BLANCO par Mandif x Salon Bali: The Exploration of Tropical Tastes
Both root from Indonesia’s traditional recipes. Both promote the best from the archipelago has to offer. When BLANCO par Mandif and Salon Bali collided to strengthen their mission in empowering local tastes, an exceptional food scene in the hub of hustle-bustle Seminyak permeated the area. At Salon Bali, part of Hotel Indigo Seminyak, where both executive chefs, Mandif Warokka (BLANCO par Mandif) and Nic Philip (Salon Bali) helmed the kitchen side by side, the dinner was started smoothly by the ritual of handwashing. Rose petals were floated in the copper bowl, putting more aesthetic sense to a usual daily habit.
Rempeyek (an Indonesia’s traditional cracker) welcomed the guests with its authentic taste and unique condiments. Sambal cobek, Indonesian traditional sauce made by fried shallot, garlic, chili, and kaffir lime juice, was placed with pickled carrot and chayote. Followed by two other snacks: fresh squids and karedok (raw vegetable salad with peanut sauce from West Java). Interestingly the karedok was formed in a totally different presentation from the original. The taste of karedok remained but what was on display only a leaf of fried spinach beneath the small portion of raw vegetables and peanut sauce. Entering the appetizer, guests were reminded by the Indonesian street food: gorengan (fries). Unlikely, only cassava was served with melted cheese and chili sauce on the side. The cassava was marinated in squid ink to give a stronger texture when dipped in the cheese or chili.
Continuing to the appetizers guests were guided to a spectrum of tantalizing flavor. To Indonesian, they may have been familiar with the recipes though the presentations were completely undercover. However, it managed to retain the best qualities of its predecessor while also breaking new ground. First was hand-picked crab, sayur asem (vegetable sour soup) jelly and cultured cream. In the bowl, sayur asem jelly covered the crab to create an explosive sensation when the jelly had spooned the crab at once. The intense flavor of the crab was balanced by the sour taste of the jelly.
Not stopping there, two more dishes awaited. Next was fried Bintang prawn, covered in flour and deep-fried. Curry mayo as the dip was a perfect buddy, to keep both tastes complemented each other uniquely. Similarly to the BBQ swordfish that was served with snake fruit lawar (Balinese vegetable salad) and turmeric abon (rousong). The swordfish was well-cooked, not fishy at all as the lawar and turmeric abon enriched the mixture.
The main course then arrived to the table featuring smoked quail egg, eggplant emulsion, and coconut kalio. Although the western flavor seemed to dominate the taste, the coconut kalio perfected the texture to give a bit of tropical slash Indonesian flavor. The dinner stardom, on the other hand, rewarded the roasted duck betutu (Balinese traditional cooking method), braised pineapple, tamarind red beet essence. Guests’ palatal area was touched by all different notes, savory, sour, sweet and bitter. Not to mention the tenderness of the duck that delivered robust taste.
To end the night, two desserts were prepared by the two magnificent chefs. Chef Nic with es kombucha, wild berries and spiced condensed milk and Chef Mandif with the Cuv’ee de Bali chocolate tart mixed with palm sugar, and served with coconut ice cream and passion fruit.