Menega Cafe (October 2015)

I thought it would be nice for my regular readers take a break from my normal flight/hotel/sightseeing review and focus in what really excites me — FOOD!! I have written previous food reviews on two restaurants in at the Singapore St Regis Hotel — Yan Ting Restaurant and the Brasserie Les Saveurs for a Saturday and Sunday brunch respectively.

These two places were a bit more high class. However, you don’t need to always eat this sort of food to have a good dining experience. Sometimes, the simplest settings and food that has been cooked with limited intervention can be among the best you ever eat and this brings me to Menega Cafe in Jimbaran Bay, Bali.

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This isn’t the first time I’ve been here but it is the first time I’ve reviewed this restaurant. The photos and report comes from my recent trip to Bali (you can find the flight report here and the hotel report here). I made mention of this place in my Bali sightseeing piece – I came here after going to Tanah Lot on the first night and also on my final night in Bali.

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I’m not entirely sure why it’s called a cafe because it really is a restaurant. I suppose it is because it opens onto the beachfront and restaurant probably (in their minds) sounds less pretentious. Though restaurant is probably the best description.

So, what to bear in mind when coming to this restaurant? Well, first thing to realise that this is a really popular restaurant and with views over the sea, the whole beach front is a great place to have dinner.

First thing to do is try to get there reasonably early (6 is probably a good time). If you arrive later it might difficult to get a seat out on the beach. If you are ok with sitting indoors (no air con) you can sit there, but there is basically no air flow so you end up with a fog of coconut smoke encompassing you and a) your clothes with smell and b) you might not see your dining companions (though that might not necessarily be a bad thing).

Personally I prefer to be on the beach as it’s a bit more open. However as I said it can get really busy especially as you get there between the hours of 7-9pm.

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Second, you choose your own seafood. Once you have a place to sit, you can abandon it and rush back to the front to select the seafood that you want. You get a choice of whatever has come in that day — just point at what you want and they will take it out and set it aside. They will take either your table number or your name (if you don’t have a table) and send the seafood to be grilled. Don’t worry they gut and scale the fish before it’s sent to be cooked!

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And no, you can’t ask for it to be medium well – HAHAHAHAHA!!!!! They just put it on a BBQ with burning dried coconut husks that produces a really unique smell and flavour. I do feel for the guys who cook the fish. When the fires are really going it must be almost impossible to see what is going on — let alone trying to work out what is being cooked for who!!

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Third, don’t worry about the vegetables they’ll serve those as part of the deal. It’s usually kang kong for those who know the local terms; for those who want the English name — morning glory. And for those of you who are interested, the stems are not stiff and I see no effect the next day. This vegetable dish is served spicy (sambal kang kong) as standard, but I think if you ask they will just cook it with garlic so you don’t have to kill yourself with the chilis.

Finally, a word of warning. The food can take some time to get to you. Usually you can wait at least half of an hour especially if you arrive during peak time. I had to wait close to an hour for my food the second time I came here. I guess having such a large crowd means that this place serves good food. Though to be fair, all they are doing is barbecuing seafood – which is what all the shops along this area are supposed to be doing.

But when it finally arrives, take lots of pictures and dive right in!!!!! Enjoy my photos ….. and maybe you will also go and try this great place!!!!!!!!

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Menega Cafe
Jimbaran Bali
Jalan Four Seasons Muaya Beach

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