Kitchen Sessions with Will Meyrick are always a fun culinary experience.
This time media guests were invited to taste new delicacies at Will’s premier outlet, Sarong, which continues to be as popular as ever in Petitenget, Bali. Will invites guests to try his new dishes after travelling to new destinations and on this occasion East Java was the focus.
Meyrick and his assistant, Dinar were recently in Surabaya and Madura on a culinary expedition through the back streets and warungs of this very busy part of Java in a hope to find the heart of East Javanese cuisine. The high-profile chef is known well for his street food exploits; discovering, reinventing and remodeling new Asian dishes for his group of restaurants around the Southeast Asian region and his own street food influenced cook-book. “There are great influences from the Chinese, Indian and Arab cuisines in this part of Java. Surabaya has been a great port with many travellers bringing their diverse flavours over many centuries, which is reflected in the local cuisine,” Will Meyrick told us on one of his visits to our table during the evening.
The first round of dishes came to the table and there were seven new dishes in total.
We began with two starters: Surabaya tofu salad with wok-fried omelet, longtong, potato saos, kacang petis and a breensprout salad, which reminded me a lot of a Indonesia style pad Thai. The second starter was something called sate kelopo of chicken marinated in East Java spices, shredded coconut and cucumber chilli acar. The coconut encrusted chicken sate was something completely new and very tasty. Four main courses were then laid out in front of the group of four of us sitting at the elegant Sarong table. The eight-hour slow braised shredded beef with kluwek beansprout and salted duck egg was akin to a nasi rawon without the hard edge of the popular Indonesian dish. Then there were two similar dishes; Nasi bebek Madura, which is a twice-cooked duck with an excellent sambal mangga – a spicy sliced young mango salad. This dish comes with Balinese organic rice. The Nasi Kebuli Kambing is a slow-cooked lamb shoulder in nutmeg cloves, simmered with rice and served with pickled cucumber.
Both are excellent tastes of Indonesian cuisine and needless to say, delicious. The last mains dish was an example of the Arabian influences in East Java. The dish looked like something you would find in a Middle Eastern/Mediterranean restaurant, which must be a quite liberating occurrence for a predominantly Asian cuisine restaurant. The twice-cooked cumin lamb with roasted potatoes and cucumber yoghurt was presented as one large chunk of lamb on the bone, tender as could be, on a wooden board with a small pile of perfectly roasted potatoes and the yoghurt dip. An excellent dish and one worthy to go straight on the Sarong menu – and that’s exactly what all these dishes have done.
You can try all the dishes above right now at Sarong and for an Indonesian dining experience you will not find better.