Blue Bali: Blissful Oasis of Balinese flavors

Sequestered in a private nook of the Botanic Gardens, Blue Bali is housed in a charming colonial villa with al fresco courtyard dining in traditional Javanese Joglos and Balinese Lesehans. With lush greenery all around, sultry candle lighting, and even wisps of smoke from slow-burning inset repelling incense, you'll find yourself transported to the well known and well loved paradise island of Indonesia. This is the perfect place to savour absolutely ambrosial food, commune with nature, and hide away from the hustle and bustle of urban life.

True to the laid-back nature of Bali, an extensive list of resort-style drinks are featured. My pick would be the Blue Bali Green Oasis Mocktail ($10), a rejuvenating blend of lychee and mint. Blue Bali also has its own microbrewery, serving up smooth and suave Brewhaus Beers ($22.50 per jug). These concoctions consist of Bali Dreaming (honey, basil, ginger), Bali Gold (pumpkin golden ale), Pink Mamba (wheat beer, red dragonfruit) and Doshi India ( a floral Zeus IPA).

Now, on to the starters. The chilled Avocado Prawns ($16) was my definitive favourite. Creamy, melt in your mouth avocado chunks were paired with the huge succulent fresh prawns and topped with Bali island dressing. Every bite was sheer delight!

Blue Bali's Gado Gado ($13) delivers the traditional components of the Indonesian salad with an avant garde presentation twist. Strips of lightly blanched bean sprouts, carrot and kangkong are wrapped in a steamed cabbage leaf, then placed on a bed of tofu and longtong. Completed with the must-have dressing of peanut sauce, this dish was refreshing, but regrettably forgettable.

Not many establishments play around with the bitterness in their food. This lesser loved taste really elevated the Spicy Chicken and Pomelo Salad ($16). With spiciness from the chili, savouriness from the fried onion and fish sauce, the pomelo pulp added a new dimension to what could have proved a far less unique dish!

If it's impossible to choose from all the tempting mains, why not pick from the sharing platters instead? Good for 3 persons, the platters have well sized portions for one to get a sumptous sampling of all the good stuff. Every component is great on its own, but when they come together, they become so much more. Go for the Indonesian Rijsttafel Platter ($80) if you'd like Chicken Sambal, Sate Lilit, Fish Pepes, Lawar Kacang, Perkedel, Chicken Curry, Beef Rendand, Chicken Sate and Nasi Kuning. The standout component here is the Beef Rendang. Braised slowly till fall-apart tender, and intensely flavored with powerhouse of spices, this is everything one would desire in a stellar rendang rendition!

Another one deserving of high praise would be the Fish Pepes. Wrapped in banana leaves and then steamed, the soft flesh of the fish is imbued with the rich spice mixture and supplemented with the distinct aroma from the banana leaf.

If you have a penchant for seafood, the Bali Jimbaran Seafood platter ($90) would be the obvious option. This striking spread comes with Grilled Snapper, Succulent Sambal Cumi, Fresh Grilled Mussels, Sambal King Prawn, Bali Rice and Garden Salad. The seafood is excellently marinated and barbecued, providing distinct smoky flavour, but could afford to be more tender.

To round up a relaxing night, the Blue Bali Dessert Platter ($28) has four impressive selections. First up, the Lemongrass Panna Cotta with Mixed Fruit Compote had the perfect jiggle to it! Fear not of being over-satiated, for the fragrance of the lemongrass and the tart berry compote balances out the creaminess wonderfully. Secondly, the Pandan Creme Brulee is another effortless execution of fusion food, with smooth custard and potent pandan essence. Thirdly , you can't go wrong with the food cult classic Mango Sticky Rice with Coconut Ice Cream. The last constituent of this amazing assembly is the Deep Fried Banana Spring Roll with Vanilla Ice Cream. These desserts really held the fort in terms of great taste and consistency, playing a perfet end to the meal.

With top-notch food, great service and unparalleled ambiance, Blue Bali makes on unforgettable dining experience. The term "hidden gem" has been used to the brink of exhaustion, but this place truly is one of our little island's best kept secrets. This blissful oasis of a restaurant has certainly made a Baliphile out of me!

Blue Bali
One D Cluny Road
(behind NUS Bukit Timah Campus, opposite Law Faculty Eu Tong Sen Building)
t: 6733 0185

Operating Hours:
Mon: Closed
Tues - Fri: 5pm - 10pm
Sat - Sun: 11am - 3pm; 5 pm - 10pm

Written and Photographer by Jordan Ong. Jordan finds happiness in the simple: to eat and drink and find satisfaction in all her toil. Besides a deep love for artisan bread, she also has a taste for adventure, activism and anything alternative.

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