Ondy Sweeting experiences the latest MyWarung incarnation – bringing fish to the fore. Photos: Lucky 8.
The seemingly unstoppable MyWarung series of café’s has added a gorgeous Petitenget restaurant to its expanding empire of dining destinations.
It is not hard to spot the glittering MyWarung Pasar deep in Petitenget on Jalan Lebak Sari with walls of verdant plants hanging from the traditional open air wooden Joglo house that sparkle under the crystals of dozens of chandeliers.
MyWarung Pasar is a departure from the raw urban style of its sibling operations in the hipster surf haven of Canggu and the hills of Ubud where black paint, polished concrete, photographs and Post It notes preside.
The garden restaurant is a massive draw card to this stretch that is rapidly growing as a hot spot for food.
MyWarung Pasar hits plenty of targets from its pretty twinkling lights at night, racks of plants for sale, the trademark photographs of happy diners pasted on pillars, big comfortable tables and a super happy vibe. Lovers of the original My Warung Canggu-statement style will not be disappointed as there is no mistaking its place as the newest string in the growing bow of the successful restaurant group. It is the chic aunty of the tribe.
This latest incarnation takes the philosophy of MyWarung and delivers great value and honest flavours. MyWarung Pasar’s menu has abandoned the simple burgers and nasi dishes that made a big impact when it first opened in Canggu last year – this restaurant has seafood at its soul.
A daily delivery of the freshest seafood from the fish markets at Jimbaran are the basis of the menu that is founded on Thai dining with ginger, garlic, chili, galangal, lemongrass, sweet chili, Thai basil and Thai seasoning as the co-stars of the show.
MyWarung Pasar has a huge drinks list embracing classic cocktails and bespoke tipples such as the MyWarung spirtz of sparkling wine, the artichoke liquor cynar, and fresh lemon. The coco pandan cocktail is a great start to dinner with spiced rum, coconut water, fresh pineapple and a pandan leaf delivering a refreshing and Moorish drink with the tiniest touch of sweet. The Green Jungle is a simple blend of gin, cucumber, mint leaf and citrus that is also an ideal aperitif. There is also a good selection of beers and wine for those who cannot be lured by a well-curated cocktail.
The small plates selection is packed with winners starting with the Som Tum Thai – a refreshing and luscious green papaya salad that has a wheat noodle like texture on the bite creating a satisfying dish for carb-dodging diners. It’s topped with protein packed roasted peanuts, long green beans and some tomatoes and delivers an explosion of superb Thai flavours marrying fish sauce, lime, chili and long shreds of the heavenly young fruit.
The Batik Clams are juicy little molluscs served in rich red curry loaded with reduced coconut milk and sprinkled with Thai basil. It is particularly well balanced with the ginger, sugar and chili not overwhelming the delicate briny flavour of the clams.
The globally loved tuna fish is showcased here as a tartare that comes in big cubes paired with slivers of Japanese nori seaweed, a brief shower of sesame seeds and lightly seasoned with kamangi dressing.
Other traditional Thai offerings include the crispy squid with a sweet Thai dipping sauce and and a rich Tom Yum soup with prawns, calamari and clams.
From the grill the seafood is fresh and as perfectly and simply rendered as MyWarung’s legendary Black Angus rib eye steaks. Jumbo prawns from Papua are so tender the flesh slips away from the shell and the meat of the whole fish melts away from its bones.
If you are not a fan of seafood the alternative is the awesome steak for which MyWarung is rightly famous. The chef produces the medium-rare rib eye entirely right with a pink interior and seared exterior. The steak is served with three house made sauces; Thai chili, a lightly spiced tomato that is fruity and has sneaking hit of hot and a classic Balinese sambal matah.
Side dishes at My Warung Pasar are flavor bombs from the garden with Chinese kalian fried up with generous amounts of garlic and fresh chili that has been pared down to have the hot seeds and pith removed and plenty of seasoning. It is crunchy and smooth while the humble eggplant is cut and diced into a unique ‘chop suey’ that had help the succulent meat and lost the fruit’s trademark bitterness.
Cakes are brought in from Bali’s artisanal patisserie Dessert_Ku, which includes a divinely retro Southern classic hummingbird cake full of nuts and spice plus there is a vegan chocolate cake but the star was the tiramisu. This delicious baby of coffee, biscuit, eggs, whipped cream and powdered chocolate was presented in fabulously inappropriate 70’s style breakfast cereal bowl.
My Warung Pasar, under the rule of French Canadian Chef Hugo Coudurier has created another standout eatery in Bali. It stands alone as a great grill and Thai diner. Expansion is underway and a swimming pool and garden are soon to open at the rear of the lovely antique Joglo, which will mark the launch of daytime trading.