The final dinner of the trip was initially booked at Sarong - a modern pan-Asian upmarket experience rated currently at #47 in San Pellegrino Asian restaurants. Unfortunately someone had a few belly problems meaning the consensus was to cancel the booking on the day and wait until the evening to see how far from the hotel this belly would let us venture.
As mentioned in the Bo & Buns post, Fat Gajah was another place I had only read up the afternoon before, and the menu of dumpling variety interested me. I can say that in all my travels and food places thusfar, I haven't experienced anywhere that has gourmet modern dumplings. As much as I appreciate the standard yum cha, Din Tai Fung and other Asian dumpling varieties, this was on another level of cool and creative. Funnily enough I didn't even realise how impressive the noodle menu was also until looking at the menu once we sat down.
The cocktail menu is equally enchanting. Red Dragon Sangria (red wine, brandy, dragon fruit, mango, strawberries, raspberries, lime, vanilla bean) is a tropical version that tastes as good as it sounds. The excellent local fruit made it particularly special. The other Fat Cocktails were nearly all designed with me in mind, and if only I had enough time and alcoholic penchant I would've gone through several.
It was a quiet time in Bali (which is great) meaning there was noone else there when we arrived. The army of chefs standing across from us waited to see what orders would get them kicking into gear.
- Braised Beef Short Ribs in Steamed Chinese Bun (Pickled Cucumber, Cilantro, Lettuce, Roasted Red Pepper) - not quite what I was expecting. I thought either an open gua bao or even a closed classic bao (less likely). Actually turned out to be a bao base topped with shredded beef. This made it surprisingly difficult to eat/share. I didn't feel the flavours or textures here were that good. The only dish tonight I probably wouldn't order again;
- Amazing Fat Gajah Tofu Chips (Peanut Pecel Dressing and Pickled Cucumber) - mildly seasoned tofu skins deepfried into a light thin chip, most reminiscent of a flaky corn chip. In the grand scheme of things I probably prefer potato/sweet potato chips but this is certainly different.
- Spicy Beef Rendang Pot Stickers (Bird’s Eye Chili, Lemon Yogurt, Cilantro, Yellow Bell Pepper, Egg, Scallion) - a very different kind of fried dumpling, with mild chilli and yogurt sauce making it feel almost Mediterranean. The rendang flavour wasn't very strong;
- Seared Lamb Shank Lemongrass Dumplings (Grilled White Onion, Jicama and a light Lemongrass Curry) - my favourite dumplings of those tried. The meat texture was silky smooth like a blended mince and the lamb flavour stood out strong. The delicious curry sauce was a drinkable bonus;
- Steamed Black Pepper Crab Dumplings (Soy Cardamon, Green Peas)
- Steamed Beef Short Ribs Dumpling (Orange Peel, Chinese Broccoli in Soy Ginger Honey)
- Sesame Grilled Yellow Fin Tuna Squares (Lemongrass, Kaffir Lime, Chilli, Fish Sauce)
- Crisp Salty Egg Oyster Mushroom in Ramen Noodles (Scallion, Green Pepper, Chili Pepper, Pikled Cucumber, Chives) - surprising winner dish of the evening. I wouldn't ordinary order this, but my dad wanted it. The salted egg flavour was only very mildly coating the mushrooms, but extremely heavy stuck to the noodles. This was sensational and delicious;
- Red Snapper Bakso Balls in Squid Ink Noodles (Bok Choy, Celery, Dill, in a light Soy Fish Broth, Crisp Egg noodles) - the only soupy noodle dish with sweet savoury broth and black noodles (very very mild squid ink flavour);
- Beef Tenderloin Curried Noodles (Crisp Beef Jerky, Beef Floss, Red Chilies, Bok Choy, Chinese Cabbage, Sauteed Flat Rice) - combination of different textured and degree of flavoured beefs (the jerky being as expected the most potent);
- Spicy Soft Shell Crab Noodle (Egg Noodle, Onion, Caisin, Fennel, Scallion, Sesame Seeds)
This was a fantastic meal. With the exception of the Chinese Bun, I would order any of these again and given the success of the dishes try anything on their menu. For me the Lamb Shank dumplings and particularly Salty Egg Noodles would be what I'd have again every time. Coupled with a wonderful drink menu, this is one place I am delighted to have tried.