THE ART OF THAI CUI­SINE

SOM CHAI BAR & RESTAU­RANT, THE LAT­EST AD­DI­TION BY RENOWNED CHEF WILL MEYRICK, SERVES THAI FOOD IN A SET­TING THAT TAKES YOU BACK TO THE 1920S…

Bali & Beyond - - CONTENTS - Som Chai Bar & Restau­rant Jalan Raya Ker­obokan 86 A, Kuta Utara 0878-8866-1945 www.som­chai­in­done­sia.com By Wi­win Wir­widya

The newly open Som Chai Bar & Restau­rant

Som Chai is where art deco is highly re­garded in both fash­ion and build­ing, with beau­ti­ful women wrapped in cheongsam walk­ing around. The set­ting of the new din­ing venue by Sarong Group made me feel as if I was in an old Siam City, for­get­ting that I was ac­tu­ally in the busy area of Jalan Raya Ker­obokan in Seminyak.

It was 6.30 p.m., and I was so ex­cited to ex­pe­ri­ence the food that Chef Will Meyrick – the brain be­hind Mama San, Tiger Palm, Sarong and Hu­jan Lo­cale – will be pre­sent­ing in his fifth restau­rant in Bali. Dear food en­thu­si­asts, come and join my din­ing ex­pe­ri­ence at Som Chai…

SIP OF FRESH­NESS

A bar and a lounge area takes up the front part of the restau­rant. When I walked in, I was wel­comed with top-notch hos­pi­tal­ity by some of the wait­resses who were wear­ing long black cock­tail dresses. Dimmed shades of light softly filled ev­ery cor­ner of the clas­sic and de­tailed in­te­rior, yet my eyes were caught by a line of swings that were hang­ing in front of me, es­pe­cially de­signed for pro­fes­sional dancers. I per­son­ally think that Som Chai bar is quite

mas­cu­line yet sexy at the same time.

Two dancers wear­ing cheongsam danced on the swings with soft and slow ges­tures, giv­ing the per­fect am­biance of ex­clu­sive nightlife in old Chi­na­town in Bangkok, Thai­land. As I took a sit at the lounge which is right next to the bar, I be­gan to think of en­joy­ing a glass of fresh en­er­giz­ing drink to soothe my mind. I walked to­wards the bar to see their choices of bev­er­ages be­fore hav­ing my din­ner.

My choice fell on Siam Julep amongst the bar’s su­per tempt­ing lists of cock­tails. I felt quite chal­lenged to try this mix as the bar­tender ex­plained that the drink has a strong yet fresh sour taste that comes from nut­meg, mint and a mix of Ital­ian aro­matic spirit; Fer­net Branca, Jim Beam, and a lit­tle bit of honey. But one sip of the drink as­sured me. Siam Julep suc­cess­fully re­ju­ve­nated me in an in­stant!

STARTER HIGH­LIGHTS

Af­ter half an hour re­lax­ing in the lounge, I de­cided to start my din­ner. The staff led me to a big tall door at the end of the lounge aisle that con­nected the lounge and bar area to the restau­rant. Once the door was opened, I was in­stantly in awe with the dra­matic view of an ori­en­tal fine din­ing room. It was a to­tally dif­fer­ent am­biance from the bar and lounge area.

The restau­rant is set with high ceil­ings, beau­ti­fully de­signed light­ings and artsy or­na­ments that give a dra­matic ef­fect and

suc­cess­fully make Som Chai an ex­cep­tional din­ing venue. And the menu is just as in­ter­est­ing. I de­cided to be­gin my culi­nary jour­ney with the Sako Sai Moo from the ap­pe­tizer list. The grilled half-shell scal­lops dish was served with fly­ing fish roe, Thai basil, young co­conut and green nahm jihm dress­ing. The scal­lops were ex­tremely ten­der and the dress­ing per­fectly pleased my palate.

Mov­ing on to the salad list, I opted for the su­per-hot “Nam Doc”, a grilled beef dish with red onion, mint flat leaf, and chili lime dress­ing. The beef was so juicy and tasty, but if you’re not into spicy food be care­ful with the su­per-hot red chili that will spark fire­works in your mouth with its bold fla­vor. A lit­tle tip; have a fresh cool bev­er­age next to you so can sip some to lose the hot burn­ing taste, as your din­ing ex­pe­ri­ence here may not be com­plete if you miss this dish. My culi­nary jour­ney con­tin­ued on with Pla Thot Tha, a de­li­cious un­ripe mango dish with lime dress­ing, turmeric lemongrass which I could not stop en­joy­ing un­til the last drop.

As some­one who grew up with Su­ma­tran fla­vors, I was so tempted by the hot curry se­lec­tions. I de­cided to have the Masaman curry that con­sists of 48-hour slow cooked short ribs beef with young durian, co­conut and fried shal­lots. I am a durian fan but I have never tasted a young durian be­fore. To my sur­prise, it is amaz­ingly

de­li­cious, and the durian does not over­power other el­e­ments of the dish, which means this dish can be en­joyed by any­one who is not re­ally a fan of durian too.

THE MAIN STARS

Then, it was time for the main cour­ses. I was up for a fresh fish dish, so I or­dered the Bam­boo “hor mok” snapper mar­i­nated in red curry paste with co­conut milk kaf­fir lime and Thai basil. This dish is highly rec­om­mended as the del­i­cate snapper meat is cooked to per­fec­tion, and the fra­grant from the kaf­fir lime made the dish even more ap­pe­tiz­ing.

To en­joy this seafood se­lec­tion, the wait­ress rec­om­mended to pair it with some steamed rice to bal­ance the sa­vory home­made sauce. But I pre­ferred to in­dulge it just the way it is with­out any rice, and I think the dish is sub­lime! And once the main course was done, it was only right to end my culi­nary jour­ney here with a dessert like the mango par­fait with three flour scented sticky rice and kala­mansi, Som Chai’s take on mango sticky rice.

Stir-fry salted pork.

Sako Sai Moo.

Crispy Taco.

The bar and lounge area has an ex­clu­sive am­biance with a pro­fes­sional dancer on the swing.

The el­e­gant in­te­rior of Som Chai Bar & Restau­rant.

Chef Will Meyrick.

Ho Mok Fish Bam­boo.

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