Taste of Bali

This restaurant closed late 2011. If you are looking for Indonesian dishes in Columbus you may find some at Lily’s on Bethel Road.

Cuisine: Indonesian
2548 Bethel Rd

Click here to map it!

Taste of Bali is the only Indonesian restaurant in Columbus, and the only Indonesian restaurant we’ve ever been to.  This simple fact made it harder for us, as newcomers to Indonesian fare, to compare the quality and authenticity of their food.

With that caveat behind us, here goes…

As the menu can be somewhat daunting in its unfamiliarity, Taste of Bali have a variety of set menus with different names such as ‘vegetarian’, ‘spice lover’ and ‘adventurous’. Since we were a large group, though, we opted to order a la carte.

We started with the Bali Sampler, a mixed plate of appetizers including sate ayam (chicken satay) which was pretty run of the mill, pangsit goreng (deep fried chicken dumpling), crispy crab and vegetarian spring rolls, none of which was overly memorable, and risol (a chicken and vegetable spring roll) with a slightly creamy but largely flavorless filling.

Our server, who was very accommodating and helpful, offered some suggestions and we had also come armed with some recommendations. Beyond those, we also tried some of the ‘new’ menu items. One of these was a salad called gado-gado comprised of steamed, mixed vegetables topped with lettuce, deep fried tofu, a boiled egg and peanut dressing and was served with shrimp crackers. The mixed vegetables were straight-from-the-freezer green beans, carrots and sweet corn. The dressing was more of a sauce and there was a lot of it.

Sambal goreng kentang were fried diced potato stir fried in sauce; a tasty side dish and one I would order again.

Mie goreng was stir fried egg noodles with shrimp, cabbage, scallion, chinese vegetables and egg. It was a little overcooked and surprisingly bland.

We ordered a couple of different chicken dishes: Ayam bakar jimbaran which was grilled marinated chicken and Ayam bumbu rujak which was grilled chicken breast in red curry sauce. Unlike a Thai red curry, the ayam bumbu was just chicken, somewhat overcooked in a rich sauce.  The bakar was competently executed grilled chicken marinated in a sweet sauce.

Redang daging was a flavorful stewed beef with spices in curry sauce and was one of the most popular dishes.

Gurame Goreng was deep fried fish served whole with sambal ulek (hot sauce) and lalapan (salad).  It was slightly overcooked and bland, at least without the accompanying sambal.

Gudeg is a combination of opor ayam (chicken breast in white curry sauce) and telor balado (egg boiled and pan fried in chili sauce) and jack fruit. Jackfruit is a great meat substitute for vegetarians and vegans and was another popular choice. The egg was very spicy.

One thing we noticed overall was that most of the dishes were very sweet, which may be partly attributed to the use of coconut milk in many of the dishes.

Dessert options include fresh young coconut, bubur ketam hitam (warm black rice pudding topped with coconut milk) and shaved ice with fruit and condensed milk, with either es durian or es teler with sweet jackfruit, avocado and young coconut in sweet coconut milk. The sweet icy desserts were a great antidote to the spicy dishes. Being frozen, the durian was not as stinky as its reputation but still slightly odiferous. It tastes much better than it smells.

Taste of Bali has a children’s menu and caters to vegetarians. Their menu also offers some pan-Asian dishes and notes healthy menu options.


10 responses to “Taste of Bali

  1. Pingback: Taste of Bali « alt.eats.columbus Egg Me

  2. To say durian tastes much better than it smells is a bit like saying Hitler was much nicer in person than his policies would have led you to believe.

  3. Been there, awesome. Amsterdam’s best cuisine is Indonesian. Based on quite a few outings there, this ranks well.

    There was another Indonesian place on OSU’s campus a few years ago in the lower level of the Ohio Stater Mall, since replaced with a bubble tea place. It was a bit crude, but cheap and good. I think the family moved their place to Hilliard, but I can’t remember the name of it.

    • I remember that place but I can’t remember the name on top of my head too, been a while since they closed, used to be my go to place (other than Wong Gei) if I got break in between classes.

      The family still occasionally open up a stand when there’s Asian Food Fest

  4. black sticky rice pudding!? YES!! AND durian shaved ice? omg, i am sooo excited. thanks for the tip!

  5. I had the frog legs last time I was there, not sure if they are still on the menu, and my college palate was quite different, but I loved them then 🙂

  6. I have had the Sambal goreng kentang and the telor balado, but I don’t recognize anything else.

    I love their food but I have never had Indonesian food anywhere else.

  7. We ate there and they re-cycle food and serve you old food. In addition, the foof is not Indonesian but more unidentifiable ‘asian’, more Chinese somewhat trying to be Indonesian. I know because I am Indonesian.

    • Eddie if you are Indonesian,, you will not call those foods as “”unidentifiable asian”, or Chinese.. Because they are definitely not Chinese food.. The Pangsit Goreng and Mie Goreng are inspired by Chinese food, that’s true.. But other food is the original Indonesian food.. Gudeg, for example, is the traditional food from Jogjakarta, Central Java. Rendang is traditional food from Minangkabau, West Sumatra. And Ayam bakar Jimbaran is traditional food from Bali.. Each cities in Indonesia has its own traditional food.
      Are you sure that you are Indonesian?
      Saya orang Indonesia, bagaimana dengan kamu?

  8. Pingback: Lily’s Asian Cuisine | alt.eats.columbus

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