We can’t possibly go very long without heading over to Seminyak’s “Eat Street” (that’s Jl. Petitenget for you newbies), be it to revisit a beloved restaurant or to try a newcomer in the scene. F&B in Bali moves swiftly, to a point where it can get a little overwhelming to keep up with all the latest happenings.
But whenever something new comes around, we always wonder: is it really new or just the same old, recycled concept?
So yes, it was a delight that a recent visit to a relatively new addition to the neighborhood managed to get us all excited again about new restaurants in the Island of the Gods.
Opening in March of last year, NOAA Social Dining is, at first glance, a stunning and vibrant dining spot. Coconuts Bali was recently invited to dine here, and we were pleasantly surprised with our dining experience.
First, let’s talk about the ambience. Here we have a warm space featuring contemporary design, consisting of floor-to-ceiling glass windows and stylish furniture; which honestly reminds us a little of restaurants in Jakarta. One might describe it as “sophisticated,” but the vibe we got was definitely casual enough that anyone should consider checking this place out.
A quick glance at the menu may have you a little confused, because NOAA has got a bit of everything. We’re talking dim sum, sushi rolls and pizzas from the same kitchen here. While the good news is that there’s something to match everyone’s palate, we can’t help but worry (at first) that a lack of culinary focus might be the undoing of this establishment.
It was Lombok Oysters (IDR160K/US$12) that kicked off our evening meal, and those of you who enjoy slurping on raw oysters will likely find joy here at NOAA as they’ve got quite the fresh and tasty selection, served on ice with sambal matah (raw, spicy shallot salsa) and ponzu sauce. We’re convinced now that everything tastes better with sambal matah, as it should, and the same undoubtedly applies to raw oysters.
Next, the Dragon Roll (IDR99K/US$7.25) — which comprised of tempura prawns, avocado, cucumber and dynamite sauce — was not exactly the best sushi roll we’ve had. The taste was decent, and given the size of the serving we think it’s considerably worth the price; though Coconuts Bali feels their other offerings are much more worth a try — by quite a long shot.
The next dish was really what set the tone for the rest of the evening for us, and convinced us that NOAA is a standout from its peers on the Petitenget strip. The Chicken Shumai (IDR60K/US$4.4) came with a twist: a soto (traditional Indonesian soup) broth that made a world difference. While the texture of the shumai itself is a lot more firm compared to most shumai we’ve had for dim sum, it goes well with the broth to make for enjoyable bites. The broth itself is savory and a bit on the thick side, and just a little bit spicy — but we believe this might just qualify as a comfort food.
Meanwhile, the Grilled Octopus (IDR105K/US$7.7) was served with roasted peppers, baby leeks, pickled banana blossom and sambal hijau (green chilli paste). This one is pretty pungent, both in flavor and smell, and the smoky flavor blends well with that delicious sambal hijau. We love the texture of our seafood, as it was pleasantly chewy, perhaps a testament to that Western technique blended onto Asian flavors that we were told to expect before we began our dinner.
The Salmon (IDR195K/US$14.3) was decidedly not as memorable, but they do it well enough that we think it will please those who prefer this particular fish. NOAA’s salmon dish comes with shiitake mushrooms, baby bok choy, garlic scapes, cashews with hot bean garlic sauce, and a fish skin crisp that we thought took the spotlight.
Everything placed on our table throughout the evening, FYI, was just gorgeous. We’re talking pristine presentation here, along with very stylish plates. If you’re looking to make great food content on Instagram, then NOAA’s got you covered on that front for sure.
As for beverages, Coconuts Bali tried a couple off their menu, beginning with the Tangerine Crush (IDR130K/US$9.5), which takes the tart from the tangerine and basil herb aroma, and mixed it with vodka and for a refreshing kick. It wasn’t the most delicious cocktail we’ve had, but given that they have a bunch of other signature cocktails on the menu, there must be something else we’d like if we only tried. The Veg N Nuts milkshake (IDR55K/US$4), on the other hand, is quite a crowd-pleaser as the vanilla ice cream, blended avocado, nuts, milk, honey and cream just makes for a truly satisfying gulp. That is, if you’re not one for too-thick of a milkshake.
We saved the best for last, and if you’ve stuck around reading all the way then definitely don’t miss out on the glorious Carbonara X.O. Pork Belly Risotto (IDR160K/US$12). When we looked at the ingredients, we can’t help but think of one twist after another, but then we gave it a taste and it’s the sort of comfort you wouldn’t expect. Coconuts Bali, for one, did not think that we could ever liken a risotto to Nasi Tim (Indonesian steamed chicken rice), but that is what we’re reminded of when we took the first bite, and the ones that followed.
This risotto uses red rice from Tabanan regency, mixed it with slow braised pork belly, parmesan, micro herbs and chili, and topped with an egg yolk for you to mix in yourself. If you stop by NOAA any time soon, do give this dish a go and we hope you enjoyed it as much as we did.
For dessert, we finished things off with Matcha-Misu (IDR90K/US$6.6), NOAA’s own take of green tea tiramisu made of rich custard, vodka matcha syrup and dehydrated meringue shards. Kudos to that gorgeous presentation, even when we weren’t entirely satisfied with how it tasted.
The Banana Chocolate Cake (IDR90K/US$6.6) is a winner, however, and we might have asked for another serving if we weren’t so full already. It was sweet but also light in a way that doesn’t make you feel like you had too much sugar. It’s served with peanut butter, salted caramel gelato, brûléed banana and candied peanuts — all the markings of a lovely finish to what was a memorable meal.
NOAA Social Dining is at Jl. Petitenget No. 2000X
Opens everyday, 8am to 11.30pm
Phone: +62 361 934 3112, email: firstname.lastname@example.org