by the bar.  The front area, where we were seated, and on the other side was a larger dining area.  The show kitchen is off to one side while the front dining area is flanked by green, grassy areas on either side and the endless rice paddies on the front for an impressive vista.
The French influenced menu at Sardine is limited and changes quite often as they serve whatever is fresh from the market that day.  On that evening, we were presented with a simple one-page menu of starters and main courses and a concise but well put-together wine list.  I chose the steamed Batik clams followed by the pan seared scallops and A had the smoked sardine starter and the pan seared sea bream main.  Water and some bread was served along with an amuse bouche.
We had just gulped down the amuse bouches when our appetizers were already there – the steamed Batik clams were steamed in a dill-infused broth of clam juice, white wine and ginger – a modern take on moules marinieres which was a nice change from the traditional.  A‘s sardine and potato appetizer was another modern approach to the typical French dish of harengs a l’huile – this time with marinated sardines taking the place of the herring but still accompanied by the warm sliced potato salad, onions, capers and oil dressing.  Both dishes were different but quite good.  As we settled in to enjoy our starters and wine – a glass of Sauvignon blanc for me and a Merlot for A, the place started to fill up and we realized why we were given a table in the bar area as soon enough, most tables were filled in both the main dining room and beside the bar. 
They had just cleared our appetizer plates when they soon set down our main courses which really didn’t give us much time to enjoy the pause that usually takes place between courses.  My main course were three large pan-seared sea scallops, each one on top of a shredded potato cake and served with oven-cured tomato and sweet-corn coulis.  Although the scallops were good, they were slightly undercooked and the sweet-corn coulis was almost non-existent so it didn’t really add anything to the dish, just a bit of yellow on the plate.  A’s pan-seared sea bream was, as the French say “c’est correct” (a.k.a. nothing special),  – a slab of fish served with wasabi-mashed potatoes, miso eggplant and topped with a wakame (seaweed) salad.  The purported soy beurre blanc was on the plate but didn’t really bring the flavors of the dish out or complement it in any way.  Both main courses were okay but not stunning and the descriptions on the menu made the food seem modern but somehow they just didn’t come out that way when served on the plate.  I have to say that the starters were better than the main courses.  We had some dessert to complete the meal – apple tart for A and the flour less chocolate cake for me – good but not great.
We had finished our dinner in a bit over an hour – an amuse bouche plus three courses – a first for a fine dining restaurant and a bit of a surprise.  Next time, maybe I can make a meal of several appetizers and remember to chew really slowly and enjoy the view.
Jalan Petitenget 21, 
Kerobokan, Bali
Telephone: +62 361 738 202

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