Meja Kitchen & Bar – July 15, 2016

The eye-catching IZE Hotel on busy Jl. Oberoi cuts a stylish presence overlooking eats street, and provides the perfect spot to stay, eat and play in Seminyak.
Downstairs at the lobby level, the signature Meja Kitchen & Bar is a buzzy, contemporary space for late breakfasts, brunches, lunches and dinner – a comfy air-conditioned environment that spills out the front and edges right on to the main street with an al-fresco patio area. The interior is an homage to classic Indonesian heritage, boasting traditional paintings, vintage photos and maps that mark the old spice routes from Maluku. Fittingly, the menu at Meja reflects the emphasis on this legacy, embodied by the concept of “Back to the Roots”, which focuses on Indonesian cuisine at its best. You’ll find traditional recipes enhanced by the modern touch and aesthetic of bright young chef Anthonius Bramudha of East Java.
Keen to try out the new concept, a friend and I pull up a table for dinner and go straight for a couple of Bali classic Arak Madu cocktails (75k++) – a nostalgic elixir of honey, lime and the finest local arak spirit. Feeling ready to tackle some starters after the restorative beverages, the next port of call is the menu, where we order up the Tahu Tek (40k++), and the Tuna Dabu Dabu (60k++). The tahu is a deliciously healthy mix of egg-coated bean fritter served with peanut & soy sauce, while the tuna is a zingy Manadonese-style salad of tuna tartare, chilli, shallots and tomato salsa. Both are fantastically light and full of Indonesian flavours.
For the mains, I’m craving some seafood, and settle on the Lobster Jimbaran (149k++), served with sweet chilli and crispy kangkung vegetables for one of the best lobster dishes north of the airport. Meanwhile, my buddy goes all Balinese, with the Chicken Klungkung (80k++) – a generous portion of shredded chicken cooked East Bali style with spices and plenty of sambal sauce. So far, so good, with both starters and mains utterly faultless, and in my opinion, about as authentically Indonesian as it gets. A couple more cocktails – this time the Archipelago (100k++), give us a moment to let the food go down and enjoy the live music drifting through from the outside terrace.
Almost full, we agree to split a dessert – in this case a Balinese sampler (price dependant on choice). With a huge selection of sweets, we keep it simple with a combined serving of the Pisang Goreng (fried banana), Ketan Hitam Nangka (black sticky rice) and Dadar Gulung (sweet pandan pancake stuffed with tropical fruit), which finishes the evening off in excellent gluttonous style. As we move out to the front patio, we decide it would be a good move at this point to check out the speciality mojitos, and try out the Coconut (100k++) and Balinese (80k++) versions.
Meja Kitchen is a real treat if you’re after stylish surroundings, top-end drinks and of course, fabulous Indonesian fare. A great place to kick-start any adventurous evening in Bali, Meja is set to become a destination restaurant for any lover of great food and even better memories.
Dan Ashcroft
Meja Kitchen & Bar
Jl. Kayu Aya No. 68
+62 361 84 6 6996

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