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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

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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.

Dosa Corner

Cuisine: Indian
1077 Old Henderson
Dosa Corner web site

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Dosa Corner is a small no-frills South Indian Vegetarian restaurant with a small dining area and a focus on take-out. We have tried more than a few things at Dosa Corner and, so far, have enjoyed them all. Appetizers include samosas, medu wada (lentil donuts) and pakora. Except for the idli (steamed rice and lentil dumpling) all appetizers are deep fried.

The speciality of the house is of course the dosa, and there are many different variations offered here. A dosa is a thin crispy crepe made from rice and lentil flour that usually comes wrapped around some sort of filling, although you can get them plain. Favorites include the channa masala dosa with curried chickpeas, potatoes and lots of fresh cilantro and the mysore masala dosa with roasted onion chutney  and topped with a cilantro potato mixture.

Another good option is the spicy spinach uthappam. An uthappam or uttapam is a pancake in which the other ingredients are cooked into the batter such that it looks a little more like a pizza. It is thicker, spongier and less crispy than a dosa. All dosas and uthappam come with dipping sauces.

Dosa Corner also has a variety of rice and curry dishes. Pictured below is the mutter panneer made with homemade cheese. The main dishes are around $7 and for around $10 you can get a thali (combination meal) with either a dosa or with curry and poori (fried bread).

Portion sizes are generous and the owner is friendly and helpful. There is a specials board and lots of pictures of the food on the wall – helpful for when explanations aren’t entirely clear. Dosa Corner also offers Indian sweets and snacks.