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Jul 16, 2008 12:14 PM

Need help with NEW INDONESIAN RESTO in Cabbagetown

Bali Hai Indonesian Cuisine on the west side of Parliament between Wellesley and Winchester has finally opened. It looks clean and pleasant although fairly unadorned for the moment. No liquor license yet, but oh well.

Here's my dilemma: Having never had Indonesian cuisine before, I'd like to stick my big toe in first before I dive. Can anyone recommend any particularly tasty appetizers, especially those that could travel well in a take-out situation? Please help the Indonesian neophyte.

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  1. Thanks for the heads up on this place.

    I don’t know their menu, but here are some apps that should travel well:

    Satay – An Indonesian restaurant that can’t do satay well won’t be around long. Served with peanut sauce.
    Krupuk – Home made fish/shrimp chips. Served with peanut sauce.
    Lumpia – Indonesian stuffed rolls, like spring rolls they can be fried or not.
    Ayam Goreng – Fried Chicken, need I say more
    Pickled Vegetables Croquettes and Fritters
    They should also have a lot of sambals (side sauces) to try.

    Happy eating!

    5 Replies
    1. re: mikeb

      Actually, you could say more about Ayam goreng. It is usually boiled with spices until tender before deep or pan frying, unlike the usual deep fried chicken, just to set the right expectation.

      I'm very curious about this place too!

      1. re: mikeb

        my favourite for the summer is gado gado - a cold salad made of boiled things: potatoes, hard boiled eggs, various vegetables (cabbage, green beeans) and fried tofu - served with a tasty peanut chili sauce - num!!

        1. re: Apple

          mmm.... I love gado gado too. It's the peanut sauce that makes all the difference... it actually has a lot of different spices in it besides just peanuts.

          I actually like the raw gado-gado version instead of the boiled veggies one. ... The sauce is similar, but different ...and the veggies are also different. Usually when I make gado gado, I put shredded romaine lettuce, thin slices of cabbage, bean sprouts, cucumber slices and fried tofu. Soooo good with some fried tempeh slices and krupuk.

          Another Indo appetizer I really like is resoles....!!! It tastes best when it's fresh and crispy, but it's still good either way :) If you mean take-out to take home... then you can pop them into a toaster oven to make it crispy on the outside again.

          1. re: sumashi

            Variations of gado gado come from different regions. I wonder if they do actually concentrate on Balinese cuisine, rather than general Indonesian. If so, they may even not have ayam goreng, which is Javanese AFAIK.

            1. re: sumashi

              My gado2 includes: watercress, carrots, cabbage, bean sprouts, chayote, hard boiled eggs, potato, fried tofu. Bawang goreng on top, krupuk on the side.

              If this is a Balinese resto, babi guling better be on the menu!

        2. I'm extremely curious, too... if you go, Googs, please do tell us what you think, and also, I would love to hear if they have a website should anyone know!

          1. Hey Googs, please do post your findings, this is sounding really good!...if they do a good job of it I'm trekking 'cross town to try it...

            6 Replies
            1. re: Recyclor

              Oh sure. Ask the chick who's never had Indonesian food before what she thinks. Thanks gang. No pressure.

              Bali Hai Indonesian Cuisine, 568 Parliament St. 647-349-6678

              All I can say after a whopping one visit in which I only ordered appetizers is that it shows enough promise that hubby & I are going to make a dinner of it soon. With their prices, it's hard not to feel adventurous. This isn't necessarily an endorsement of Bali Hai, as it takes at least 2 or 3 dinners to get a feel for a place. Promising is nice at this stage.

              For my $7.08, taxes included, I received risoles, gado gado, and kroket. They did indeed travel well and managed to maintained their crunch. We enjoyed them and I have to say we almost didn't make the rest of our planned dinner as we were feeling close to satisfied at this point.

              I passed on things like Lumpia as I felt that would turn into an onomatopoeia by the time I got home. I would have tried the Lemper Ayam since it sounded great. However, they sold out earlier in the day due to a large order. Bummer. Next time.

