As a long time visitor and subsequent resident of Bali, one of my biggest laments was always the lack of air-conditioned premises in which to enjoy a leisurely lunch during the eight months of the year when it is far too hot for those from temperate climates to eat hot food in Bali-style outdoor restaurants.
Fortunately during recent years more and more experienced restaurateurs have arrived on the scene and this situation is slowly being corrected. I recall when there were only two such places [one good but expensive, the other sadly deficient]. One of the newest, and nicest [cool, clean and relaxing] air-con restaurants suitable for an excellent lunch is DongDong. It serves a variety of Japanese cuisines and is situated at the rear of the new Bali Bakery Complex, at Jln. Raya Kuta.
Feel like a snack to start? It is hard to go past Gyoza [pan-fried pork dumplings with dipping sauce], and a serve of Tsukune [grilled balls of minced chicken]. Chawanmushi is unusual, finely minced chicken and mushroom with steamed egg. Hiyayako is chilled silken tofu. And Agedashi Tofu is deep-fried tofu in a tempura sauce.
My first lunch there was a surprise in that it arrived looking nothing like what I had imagined. Oyako Don is described as Chicken Thighs sautéed with onions and egg over rice, which I suppose is exactly what it is! In reality though, chunks of chicken thigh meat [much tastier than breast and just as tender when cooked correctly] mixed with lots of very finely sliced onion, tossed in egg almost omelette-like, then spread across the top of a bowl of rice. It arrived with accompanying miso soup, side salad and a small bowl of pickled vegetables. For me that was a simple but very tasty lunch.
Other Donburi dishes have the same treatment but with Grilled Eel [Ubagi Don], Pork Cutlet [Katsu Don], Tuna [Tekka Don] and the self-explanatory Tempura Don.
Noodle dishes are perfect for any Japanese luncheon or solo dining anytime. Soba [buckwheat] and Udon can be ordered either hot or cold. Top them with Agedama [tempura flakes], Warabi [Japanese fern], Kitsune [sweet bean curd] or Wakame [seaweed]. Yakisoba is fried noodles topped with bacon and vegetables.
Ramen egg noodles are presented in two styles; Miso Ramen [a bowl of noodles in miso soup with thinly sliced leek and beansprouts] and Syoyu Ramen [served with sliced leek and egg. To these you add your own selection of toppings; my favourite Cha-su [BBQ pork], Menma [bamboo shoots sauteed in soy], Nore [dried seaweed], Wakami [seaweed], Toumorokoshi [sweet corn] or Syoyuzuke Tamago [soya egg].
Of course the exotic luncheon is to order a bento box. DongDong has a choice of two a Sushi Bento, and the Makunouchi Bento, both a mix of seafood, chicken and vegetable snacks with soup and rice.
Sashimi and Sushi are edible on any occasion, as a snack, entrée or main course. At DongDong the choice by their master Sushi Chef is substantial. Excellent for healthy living!
Teisyoku are a wide variety of set menus [with the usual rice, soup, salad and pickles]. The Syogayaki is great, either with pork loin or chicken breast, pan-fried in ginger and soya. The Beef Teriyaki consists of tender slices, unlike what is often encountered elsewhere, particularly at these prices. One with a difference is the Mix Furai, a combination of potato croquette, and cutlets of both fish and minced pork. Gindara Shioyaki is a fillet of cod that has been marinated in salt. Unagi Kabayaki is a grilled fillet of eel with kabayaki sauce.
The Curry Rice dishes are either Chicken or Beef. They can be ordered with either Korroke [a potato croquette stuffed with minced pork and onions] or Mencikatsu [cabbage croquette stuffed with minced pork and onions]. Additional toppings of assorted seafood or meat can also be added. The curry is mild and aromatic, very pleasant!
The presentation of the dishes at DongDong is in the style that I call Modern Japanese. Whilst the chef obviously retains all of the old training for traditional food, you constantly experience small differences in taste that lift many dishes to another level. Japanese cuisines are never cheap because of the high quality of fresh produce required, but here it is fantastic value!
DongDong also has a Teppanyaki table that you can reserve for your own private group. You can order either from one of the set menus [from only Rp.70,000 pp] or a la carte.
Don't forget the Sake! I like mine hot.