Le Meridien Bali Jimbaran – dinner at Bamboo Chic & Chef Paul’s Pork Hock

After a long day of diving (post on that soon!) we came back to the hotel famished.

The current operational F & B outlet at Le Meridien Bali Jimbaran is Bamboo Chic, headed by executive chef Paul Lewis (you have met him HERE) and food, on the whole, is excellent. The menu is a crowd-pleaser as Chef Paul takes on traditional cuisine; albeit some with added unorthodox twists,  as well as western favourites such as burgers and pizzas.

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Other F & B outlets awaiting completion are Latitude 8, Lagoon Pool Bar at their signature Saltwater Lagoon as well as the Smoqee Bar & Sky Lounge.
One more; a gelato + ice cream parlour & coffee café called Wala is operational already so guests are able to cool down with creamy gelato and get their required caffeine kick should they require it.

Lagoon Pool Bar: 

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Wala:

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For our lunch on the first day, we had free rein to select from the ala-carte menu. Our orders included a burger, char kuey teow, mee rebus, pulled pork tortilla and a pizza. All of these sounded straightforward enough, and mayhap even a bit too Malaysianised for a hotel in Bali but Chef Paul was Exec Chef in Renaissance Hotel KL for 18 months prior to this and he absolutely adores Malaysian/Asian food, and hence the inclusion of Malaysian cuisine in his menu.

Our drinks – fruit juice (this one is watermelon) with pearls (Yes, it was those Taiwanese bubble tea pearls! How did these make their way to Bali??) and for me, a hot chocolate.

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This is my Pulled Pork Tortilla, a combination of kick-ass sambal (Chef Paul stint in Malaysia wasn’t a waste for sure!), a bit overly salty pork in wrapped in warm tortilla and for an element of the original; a dollop of sour cream.

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Sue Lynn had the Beef Burger and pronounced it good. I almost ordered this myself but pork won me over.

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The pizza was commendable as well; thin crusted and loaded with ingredients.

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Less stellar was the Mee Rebus and Char Kuey Teow, though both owners of the dish didn’t really complain.

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Portions are huge and some of us struggled to finish our meal, but at least all of us left Bamboo Chic satiated. I was already wondering what surprises Chef Paul have planned for us for dinner, a mere 3 hours away.

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I worked up quite an appetite after hours in the saltwater lagoon and walked into Bamboo Chic famished. I was dying for Bainese cuisine, since I didn’t manage to have any during my stay at Sheraton Bali Kuta. But more Asian influenced bites commenced dinner, again showcasing Chef Paul’s love for Asian cuisine.

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Our appetisers hailed from Thailand, India and Vietnam while the unique bread basket containing fried ball with onions and flatbread was reminisce of Indian dough.

Thai fried sour pork sausages chili, cabbage, coriander, ginger, lime – RM26
Barramundi pakora – yoghurt dipping sauce – RM26
Cha Dum (Vietnamese beef patty) – coconut caramel, peanuts – RM29
Larb Gai – minced chicken, rice powder, galangal, fish sauce, chili, coriander, iceberg hearts – RM29

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Each of the appetisers were very adeptly prepared, with sufficient authentic flavour coming through from each to assure us of its originality. Certain tweaks made did elevate the flavour of some, like this beef Cha Dum which features added pork liver and peas.

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But my favourite that evening was this scallop dish with cured beef carpaccio, soft shell crab, tobiko and tempura egg yolk.  Each component was delicious; but the sauce was what made it wondrous; Chef Paul’s special mix of miso, sugar and whatever else.

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The Vietnamese came knocking again in the form of Bahn Mi, but Chef Paul’s rendition was less ordinary with rich brioche bread, glazed pork belly cooked with BEER and sugar, and topped with DUCK egg and cognac jelly.

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Yes, you read right. COGNAC jelly. That’s the opaque cube right on top of the ensembled Banh Mi below.

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My Bahn Mi: caramelized pork, brioche, chicken liver pate, cognac jelly, pickled vegetables, fried duck egg, crispy curly fries – RM45. Frankly I found the pork belly too sweet for my liking but everyone else loved it.

