Every now and again a restaurant arrives on the scene and immediately becomes a whisper topic! ?.?have you heard about that new restaurant??It happened with the original Mykonos Taverna in Kerobokan, then Bali Pesto in Ubud, Nouveau in Sanur, Trattoria Cucina and Warung Gossip in Kerobokan then most recently the Café des Artistes in Ubud! They are often like a snowball, start slowly then pick up momentum. For the past few weeks all anyone ever seems to be taking about is how they have ?discovered? this wonderfully new very cheap French restaurant [actually a warung].
Warung Taste is Bali?s 2003 year-end rave restaurant?.and deservedly so!
All these little gems have three things in common:
· Better than average food · Young friendly service · Very Cheap
Location and creature comfort, though preferable, are not as important in these circumstances. We are talking about places for a good value feed! Good Value is the one commodity that usually wins out in the end and Warung Taste has an extreme dosage of same!
Amongst the entrees Les Escargots catches the eye. Roasted mushrooms stuffed with a snail in parsley butter! Haven?t I seen that dish somewhere before? But for only Rp.16,000? Hence begins the exotic journey through menu items that sound great and taste good, but cost very little!
A Warm Duck Salad, served with a balsamic mango coulis and a Carpaccio of Smoked Salmon [and Tasmanian at that], continue the offerings on this small but very enticing menu.
The Chicken Mushroom Soup is a clear one with mushrooms and chicken pieces. The Chilled Tomato Soup is full of crunchy croutons and a julienne of vegetables. A good thick French Onion Soup, with a cheesy crouton of course, and a Warung Taste Special; sweet green peas blended with sour cream. Nothing over Rp.10,000, so try them all, we did!
Are Pasta dishes still considered to be the sole domain of Italian cuisines alone? Or have they become truly international? At Warung Taste the Ravioli can be had stuffed with Pumpkin [a sage butter and the essential parmesan] or Spinach [this one with a garlic butter]. Gnocchi can be ordered with a simple butter sauce or in pesto style.
Spaghetti, Penne and Fettuccini are all available here, in both standard and unusual mode. Bolognese and Carbonara are found almost everywhere as are Seafood combinations [but here with shrimps and pieces of squid and fish for RP.24,000]. Smoked Salmon is nice, with garlic and black olives in a creamy sauce, but Pasta with pieces of a Duck Confit is something completely different. It is served with mushrooms and sun dried tomatoes in a sage cream sauce. Rather special!
Mains are a mixture of many, but still solely European. There is a Chicken Cordon Bleu! Now not many menus in Bali miss this one! For added effect they also spell it the Bali way! Maybe Gordon Blue was a famous French chef I know nothing about?
Don?t let that put you off as there is also a Tarragon Chicken, grilled breast topped with a mushroom and estragon sauce, even a slab of that wonderful roasted potato slices topped with cheese, gratin dauphinois [not sure about my French there?]. A Duck Confit, in a green peppercorn sauce, is great value! As is the Australian imported Tenderloin of Beef, served in a traditional red wine sauce.
The Beef Stroganoff is a rice dish, which makes sense. Strips of beef have been combined with mushroom slices in a paprika cream sauce. Definitely a spoon and fork dish! Other rice dishes are on the small Indonesian section of the menu, which includes a number of good value curries [of the coconut milk variety].
Seafood includes Tuna [lemon butter], Snapper and Butterfish [in saffron sauces] and Grilled Tasmanian Salmon in an unusual citrus and soy butter sauce. Prawns are either with garlic or pesto.
I am, unashamedly, a duck fanatic! I like all parts of the animal, from livers to breast, and can rarely refrain from ordering it whenever available. Whilst I had to try the Duck Confit, at that price, I also had to return when I saw the Roasted Duck Breast with honey glaze. ?Twas definitely worth the return trip, and will undoubtedly be the cause of many more.
Desserts are basic [Crème Brulee, Apple Tart, Chocolate Mousse and Ice Creams] but once again so are the prices.
I could eat like this every night, but maybe my doctor would talk me out of it?
Much of the menu at Warung Taste seems strangely familiar. Diners will quickly recognise where they have seen many of these items before. Copying menus is easy! Reproducing the taste is something else. Perhaps we are dealing with some ex-staff members here as this place survives the Taste test, with flying colours. Not to say it is as good as the original, it is not and cannot be. But what Warung Taste provides is good food, with taste, at very cheap prices.
The cheap prices even extend to their small, but adequate, wine list. It was originally too small, but they have very sensibly extended it, and very quickly. Obviously responded to customer comment. When a restaurateur lists the two popular Wine of the Gods wines at Rp.85,000 a bottle, then they are very serious about developing a thriving business full of return customers. Warung Taste deserves the raving whispers that are going around about it, and can look forward to many nights in the future with the house full sign up!