While Bali is home to a host of quality Chinese restaurants, our Editor was so impressed during a visit to a recently opened member of that dining fraternity that he returned to dine again on two successive nights.Chinoiserie Dining & Lounge
Chinese Food with Difference
Chinoiserie promotes itself as a "Modern Chinese Restaurant," but somehow that description is inadequate to describe the dining experience that awaits.
Run by an enterprising young Singaporean, Bernard Foo, who hired Chef Fui, a native of Malaysia - the Chinese cuisine on offer incorporates all the flavorful nuances of "Straits Cookery." Hundreds of years before the term "fusion" came into vogue, the eclectic and catholic culinary tendencies of the Chinese diaspora who settled in peninsular Southeast Asia freely welcomed indigenous Malay, Indian and Thai ingredients and cooking methods into their kitchens. The resulting free-wheeling approach to cooking felt no compunction at combining chilies, curries, sambals with any of the core Chinese culinary traditions, such as Sichuan, Cantonese and Beijing styles. Reflecting this "if it taste good, why not?" attitude, the peranakan or Straits style of cooking has earned a well-deserved class of its own among world cuisines.
While the Chinoiserie does not qualify, strictly speaking, as a peranakan restaurant, there are numerous items on their menu with peninsular Southeast Asian roots, certain to catch the attention of those in search of new taste sensations. Some of our favorites :
• Pork Ribs in Wine Sauce – tender and so sweetly succulent that everyone was unabashedly licking their fingers.
• Kung Po Chicken in Sichuan Dried Chili Sauce - Not as spicy as it sounds, this Sichuan standard includes a sweet chili sauce, lightly fired air dried chilies and chunks of diced chicken.
• Sliced Fish with Ginger Infusion - an opening soup course, highly aromatic and delicious.
• Salt & Pepper Prawns - a delicious and less expensive alternative to the several lobster dishes which are also a specialty at Chinoiserie.
• Hot Plate Sambal Squid - Served bubbling hot on a cast iron plate, tender squid slices in a delicious sauce are presented atop a fried egg.
• Baked Lobster Fried Rice with Cheese - a house specialty.
• Minced Beef and Ginger Stir Fry - essentially a rice course, grains of rice are delicately infused with ginger and cubes of beef. So good, we ordered a second round.
The above is just a sampling of an extensive menu that warrants a number of return visits in search of yet—to-be-discovered delicacies.
A Sophisticated Ambience
Up market in presentation but not in price, Chinoiserie is sub-divided into four sections where service is provided by waiters and waitresses all smartly dressed in black:
• Bar – run by a talented "mixologist," a long bar just off the entrance offers all the standard range of drinks. But we suggest you go straight to the list of specialty cocktails, all concocted in the same spirit as their food offerings - aimed at rewarding the adventurous gourmand.
• Main Resto - fan-cooled at the center of the complex, diners sit amidst water fountains with views to the busy open kitchen.
• VIP Area - Air conditioned with seating for 40, large flower arrangements, over-stiffed lounge seating, and long-stemmed wine glasses set a tone for a leisurely evening of conviviality.
• Upper Deck - Located on a raised back terrace overlooking a rice field, this area also converts nicely for private parties through the use of a dedicated bar.
• Al Fresco - A garden-like setting under the stars capable of seating 30 diners.
Located on the Sunset Road and easily accessible from Kuta, Sanur and Nusa Dua - Chinoiserie is readily identified by the red Chinese lanterns that adorn its entrance.
Jalan Sunset Road No. 7, Kuta, Bali
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