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But dinner was just beginning to get interesting. I finally had the opportunity to sample the famous Balinese duck!

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However I was told that this isn’t the original crispy version, and rather another form called Bebek Betutu. But heck, this is my first visit to Bali and I couldn’t care less what rendition it is as long as it taste good!
Beggars can’t be choosers, and considering that it’s so difficult to get to anywhere without the foreboding warnings of traffic jams, I’m pretty happy to savour a good duck served in air conditioning comfort. 😀

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Apparently, Chef Paul managed to learn the recipe from a local and thus we are assured of an authentic Bebek Betutu for dinner that night. The duck skin was crispy with a nice layer of fat. The bird was cooked with a myriad of spices and the flavour was imbued in the duck meat.
Not bad at all!

After a whole duck, a 3kg Pork Hock was next.

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On the table it looked huge and was rather intimidating. I could feel my girth widening even before I took a fat slab but I ignored all health or vanity protests as I helped myself to the crunchy skin and cut into the tender pork.

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The Pork Hock is a specialty of Le Meridien Bali Jimbaran so you must give this a try if you’re here.
Here’s an interesting video of how it was prepared; a pork leg part of a 130kg swine from an organic farm, a lot of asian herbs, 36 hours of braising and then a hot oil bath before it was finally cut and served to guests.
WATCH IT! 🙂

Pork Hock : master stock, wok fried, chili dipping, plum sauce, pickled vegetables – N / RM103 , S / RM132

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The sugar plum sauce was finger-licking good! I was stuffed that evening and couldn’t finish my portion as the meat was slightly drier in the middle (but tender nonetheless) but writing about it now and watching the video again had just sent my digestive juices into overdrive.
I want some pork hock Chef Paul! Send them over to KL please!  😀

Steamed Black Chicken with crab herb tortellini, poached baby lobster tail, tempura chicken liver, silken tofu, egg, drunken chicken soup (RM90) was next, personifying Chef Paul’s love for all thing Asian.
To be specific, this dish was inspired by the drunken chicken dish that he eats almost weekly at Jalan Alor, and is one of his favourite hawker dish in KL.

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As a finale, Chef Paul finally bought to the table something nearly entirely western; a foie gras crusted with a blend of pork skin and sesame seeds (among others) and topped with snow sugar (dried meringue).

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The addition of pork skin in the crumb provided a marvelous crunch that any other breadcrumbs may never possibly achieve and the sweet, spicy chutney on top complements it nicely. The lemon curd sauce was double-boiled at 65 celcius for 26 minutes with egg yolks, ginger and whatever else. I need to record Chef Paul next time, he speaks really fast!  😉

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The pungent durians make its way into our desserts in the form of deep-fried ice-cream balls. This is the 2nd time in my life to be served durians in a hotel and I’m not complaining 🙂

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The Sweet Burger – chocolate macaroons, raspberry basil sorbet, dark chocolate, chiboust (the white cream), baked chocolate cake, sweet fries, raspberry ketchup – RM29/per person are layers of indulgence perfect for a quick sugar rush.

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Last but not least; Chef Paul’s Batu Bedil – sweet potato dumpling, palm sugar reduction, coconut ice cream – RM29/per person. The sweet potato dumplings are alike our “tang yuen”; chewy, sweet and pleasant with the ice cream.

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What a meal it was! Thanks Chef Paul for your time and I hope I’ll see you again if I do return later this year. 🙂
And yes, I’ll be looking forward to your babi guling and more pork hock too!

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More on my Le Meridien Bali Jimbaran escapade:
1. Le Meridien Bali Jimbaran Resort – my Lagoon Access Room Review
2. Fish Market visit with Chef Paul Lewis of Le Meridien Bali Jimbaran

Le Meridien Bali Jimbaran Resort  

Address: Jalan Bukit Permai, Jimbaran, Bali 80361, Indonesia
Phone: (62)(361) 8466888
Website: http://www.lemeridienbalijimbaran.com/
Email: [email protected]
Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/lemeridienbalijimbaran