Eat, Pray, Love & Play Bali – Part 1.
This is the time of my annual vacation with my Mum and siblings; our choice of destination this year is Bali, a popular vacation spot made even more famous by the Eat, Pray, Love movie portraying Elizabeth Gilbert’s (played by Julia Roberts) soul-searching sojourn, part of which took place in Bali.
We rented a vacation home in the upscale Seminyak area – Villa Martine is hidden from the madding crowd of the main Seminyak shopping thoroughfare, down a narrow little lane; I’m amazed that our van could pass through it.
The villa is a lovely 5-bedroom bungalow with its own pool, furnished in open-concept Balinese style with a modern touch. It comes with outdoor showers in a few rooms and includes the services of 2 in-house domestic helpers who even cook your breakfast to order – a gorgeous villa to spend 2 days.
After we had settled into the villa, it was time for our lunch at Sardine, located in Petitenget area next door to Seminyak.
Sardine is housed in a rustic sprawling bamboo structure with a large bamboo-columns; an ornate chandelier dangles prominently from the top and the setting makes generous use of wood. The decor is rustic and yet very chic – art theme of fishes prevails and the table setting is lovely: pretty water glasses topped with a little straw hats, and a pot of padi seed saplings to add colour.
The restaurant faces a verdant padi field that that stretches into the horizon, with a leafy alfresco lawn scattered with comfy sofas made from bamboo trunks, shaded by black-and-white chequered parasols.
There’s a bar and lounge area next to a small rectangular pool where you can sip exotic drinks, including local-brewed arak cocktails, while you gaze at a school of rare white koi happily swimming, safe in the knowledge that they are not part of the menu.
The bread basket was so delicious that it threatened to fill our stomachs even before the meal proper – the sunflower bread was fragrantly doughy. We started with the Smoked Kingfish, Green Beans & Confit Tomato – a tangy, fresh and light appetiser.
The Manis Clams steamed in coconut milk, lemongrass and Kaffir lime was also very fresh, and perfect with the creamy and mildly spicy broth that carried a strong hint of the Kaffir leaves.
The tasty Vietnamese Grilled Chicken salad wth mint, lime and chilli dressing was a well-executed piquant dish.
We hit a low-note with the Asparagus and Mushroom Risotto; it was bland and had a bitter after-taste.
Redemption came in the form of the Belgian Endive Salad, with roasted mushrooms, pear, blue cheese and cider vinaigrette – a creative blend of flavours and textures that worked.
The fish main of Grilled Hamachi with sweet corn, edamame, sautéed blue crab, grilled asparagus and leek confit was expertly cooked, with the fish well seared yet moist and succulent.
The Asian Braised Duck Leg with bamboo-shoot chilli fried rice looked more exciting than it is – the meat was a little dry and the spices used in the rice was a tad overwhelming, competing with the duck for attention.
On the whole, Sardine is worth a visit just for the experience of such a gorgeous setting. The food is up to par too, especially of you stay with the seafood dishes. Combined, that puts Sardine high on your list of Bali to-dos.
Jalan Petitenget No. 21, Kerobokan
Phone:+ 62 8113978333