Saturday, May 11, 2013
Bayleaf Balinese Restaurant, Cairns
All right. First day into Cairns. Dead tired after roaming around in the town. We come back to the hotel at about 5:00 and crash. Its my moms birthday. Afternoon was a good Indian Lunch. How do I make it special in the evening. Trying to identify what I am craving for is difficult. Searching the internet but not getting too many options. I see good reviews for Balinese cuisine. I am skeptical. Want to try but not sure if it may turn to be a disaster. Text a friend who did here honeymoon in Bali and she doesnt recommend too highly as what she tried was all veg. I look up wikipedia to see what is Balinese cuisine at the first place. Finally I decide to go for it. A bit of a walk from my hotel on 227 Lake St, about 800m. Intermittent drizzle and I am keeping my fingers crossed.
As we reach, let me tell you I nearly gasp out of surprise when I see the restaurant. In fact I am so overwhelmed. Lush green plants outside, medium to dim lightings, flames emanating from torches which are making the whole ambience so exotic. Natural polished wooden furniture which is modern. Its almost like I am on sets of survivor on an island in Bali.
As we enter, the interiors are also great. We are greeted by a waiter who asks us if we'd prefer to sit inside or outside. We prefer the outside, in view of the rains, and the cool sea breeze. As we sit down, we are given the menu's. Going through the menu, its is limited options as a lot of the food options are with pork or beef, both which we don't go for. There is also an interesting mix of crocodile meat as well. the menu items in the appetiser has satays. a slaad of lime chilli and mango corn fritters etc.
We settle for Sate and Sambal Kacang- sate and peanut Sauce. It is supposed be a mix of beef, pork and chicken, but the waitress agrees to do it for chicken. In the main course two dishes-Balinese Chicken Curry (be siap base kalas) and the Prawns with chilli lime and tomatoes in coconut cream (Sambal Udang).
We are given a tray of prawn crackers with chilli sauce as we wait for the food. Also for drinks we order Coconut Delight a non alcoholic of young coconut juice with fresh lime.
I can only go gaga about the place. The prawn crackers were regular, a bit soggy, but if its complimentary, I appreciate the gesture more. The Coconut Delight is an absolute magic. Clear and fresh coconut juice with actual chunks of coconut and lemon. Very refreshing. So good that I ordered another one for my mom.
The food followed shortly. The chicken Sate was served on a small authentic minature version of a barbeque with skewers of chicken. Let me tell you. This was the best chicken Sate I have ever ever had. Seriously. Chicken Satay at Chat Thai, Mamak, Maenam Lao and all other places. The peanut sauce was dark maroon in colour and simply awesome. Served with picked vegges, fried onions. Very good
The Balinese Chicken curry was really good and different. At the time of order were told it would be spicy, but on the contrary, it was not spicy. A yellow curry based on coconut, very mild and the reason why I would always remember this dish is because the chicken in the curry was so soft. Unbelievable. The chicken, I don't know how they did it was well cooked and yet so soft.
The prawn curry had a similar looking curry, with different spices that made the flavors different. This was probably not as good as the chicken curry, but still I liked it. The prawn curry was good, although the prawns were a bit over cooked for my taste.
All in all, my take was that Balinese cuisine was good. Although the texture of the curry was coconut based and similar to Indian and Thai curries, but the flavors were much more mild than I expected. The rice was regularly bought in a big hand woven basket and piping hot rice was served.
It was a good night. Good ambience and set up, with good food. I couldn't ask for anything better. Service was good and staff was really friendly.
Cost of all the above was about AUD 80.
Would I come there again: Most definitely.
Bayleaf Balinese Restaurant
Corner of Lake and Gatton Street,
Cairns QLD 4870
Ph: +61 7 40514622