              The 3 young men running the place all seem to be Indonesian. Hard to know, impossible to ask. The one tending to me was helpful, friendly but not overly so, and I felt sincere. Quite refreshing really. Their air conditioning isn't operational yet, but it's coming. They keep both front and back doors open to get a breeze going through. They have no liquor license yet, although that isn't much of an impediment to this kind of dining. The room is clean, but low-rent in appearance. Clean is more important. I note, though, that they're not listed on DineSafe yet. They don't have a website and I forgot to ask if they're getting one. An Indonesian deli will be opening in their lower level very, very soon.

              For those who understand these dishes I have a half a take-out menu at home. The other half that has the Indonesian Style Noodles, appetizers and sweets is missing. Another aspect they'll need to get together. Hard to order delivery with this thing. This'll have to do you for now. If you really, really need to menu's descriptions of each dish *sigh* I can do that.

              Without combo $7.99
              With nut & anchovy fish, veg of the day, Gendar cracker, fried Tempeh $8.99
              With Es Teler (whatever that is) $10.99
              - Bali Hai Fried Chicken *
              - Bumbu Rudjak
              - Bumbu Bali
              - Balinesse Minced Beef
              - Rendang Beef

              * This could be the Ayam Goreng you guys referred to. Described on the menu as "Chicken marinated with Javanese spices served with rice & egg". If it is, does that makes Bali-Hai Fried an oxymoron?

              Soto Ayam
              Indonesian Style Satay
              Indonesian Curry Chicken
              Bali-Hai Fried Rice
              Ikan Bakar

              I'd love to hear the opinions of anyone who's had this style of cuisine before. The food seems fun, cheap, tasty, and not at all greasy. How guilt free can you get?

              1. re: Googs

                We had dinner plans but we passed by after to check it out. It has an Asian cafeteria feel, rather than a restaurant, with the tables with heavy plastic table cloth pinned to them.

                You say the food is not greasy and that's great, because this kind of food can easily be oily. Bali-Hai Fried Chicken sounds fine, if it was Fried ayam goreng, then it would be wrong. (Ayam = chicken, goreng = fried).

                The friendly guy in the floral shirt gave me the takeout menu, attched here.

                1. re: Googs

                  Es teler! I am SO down with that.
                  es teler = shaved ice (es) + jackfruit + avocado + young coconut + condensed milk

                  An Indonesian deli... I can't imagine what that will entail.
                  I will have to check this place out.

                  1. re: mogo

                    Mmmm... es teler, so good in the summer.... bonus points if they can make me soda gembira. Hey mogo, we should definitely check this place out on our next RJ:TNG arisan ^^

                    I'm really glad you found it promising, Googs!! The menu looks like it covers the basic Indo foods.... I wanna try out their resoles, gado gado and soto ayam. BTW, do you know if they make the appetizers in-house or order it in from outside...?

                  2. re: Googs

                    Thanks Googs, a solid account (as always) I see myself giving it a shot one of these days...

                    1. re: Googs

                      Thanks for taking one for the team, Googs! I was so bitterly disappointed by Stone Orchid in Tobermory last summer, and am now SO looking forward to Bali Hai next time I'm in the east end.

                  3. I went by there today around 6pm but it was closed, and there was no signage regarding opening hours. Are they not consistently open yet? Is siesta time in effect? :)

                    1 Reply
                    1. re: mogo

                      They seem to be experiencing some start-up issues. The other day the resto was closed, but the deli was open. A few days earlier the opposite was true. Then the last 2 days it's been completely closed.

                      I haven't had a chance to read the little handwritten sign out front. I'm sure there's some sort of explanation there. I'll report if it's worth reporting. If you see something, I'd appreciate it if you'd let us know. As I understand it, Indonesian food is hard to come by here.

                    2. Well, this is very good news. It's a long time since I've had access to Indonesian food.

                      Did you notice whether they had that thinly layed spice cake?

                      2 Replies
                      1. re: hungry_pangolin

                        Good News #1: I noticed people going into the resto part last night.

                        Good News #2: They have a variety of sweet treats.

                        So-So News #1: I haven't tried their sweets yet, so have no descriptions of them for you. Will try to obtain the balance of the take-out menu from them.

                        So-So News #2: I'm likely going to grab take-out from there tonight so I should have more info shortly.

                        1. re: Googs

                          I would say So-So News #2 is actually Good News #3!