The restaurant at the Mystique Apartments, Kerobokan, always offered above average food at very reasonable prices. It is a casual sort of place where whenever you drop in, you immediately felt relaxed. That Aussie twang can always be heard, at any time of the day, even the staff are picking it up! Not the Kuta style but more often from the hard working type of Aussie who has made it in the world and now resides or regularly visits Bali, many coming up from close neighbour, Perth.
So it is fitting that the new styled restaurant at Mystique, Artini, now serves what is commonly referred to as Modern Australian cuisine, of European descent with local touches. Well known Sydney/Perth restaurateur Bradley Griffiths has created a simple menu that suits all day dining. Good basic food, with taste, and at great value prices!
One old custom at Mystique is their unique free Tapa. Whilst studying the menu, order a complimentary Tapa [your choice from six] to munch on whilst pondering.
It is also time for your first Martini of the visit, they go well together!
No Aussie menu could exist without a Prawn Cocktail, and Artini is no exception. However the accompanying cocktail sauce has a hint of chilli to suit the location. The Thai Chicken Salad features crisp chicken strips on a mixed salad. The vinaigrette is a blend of Thai [ginger, lemongrass, garlic, chilli, chopped shallots and a fish sauce] and a bit of Bali with a dash of Kecap Manis.
The Tempura Chicken Strips are tender pieces of sesame seed impregnated chicken breast with a tangy chopped papaya salsa. The Prawn and Avocado Salad is combined with onion and tomato and a dash of white balsamico. Crisp Calamari Rings, with tartare sauce, make either an entrée or a bar snack.
Their all day menu combines a variety of breakfasts with tasty snacks. Excellent Eggs Benedict, or a Malay style breakfast of pan-fried Roti Cani, grilled Teriyaki Chicken and a sweet chilli relish or a Caramelized Onion, Mushroom and Leg Ham Frittata. All perfect for that relaxed brunch!
Mystique Chicken Breast is stuffed with sun-dried tomatoes and herbs before being wrapped in bacon. I often find that stuffed chicken breasts in Bali are invariably over-cooked, and dry to the taste. Not this one, it is very good, the stuffing complementing not overpowering the chicken meat, and the tangy herb and cream sauce providing just the right accompaniment.
Duck is on every menu in Bali and so it should be. This one, however is done differently, and at an extremely reasonable cost. The bird is roasted, very slowly over water, part roasted part steamed, until almost cooked. It is then immersed in a marinade until required for serving. It is finished off with another short roasting, a mango sauce added. The meat falls from the bone at first touch, yet firm and full of taste.
Lemon Pepper Chicken is a vast improvement on that old Cantonese version, the sauce here has a bit of life to it and not oversweet. The Slow Cooked Lamb Shanks are just that, once again those lumps of perfect lamb meat can be removed with just a light touch. The sauce is a red wine one using shiraz.
One Pasta dish is their Penne that is tossed with chicken and roasted vegetables in a Thai green curry mix, whilst the other is a Seafood Linguini, in a Provencal sauce a touch of garlic and chilli added.
There are a variety of other seafood dishes on the menu. The White Fish Fillet is topped with a salsa of tomato, onion and olives. Tuna Steak is simmered with lemon butter and capers, whilst the Mixed Seafood Plate is topped with a sauce of garlic, chilli and coriander.
Deserts include an interesting Orange Cheese Pudding, and a Caramelized Apple Tart. All desserts at Artini come with either their homemade ice cream or sorbet.
The wine list is a bit of a shock for Bali with nothing over Rp.260,000 and most of the 26 wines much less than that. The vineyards may be all Australian commercial but at the same time they are from the better ones. Great value!
The service at Artini is relaxed and friendly, it is one of those places where you just switch off and relax. Always a most enjoyable visit.
And then there are those Martinis! Apart from the standard ones there are many unusual variations. A Nutty Martini combines vodka and Frangellico, Crantini?s are the craze [vodka and cranberry juice] but it was the Kiwi Martini that caught my eye. I assume the ?skinned kiwi? is of the fruit variety not a homo sapien.