Published 06 January 2011
Gado Gado is the quiet achiever amongst the glitzy restaurant scene in Bali and while hiding under the radar somewhat, it appears to be improving in leaps and bounds. It remains one of the few high-end restaurants in Seminyak that stays true to its Balinese heritage in design and has a legion of loyal fans frequenting from all over the world. FRV re-checks Gado Gado.
It was a quiet Tuesday night when we pulled up out the front of Gado Gado restaurant; my son and I looking for a feed. The welcome at the entrance was warm as we chatted with the PR while being shown to our table on the timber decking. There appears to be more lights in the trees above the decking brightening the whole dining area now, which has helped to lift the atmosphere. Gado Gado used to be a touch on the dark side before, but thankfully now it shines brightly. Personally, I don’t understand restaurants where you can’t even see the dish in front of you while dining and I’m happy to report this has been addressed.
It’s a quiet pace at Gado Gado. Dining around us are mainly tourists, large families, couples, the odd gay blades; it’s busy, but relaxed. It doesn’t have the über-cool clientele and DJ set of its cousin down the beach, Kudeta, but it is elegant and comfortable. Being right on the beach, my 15-year-old son has to keep his eyes down as not to be semi-hypnotized by the hawkers vending all kinds of paraphernalia from the public area in front. The flying lights and twinkling toys could be considered a distraction, but this is Bali after all. The service is attired in black and effectively tending tables around us as menus and drinks are placed on our table. After ten years or more, Gado Gado should have good service, and it does, but it appears they have a system where a number of waiters are serving a number of tables, which some moments leaves you wondering who is actually serving your table.
Quib Rademaker has been at the helm of the kitchen for three years now. How time flies. Fortunately for Gado Gado he has stuck around and doesn’t appear to be in any rush to go anywhere. Even having his house burning to the ground a couple of months ago, losing everything in the process, hasn’t dampened his spirit for the place. Recently, the Dutch chef has been introducing new dishes to the menu, and in the process, showing Bali how inventive and exciting a chef he really is.
Once Gado Gado was known for its safe and not particularly challenging menu, but now that has all changed. Dishes such as ‘slow cooked jumbo prawns with honey melon, aloe vera, passion fruit and lemon grass [85k]’ or ‘marinated scallops with mango, tomato, basil, crispy foccacia and basil mayonnaise [125k]’, both off the starters menu, are delicious examples of how enticing the menu has become. The jumbo prawn dish with its fruity and tangy sauce is a particular winner, while the raw marinated scallops with crushed mango are a taste sensation. Mains comprise of all your standard meat and fish dishes, but are guaranteed to be worked exquisitely in the taste department by Quib. The combinations of ingredients and spices are mouthwatering. The ‘roasted duck breast with sweet and sour beetroot, rhubarb compote, confit of the leg and veal jus with Sechuan pepper [175k]’ is a stand out, and the ‘1/2 roasted chicken “a la bonne femme” with thyme jus and sauted bacon, potatoes, mushrooms, soy bean and shallot’ was claimed to be “excellent!” by my son.
It seems like a lot of space is going to waste at Gado Gado. The timber terrace facing directly to the beach is the prime spot to dine which leaves the entire roofed area vacant most of the time. We were wondering how long it would take the horde of staff to move the whole crowd inside if there was a sudden downpour, though. Of course, you can never take the Bali weather for granted, but between you and me, I think you can take it as a given that Gado Gado has reached new heights and down that quiet street of Dhyana Pura it’s pouring, not raining, taste and flavour sensations.
Jalan Dhyanapura No.99,
(Right by the beach)
Tel : +62 361 736 966