Charming is the newest venture of Sanur?s long time restaurateur of note, Mr. Ming! His Ming le Resto has long been one of Sanur's most reliable eateries, and the only one with a French touch.
Whilst the name is spelt as Char Ming, char-grilled Ming is not on the menu!
Charming is of unique design, and further evidence of Sanur's coming of age in the restaurant race between the different areas of Bali. Sanur was a very late starter but they are catching up quickly. Not lavish and flash as elsewhere, but rather quiet and understated. The entrance of Charming is a garden terrace, yet wooden floored with attractive Javanese wooden wall panelling. The tables are comfortably well spaced, albeit with too great a height difference between table and chair, so eating under your chin is the normal unless you change chairs with the red-cushioned ones, or add another cushion, which is never a problem with the friendly staff at Charming.
Lunch is a special menu of salads [Pasta Salad tossed with ham, cheese and a gorgonzola dressing, Russian Potato Salad with boiled egg and sausage, or Butter Lettuce with crispy bacon and cheese.
Sandwiches are a giant sized croissant stuffed with Smoked Chicken, Chicken and Mayonnaise, Creamy Tuna or a combo of Ham, Bacon and Cheese. But for me the Tapas are the way to go, all convenient finger food, particularly if you are taking advantage of their Free Wi-Fi, and working whilst you snack. There are vegetable tapas [Stuffed Potatoes, Potatoes Lyonnaise or a Vegetable Brochette] and Tartine [Tuna and Olive, Smoked Salmon and Cheese, served on thin toast]. Cheese Fritters are 3 crumbed fingers with sauce tartar for dipping.
Meat Tapas include Chicken Brochettes, 2 bamboo skewers of surprisingly tender chicken interspersed with slices of onions and capsicum topped with a mustard mayonnaise. Also there are Japanese style Beef Tataki and Cubed Beef with Peppers. Seafood includes Spicy Prawns, two good sized prawns dipped in a light batter and surrounded with a sweet and sour type sauce although tangy rather than sweet, littered with small diced pineapple, onions and capsicum. The Fish Fingers were a surprise. I was expecting something similar to Maccas or KFC but instead 4 good size 'fingers' of perfectly cooked peppered Butter Fish. A few pasta and rice dishes are also available as well as a range of patisserie.
Dinner is a much grander affair. It commences with a basket of thin warm toast and a cheesy paste for spreading, Cashew Nuts rather than the usual kacang, and a shot of tropical fruit punch. Entrees of Hot Foie Gras or Baked Snails [a la bourguignonne] are available. That old French favourite Coquilles St. Jacques gets a new twist with Japanese Scallops in a lobster emulsion. A Timbale of Crab Meat is with dill and avocado. Shrimps Mornay is served in a bell pepper, whilst the Norwegian Smoked Salmon comes with roe in tact.
Salads are summer style and refreshing. A Tropical Salad with Smoked Chicken, a Salad of Marinated Squid, and a Baby Spinach Salad with goat cheese and a raspberry vinaigrette. Soups include that French classic Soupe a l?Oignon, Onion Soup. There is also a Spicy and Sour Black Mushroom Soup with peeled prawns and a Seafood Cream Soup with baby lobster.
The mains are part pure French and part Asian Fusion. Very French is the Duck Breast with mushrooms and a pinot noir sauce. Chicken Steak is with Porcini mushrooms and red wine sauce. The Yellow Chicken Curry with cilantro leaves is not very French but tastes great, as is the Celebes style Chicken in a spicy green sauce!
Boeuf a la Bourguignonne is a wonderful slow cooked beef in red wine sauce with sautéed potatoes. However the Cote de Boeuf uses Australian beef, a mustard cream sauce accompanies it. From the same country is the Angus Tenderloin with a black pepper sauce, the classic Steak au Poivre. The Entrecote de Boeuf uses American produce and is with a bearnaise sauce.
Cuisse de Grenouille, how French can you get? Frogs Legs grilled either Provencal style or in garlic butter.
The Lamb is Shank or Rack, both from Australia. Pork Ribs are honey glazed, the Cotes de Porc [chops] are in a Dijon mustard sauce and the Pork Leg is stewed slowly in Asian spices, another touch of fusion. Pork Medallions from OZ are wrapped in Parma ham, with a creamy tarragon sauce, wonderful. After 10 years of chewing Bali Babi I had forgotten how special the better cuts of quality pork can be! These large medallions cut with a normal knife, almost like butter! Just do not ruin it by asking for 'well done'!
The seafood section is very varied. Highlight was the Giant River Prawns with simple garlic butter. I had my eye on the Canadian Jumbo Sea Scallops done 3 different ways, but they were instead on offer in simpler form on the day's special list, alongside a Joue de Porc, a very French dish of Pig's cheek. Local Sole is served a la Lyonnaise, Fillets of Fish are stuffed with fresh mozzarella, basil and mustard, very unusual. Another fusion touch is the Peeled Prawns, they are deep fried and served with a Thai style orange sauce.
Dinner finishes with a complimentary shot of iced Limoncello, a nice finish to a very Charming evening! Sanur is becoming the quiet achiever, good quality and value at the same time! Mr. Ming, thank you for two great Sanur restaurants.