One of the family traditions I cherish the most is celebrating birthdays together. Not only is it a good time to catch up with the family, it's also an excellent time to try out new restaurants. I really enjoyed Balinese food from my last trip to Bali, when I discovered the Bumbu Bali Restaurant at Tanjung Benoa in Bali. This was my first taste of the Balinese Rice Table or the "Rijsttafel", which essentially is a set menu comprising rice served with vegetables and meat condiments.
So, when my sis suggested going to the Uma, a Balinese restaurant at Kota Damansara for our latest round of birthdays celebration, it was a lovely trip down memory lane for me. We opted for their "Nasi Ratus", which is equivalent to the Balinese Rice Table at the Bumbu Bali. The portions are fairly big. We ordered six sets with 2 extra rice for the 8 of us. We ended up trying seven sets (they accidentally served us the Babi Kecap Manis which we didn't order, which turned out to be a happy mistake as it was very good).
The verdict? Absolutely delicious! The Nasi Ratus set is served on a bamboo basket, layered with banana leafs. Depending on the set, the rice and vegetable condiments may vary. A sample of the condiments include minced fish satay, shredded chicken salad, tempe goreng, sambal mbe and sambal tomat, mixed vegetable salad and fried long bean. Our absolute favourite was the Grilled Tuna set. The tuna was fresh and marinated in fragrant Balinese spices, not unlike our otak-otak, but much lighter in terms of the marinade.
Dad loved the Pork Rib Curry Nasi Ratus set (yes, this place serves pork - hurray!). The curry, which has a similar colour and texture to our Kurma curry complemented the tender pork rib perfectly.
The house specialty - Bali Bebek - Balinese steam duck. Served in a bowl of soup, very much like our Soto ayam, the duck literally melted off the bone. We also tried the fried duck set. However, of the two, I personally preferred the steam duck.
The happy mistake - Babi Kecap Manis (Sweet Sauce Pork)! Succulent and flavorful.
The pork sate set was scrumptious too. The sate was served on thick bamboo sticks and was well-seasoned enough to be eaten without any sauce. The rice, Black-eyed pea rice which had light sprinkles of nuts and herbs was my favourite rice accompaniment.
On the other hand, we found the grilled chicken set rather dry. To be fair, it was tasty but just paled in comparison with the other, oh so very delicious sets.
The meal which came to slightly over RM200 for the 8 of us was very reasonable. So, if you had a yearning for some good Balinese cooking, but don't have the budget to fly to Bali, head over to the Uma at Kota Damansara (7-G & 7-1, Jalan PJU 5/21, The Strand, Kota Damansara, Petaling Jaya). Be sure to make reservations (Tel:603-614 2271)!
Postscript: I paid another visit to the Uma in May, 2010 and was pleased that the food tasted as good as ever. As we were there with two first-timers, we ordered our top three favourites - the tuna, pork sate and pork rib curry nasi ratus sets for our group of four. We made sure we had room for dessert this time round. Fans of "hak lo mai chok", or glutinuos rice porridge aka bubuh injin would love this dessert. Served with coconut milk and gula bali, this dessert is rich and creamy. We'll definitely be back again.
One of the very nicest things about life is the way we must regularly stop whatever it is we are doing and devote our attention to eating. ~Luciano Pavarotti and William Wright, Pavarotti, My Own Story
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6 months ago