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Rasa Senang.....

Feeling Good in Sanur!

Rasa Senang, or simply 'feeling good' as literally translated, offers real Dutch Rice Table. It is the way it has always been served, back in Holland, an example of the varying tastes of Indonesia, from the time when Dutch visitors to the 'colony' brought back samples of Indonesia's exotic spices.

So Rijsttafels are the major attraction for diners at Rasa Senang. Most commonly enjoyed as a leisurely dinner, they can also be pre-ordered for lunch time, but only as a minimum order for two persons. They offer two options; the Indrapura [15 courses] and the Besakih [18 different dishes]. However an extensive a la carte menu also allows you to try most of the individual dishes in larger portions if you prefer.

Whilst their Lunch Menu offers some snacks and light meals their full Dinner Menu is also available all day. Unique luncheon items include Burgers, an International with Cheddar Cheese and Bacon, an Indonesian Burger with a salsa of tomato, cucumber, onion and curry, tofu chips and French fries with a pineapple peanut dipping sauce.

Lunch time sandwiches include a standard Club and a Bali Special; sliced chicken with avocado and mango. The Tuna Salad features cooked tuna with paprika and onion. The Indonesian Gado-Gado needs no introduction to lovers of steamed vegetables with lashings of peanut sauce. The various Lumpias are available on both menus. Their Lumpia Ayam Mangga Muda is unusual and very tasty; chicken pieces and green mango wrapped in a soft cabbage leaf. The Tosti of cheese and bacon seemed to be cooked in a pan rather than toasted under a grill, far too dry for me.

Evening appetizers include two that appear misnamed, though still excellent. Martabak is 3 deep-fried rice paper triangles stuffed with minced lamb and diced potato, rather than between sheets of the normal crumbly pastry. Rissoles Ayam I had to try. As far as I know the 'rissole' is pure Australian, beef meat balls of many different recipes [other countries have different names for similar creations]. Rissole Ayam, I was expecting a meatball of minced chicken? Instead more like a large soft spring roll stuffed with a cream of chicken mix, a nice spicy dip on the side. Not what I had expected, but still good enough to be interesting.

Other entrees worth trying are their Sates [chicken, beef, lamb, pork, vegetarian or a mix of all], Udang Gala [scampi in coconut sauce], Bakwan Udang [prawn cakes] and Lumpia with just vegetables or with pork and shrimps. A mix Plate of Snacks [Lima Macam] enables you to try 5 different dishes, great for the lone diner.

Mains are by major ingredient. Fish can be Gurami or Snapper, deep-fried or with sweet and sour and lemongrass. The prawns are large ones, real prawns without being of the jumbo variety. All three options are cooked in their shells, but split and easy to eat [with the mandatory finger bowl, which arrives automatically]. The meat firm but tender, three options; cooked in the Manadonese Rica-Rica, a mild coconut milk curry or after having been marinated in tamarind.

Chicken, the standard food of Indonesia, does not disappoint! Ayam Panggang Kecap keeps the Balinese very happy with its liberal use of their favourite additive, Kecap Manis. Chunks of tender chicken are cooked on the bone, enough chilli is used to balance the sweetness of the sweet soy. The chicken skin, surprisingly, is perfectly crisp as only the Asians seem to be able to present it. Ayam Kari is in a fragrant coconut milk curry but the Ayam Bumbu Rujak is the show stopper! Very tender pieces of boned chicken cooked in Javanese palm sugar, again enough chilli added to balance the dish perfectly. This one you will not want to share!

Red Meat dishes include a Rendang, in Padang style [braised till almost dry] but in milder form than is usually served in Padang restaurants although still with a pleasant chilli after taste. Padang Rendang is far too often over-cooked; dry, stringy or cooked to a mush. Here the large chunks are close to perfection, you may even order a 2nd serving.

All the main meat courses are served with a bowl of Sayur Manis, sweet vegetables, the perfect contrast to the chilli taste in most of the dishes, and pickles. All the bumbus are well balanced and full of richness, all are made in the kitchen at Rasa Senang, not from bottles as is done at far too many 'famous' and more expensive Indonesian restaurants.

For those who insist of eating western food [and there is always one in every group] Rasa Senang also offers a Western Corner with Steaks [black pepper], Pork Medallions [mustard], Garlic Prawns and a great value Seafood Platter at just Rp.65,000++ p.p.

A nice Indonesia-Dutch touch is the serving of delicate Lapis Lagit [spekkoet], thin slices cut from a spicy multi-layered cake, this one had a banana flavour but there are many others as well. If you like it as much as I do then you can order a full slice for dessert with cinnamon ice cream. Yum!

Back in the 1990's Sanur was just about Bali's most boring place to eat. There were many small restaurants, mostly with similar menus all offering what they thought tourists wanted to eat. The most amazing part of the Sanur resurgence of the last decade is the vast range in cuisines now available. The places are still mostly small so very personal, some are owned and run by foreigners but many also operated by locals who have learnt what to do.

Value is the key to dining in Sanur these days, and Rasa Senang plays its part in again offering something a little different to the rest, in immaculately clean premises. Dine inside under the overhead fans or at the front in the small pleasant garden. It will always be a good experience.

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Rasa Senang
Jln. Danau Tamblingan 92,
8.00 a.m. to 11.00 p.m., daily.
Street only.
Rp. 360,000 for two [+ drinks]
Credit Cards:
- Mastercard
- Visa
Limited list.
Old fashioned friendly.
A Dutch eating house.
Real Dutch Rijsttafel
Last Reviewed:
November 2010
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