Restaurant Review: Bali Bali

9 Apr

My friend and I planned to watch the Ibsen play John Gabriel Borkman at the Donmar Warehouse tonight and we decided to have dinner before catching the play. I let her choose the restaurant as I dont really have any preference, at least not tonight. She has been to this Indonesian-Malaysian restaurant called Bali-Bali before and swore that the food was good.

The interior was very homely but didnt quite have that exotic feel, the tables were too close so I am guessing that a busy night will mean any chance for intimate conversations may not be possible. As we arrive quite early at 6, and on a bank holiday at that, it wasnt much of a problem.

We opted to have a bottle of Pinot Grigio (£11.45) and as we didnt have the luxury of time, we decided to choose their pre-theater menu which consisted of egg fried rice, stir-fried plain noodles, daging semur (beef slices in soya sauce), cap tjai (stir fried mixed vegetables), kalio kental (padang-style chicken in coconut sauce), sambal udang (prawns in chili sauce) all at £8.95 per person. Now this will be very harsh because after having been to their website and have read a few of the reviews, and surprisingly most of them glowing, I have to say I wasnt very impressed, not in the very least.

First off, their portions were not very generous. You may think I am being picky but I counted the number of slices of chicken, beef and prawns in each of the dishes and it was just like 5 for each dish – and to think that you have to share this, thank goodness my friend didnt have the voracious appetite I had. And thank goodness I didnt have the appetite to eat any of it either. The way the dishes were presented was not very appealing either, the beef in soya sauce was very runny to begin with, the prawns were itsy bitsy teeny weeny you wont even choke on it if it gets lodged on your throat. Now they say that when you order set menus you really don’t get value for your money, and that youre better off ordering individual dishes, maybe so but I never bought that. As a food lover I am definitely willing to pay extra money for good quality food, I just think that to charge people £8.95 for a set menu that doesnt live up to the hype is ripping us off. I know a good Chinese buffet restaurant off the road that can whip up a much more delectable concoctions than those served at Bali-Bali. Another problem I have is that I can cook these so-called dishes and it will taste much better.

Well if I can say one good thing about the place apart from their close proximity to the Donmar is the service, otherwise this is a no go. When the bill arrived, I already calculcated how much it cost but they cleverly added service charge at 15 percent, and although I am not one to complain, if I had the will that night, I wasnt happy to part with my hard-earned money. What is good service when the food itself is no good?

Stay away at all costs.

Bali-Bali: 1/5



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4 Responses to “Restaurant Review: Bali Bali”

  1. shishi April 11, 2007 at 7:40 am #

    hahaha. taray mo day!

  2. Simone April 11, 2007 at 3:32 pm #

    I’ll choose Wing’s Buffet over this piece of crap any day.

  3. Peter April 13, 2007 at 10:47 am #

    Oh well, it can´t be that bad… or is it?

  4. Simone April 13, 2007 at 11:08 pm #

    It was that bad, I won’t even go near it ever again.

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