W L •
24 Jul 2014 • 2 reviews • 0 follower
I had dinner tonight at Cumi Bali with 3 friends. We made a 7pm reservation and were seated on the ground floor. I must have walked past this place many times as I live in the vicinity, but I never noticed it till tonight. When I got here, I realized why. The restaurant is nondescript on the outside, and just as unpretentious on the inside. The interior is decorated simply. Yet it felt very cosy and comfortable, just as if we were dining in our own home.
This is what 4 of us girls ordered:
- Ikan Bakar (fish with otak topping) - a whole deboned fish
- Sate Madura (charcoal-grilled skewered chicken) - 2 skewers
- Ayam Goreng (diced chicken with spices )
- Sayur Lodeh (curry veg)
- Keropok Embing (indonesian bitter crackers)
- Homemade sambal belacan
- Chendol x 2
- Rice x 4
- Lime Juice x 2
- Iced Lemon Tea x 1
- Tiger Beer x 1
We spent about $30 per pax and it was totally worth it! The food was delicious and the portions were generous. We were completely stuffed and satisfied.
For me, the highlights were the Sate and the Ayam Goreng. The Sate was thick, juicy and marinated wonderfully. I scraped up the marinate with the embing at the end of the meal. The yummiest part of the Ayam Goreng was the crispy bits of marinate/batter that came with the chicken. I scraped up those bits too. My friend really liked the fish. I am not a chilli eater so I skipped the belacan but the rest loved it. Although we were initially overwhelmed by the sheer amount of food served, in the end, we DID finish everything. And still had space for chendol, which was just the right mix of gula melaka and coconut.
Beyond the food and ambience, service was excellent. The service staff was very helpful and chatty when we needed anything, and everything was served promptly and efficiently.
Personally, I am quite jaded by the hipster cafes, “artisan” coffee joints and fine dining restaurants that have sprung up everywhere. There are too many and none of them leave an impression because the food is usually overpriced, below standard, with lousy service to boot. Each one tries to differentiate itself (think plastic crates with plywood as chairs, repurposed sewing machines as tables.. you get the picture) – but the end product is lost because there isn’t any originality after all.
There was a review earlier which mentioned Cumi Bali's plastic green plates. I don’t understand the fuss. What matters is the food that’s on the plate, not the plate itself. If one needs to dine on high quality ceramic tableware, one might want to consider having an English afternoon tea at Raffles Hotel instead.
Cumi Bali stands out for me simply because it doesn’t really need to try at all. The ambience – cosy and comfortable. The food – generous and delicious. The service – unpretentious and excellent. To me, this is what Singaporean food should be about. We really do not need another hipster café. We need more places like Cumi Bali.