Sardine In A Balinese Padi Field

Eat, Pray, Love & Play Bali – Part 1.

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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.

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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.

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After we had settled into the villa, it was time for our lunch at Sardine, located in Petitenget area next door to Seminyak.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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The tasty Vietnamese Grilled Chicken salad wth mint, lime and chilli dressing was a well-executed piquant dish.

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We hit a low-note with the Asparagus and Mushroom Risotto; it was bland and had a bitter after-taste.

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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.

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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.

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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.

Sardine Restaurant
Jalan Petitenget No. 21, Kerobokan
Kuta, Bali
80361, Indonesia
Phone:+ 62 8113978333


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