Fat Gajah – July 29, 2016

Chef Agung Nugroho seems to possess the Midas touch when it comes to Indonesian cuisine, with a clutch of magic restaurants across the island.
Flagship eatery and long-time favourite Chandi in Jl. Oberoi has been pulling in the punters for over eight years now, but just around the corner on Jl. Seminyak is it’s stylish little brother Fat Gajah. Like most successful things, the concept here is simple: fine noodle dishes and dumplings, served to share with plenty of Asian flair (not to mention a sophisticated drinks list to perfectly compliment the oh-so fashionable fare).
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The endlessly Instagrammable interior boasts white brick tile walls, vintage light fittings and beautiful retro touches (we loved the 1930’s mirrors) to create an intimate Asian brasserie setting. Together with Brazilian kitchen partner Fernando (the pair met at the ICE cooking school in New York), chef Agung has ensured the menu is an eclectic selection of traditional and modern Asian bites, that works at any time of the day. Be it an Asian style brunch, light lunch with friends or an intimate dinner date, the different flavours, textures and temperatures all add up to an exciting journey for your palette.
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With a stellar reputation amongst international foodies, I easily persuade a couple of mates from the UK to join me for a lunch with all the trimmings, with the opening shout being a round of Fat Gajah’s carefully crafted spritzers (48k++). All muddled fruits, roots, herbs and spices, it’s hard to pick a favourite, but the Asian Limeade, Fat Gajah Sour and Cucumber Citrus Lemonade are all seriously refreshing. To get the taste buds warmed up, we check out the celebrated ‘dumpling chef tasting’ platter (240k++), comprising of both steamed and crispy bites. It’s the ideal induction into the flavours of Fat Gajah, with nibbles like the lemongrass lamb shank and beef rendang pot stickers. It’s a pretty flawless opener, and we’re all blown away by the sheer variety of what’s on the plate.
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Delving straight into the next phase, we choose a noodle dish to act as the ‘main’, although here it’s much less about courses and more about social grazing. My friends check out the Crisp Salty Egg Oyster Mushroom Noodles (68k++) and the Snapper Bakso Black Noodles (88k++) – both served swimming in a deliciously flavoursome broth, while I have a munch on the Three Way Beef Tenderloin Curried Noodles (110k++). According to Agung, it’s one of Fat Gajah’s star performers and I can see why, with a trio of beef jerky, beef floss and tenderloin chunks served up with the fresh-as-can-be noodles. A Crunchy Tempe Salad (54k++) provides a sharing centre point for everyone, and is the perfect light, almost sweet, accompaniment to our noodles.
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There is a sweet section on the menu, with a mix of Western desserts given an Asian spin, but we’re all far too stuffed to even contemplate this, and settle for a more liquid style digestif in the form of a round of Ginger Lemongrass Mojitos (98k++). Soon to be relocated to even larger premises on the corner of Eat Street (it’s current location to be occupied by a trendy Satay bar – another of chef Agung’s brilliant concepts) there’s no doubting that Fat Gajah will go from strength to strength.
Dan Ashcroft
Fat Gajah
Jl. Raya Seminyak
www.fatgajah.com | 085 101 688 212

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