The Bali Dynasty Resort has undergone many changes in recent years, and far more are currently in progress. A change of management, from Shangri-La, and a brief flirtation with that dreaded practice of charging for food and beverages in $US, now over, has seen it?s flagship restaurant, the Golden Lotus, now revert to days of old. It is back to being a great Chinese restaurant in elegant surroundings.
The room is that classic Chinese dining room with high ceilings, well-spaced tables and black wood, a row of private dining areas, separated by folded wall units along one wall, and separate dining rooms of various sizes along the opposite wall.
Specialising in Cantonese food, as do most of Indonesia?s real Chinese restaurants, with a few offerings in the Szechuan or Beijing style. One of the first thought that comes to my mind whenever I contemplate eating Chinese food, is of that wonderful starter; Suckling Pig. It is quite amazing that though Suckling pig is the star of three different cuisines [Balinese, Chinese and Spanish], just how different it?s preparation and end presentation is, from one to the other.
Here at the Golden Lotus it is done the Cantonese way, thin strips of cold meat, that are baby tender, topped with paper-thin crunchy crackling. Dipping the pieces in a Plum or Hoisin sauce just completes the fantasy. For that universal starter, the Spring Rolls are plump ones that are stuffed with a vegetable mix, but cross-sliced, having been wrapped in rice paper before deep-frying. Light, crispy and very tasty, just the way I like them! The sliced Honey Pork also makes a perfect starter, but the pan-fried duck was quite rugged, and a bit of a disappointment.
That most traditional of all Chinese feasts, Peking Duck, is always available at the Golden Lotus. Your order of a half or whole duck, will be presented as three dishes. Firstly, the crisp skin and a sliver of flesh from underneath are combined with a spring onion and some black bean sauce on a soft Chinese pancake, rolled and then devoured greedily. Subsequently, the body of the duck is stripped and stir-fried with your choice of Dried Chilli or Black Pepper sauces, and the body bones and carcass are then simmered with mixed vegetables to produce a delicate broth. Truly one of the great dishes of the world!
Soups are a big part of any Chinese banquet. A variety of hot, sweet, sour or meaty combinations are available. A Braised Seafood and Fresh Scallop, Braised Salted Vegetables and Bean Curd, Crab Meat and Sweet Corn, Braised Mince Chicken and Vegetable, Sichuan Hot & Sour or an Asparagus and Crab Meat.
Of course, if it fits into your budget, there is only one soup to order. That is one of the Shark?s Fin offerings. They vary from a cheaper Shark?s Fin Soup with Dry Scallop and Crab Meat to the more exotic Double-boiled Superior Shark?s Fin Soup with Dry Scallop and Chinese Cabbage. Or even the strangely titled ?Monk Jumps over the Wall? [at Rp.250,000 p.p.]!
Needless to say, there are Abalone, Sea Cucumber, Live Fish and Lobster dishes. These can be prepared in many different ways. The live fish can be either steamed, with a variety of sauces or deep fried, nice and crunchy. You can even eat some of the bones, and don?t forget the fins and head! The lobsters are stir-fried with many combinations of herbs and spices. Even the more mundane selections, from the a la carte menu, still produce a wonderful banquet, with a variety of styles and flavours..
Prawns are a must on any Chinese spread, and you have many variations here to select from. The Diced Prawns in Asam Curry, served in a clay pot, are the chef?s recommendation, but we opted for something with a bit more bite. Although warned by the waitress that the Sichuan Pan-fried Prawns were very hot, we found them to be quite mild. An enormous plate was devoured quickly. Nice big plump prawns, the way they always seem to be at good Chinese restaurants. The alternatives included Deep-fried with Sweet and Sour, Stir-fried with Cashews or King Size with Kam Special Sauce.
Other seafood dishes include an excellent Fried Squid in Plack Pepper, Stir-fried Fresh Scallops with Broccoli and either Deep-fried or Stir-fried Fish.
Stir-fried Beef with Ginger and Spring Onion is always an attractive option, but the Fried Beef in a Black Pepper Sauce is too good to miss. Nice tender chunks of beef in a sauce with a bit of power to it! In a total contrast, the Deep-fried Chicken with Lemon Sauce and Sesame Seed is a little sweet, but not overly so. Flattened and breaded breasts of chicken sliced and served on a sauce that is light and tangy.
Ang Ciu Chicken with Black Fungus is served in a clay pot, whilst the traditional Beggars Chicken is a whole chicken that has been stuffed with herbs and wrapped in lotus leaves before being baked in the oven.
The Stir-fried Pork Ribs were a little fatty, but still very good. We preferred the style that was cooked in a spicy sauce, served on a sizzling plate. They are also available ?King Tu? or Vietnamese style.
There are many Bean Curd, Vegetarian, Noodle and Rice dishes, amongst them a Braised Mixed Vegetables with Almond Flakes in a Potato Basket, Fried Hokkien Style Noodles with Mixed Seafood and a Sauteed Shredded Roast Duck with Wonton Noodles.
The biggest problem at the Golden Lotus is deciding what to order from their extensive menu. Whatever you do select, you will enjoy it! Servings come in two sizes, so it is easy to develop your own banquet, no matter how many at your table.
A Free-Flow Yum Cha exists every day of the week [12.00 noon to 2.30 p.m] at the Golden Lotus at the reasonable price of RP.45,000++ p.p. A large variety of dim sum are on display along the buffet, from which you can serve yourself.
Highlighted on the wine list are selections from the Wine of the Gods. I find their Chardonnay very easy to drink. It?s light un-wooded style seems to make a nice balance with spicy Asian food. It makes a pleasant change to be able to order quality wines, at a reasonable price, in Bali!
The Golden Lotus is a sponsor of the East Bali Poverty Project. As an added bonus, a percentage of your bill is donated to this most worthwhile project.