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Balique

Published 01 June 2012   

An eclectic design and menu brings new life to Jimbaran

An eclectic design and menu brings new life to Jimbaran.

Text: David Trauts
Photos: Sulthon

The owners of new Jimbaran restaurant Balique need little introduction to people around Bali. Think of just about any Moroccan or classic vintage design around town and Zohra Boukhari will be there somewhere in the shadows masterly creating the images of inspiration. Moroccan-born Zohra is behind the designs of many restaurants, spas and restaurants on Bali and around the world, and the eclectic Balique design is yet another example of her evolution. Her husband Blaise Samoy is also involved in furniture design and construction, and being brought up near the French border in Belgium he is obviously into his food.

Another man behind the new restaurant, and as he describes, the French Mediterranean with an Asian twist menu, is executive chef Yehudi van Meckeren. Belgian Yehudi is only 29 years old but already has 15 years experience in the kitchens and restaurants of his native Bruges, and some of Bali’s finest, where he’s been living and working the past five years. Also, being the son of Yannic of famed Seminyak restaurant, Mannekepis, and with his restaurant heritage, the young chef has had plenty of F&B experience from a very earlier age.

“Since we are in Asia,” says the chef, “we have an infusion of Asian spices and dishes throughout the menu.”

There’s nothing minimalist about Balique, with ornaments, objets and furnishings bursting out of every square inch of the place, yet at the same time it’s still a simple square space housed under a large Joglo roof. Eclectic touches abound from the rusty corrugated iron entrance wall to the mix of glass lamps and sixties styled lamp shades on the ceiling and imitation flower pots climbing up the structural posts holding up the roof. As a companion said when we visited recently, it’s like a lovely doll house full of girly things – and no doubt the ladies will love it, but also I have a sneaking suspicion the guys too will feel right at home within this space. Balique is eclectic in many ways.

As a collage of interesting things, Balique cannot be beat. Washed paint finishes, original joglo tiles, fabrics, light fittings and antique furnishings create an eclectic space of inspiration; Chef Yehudi van Meckeren looking as casual as always.

This French-Mediterranean-and-slightly-Asian-twisted menu is fun, but it’s also very tasty, wholesome and I must add, reasonably priced.

Back to this French-Mediterranean-and-slightly-Asian-twisted-menu. It’s fun, but also very tasty, wholesome and I must add, reasonably priced. There are some very authentic French dishes on the menu like the grilled Australian rib eye with one of the best Béarnaise sauces on the island, handmade by a very proud Yehudi. The Mediterranean end offers a bunch of Moroccan inspired dishes including couscous, tagine, kefta and kebabs spicing things up, even if they could be more spicy in my opinion. The Italian classics like beef carpaccio and insalata caprese can meet anybody’s Italian expectations. “Since we are in Asia,” says the chef, “we have an infusion of Asian spices and dishes throughout the menu.” Highlights would be the crying tiger strip loin steak topped with coriander “naim prik” Thai dressing served with jasmine rice, or the red Thai beef curry, and there’s a whole page of Indonesian dishes if you are looking for something local. The dishes we tried were all made from fresh and wholesome ingredients, all very tasty and well presented. There’s just something very cool and fun about the place and the cocktail list also reflects that with a few interesting concoctions. One drink, a Passion Star Martini, comes in three different parts and then you are left to your own devices to figure out what to do with it. I eventually had to ask the barman. Silly me.

Opened only six months ago, Balique is helping to make the Jimbaran area of south Bali a dining enclave in its own right. As the traffic of Bali now dictates how far anyone is willing to drive to a restaurant, this shady tree-lind street amongst some of Bali’s top resorts will surely have a strong dining future. However, the people at Balique won’t be sitting on their laurels for long as plans are already afoot for a similar concept and a second restaurant in Oberoi’s famed Eats Street, which is slated to open in a few months. But don’t wait around for that to appear, get down to Jimbaran now to try the original.

Balique
Jalan Uluwatu 39,
Jimbaran, Bali
Tel: +62 361 704 945
www.balique-restaurant.com