at The Bali Dynasty resort
The Bali Dynasty Resort, located on South Kuta Beach, is one of Kuta’s enduringly popular destinations. It is ultra-convenient for the town’s pulsating bars and clubs, ideally placed for mall and market shopping, and has the added benefit of being only 10 minutes from the airport.
It’s also home to one of Bali’s best Chinese restaurants – Golden Lotus.
The restaurant is open Tuesday to Saturday for hotel guests and walk-in visitors with lunch served from 11.30AM to 2.30PM, while dinner is served from 6PM. On Sundays and public holidays, its doors open earlier, at 10AM, for the fabulous and extremely popular Dim Sum Buffet.
Adjacent to the hotel lobby, the comfortable restaurant seats 160, as well as having several plush private rooms, each seating up to 14 guests around a large banquet-style table.
The décor is classic Chinese – heavily wooded with dark wall panels, golden cubed inserts and thick wooden pillars. It feels quite regal, but at the same time it’s definitely not too formal, which is ideal considering the resort’s location.
Chef Sugianto offers countless dining options, including the Family Set Menu, Dim Sum and very large a la carte menu influenced clearly by Cantonese and Szechuan cuisines.
The menu is positioned outside the double doors, so you can browse its delights before taking the plunge. Such is the variety, unless you have a special favourite, it can be quite difficult to make your mind up and I confess to taking the easy option and following the chef’s recommendations.
I started off with a small bowl of Szechuan Hot and Sour Soup, a perennial choice at most Chinese restaurants. Thick, spicy, wholesome and very tasty, it is reputed to have major health benefits in treating colds and flu. It was delicious, warming and tantalizing the taste buds – the chef had made a good opening play!
Another classic, Peking duck, appeared next. Constructed tableside and served unusually on a bed of prawn crackers (krupuk), it was loaded with crispy skin, tender meat, green onion and lashings of sauce. The plum sauce was dense with flavour and the fabulous rolled appetizer was everything one would expect, with the slightly salty krupuk making a nice local touch.
Whilst sipping on the delicious Jasmine tea served up by the beautifully mannered Ning, my personal waitress, the main courses that chef had recommended arrived: Beef Saigon, broccoli with mushrooms and Prawn Szechuan served with white rice – I was most happy to be sharing!
The classic Beef Saigon is clearly inspired by Vietnam but is a dish that seems to have taken on a host of regional identities. Chef Sugianto uses a mix of onion and beef to create this succulent Cantonese-style offering.
Melt-in-the mouth slices of tenderloin combined with crisp onions stir-fried with a rich sauce make for a great choice – perfect to combine with plain noodles perhaps. The broccoli with mushrooms in oyster sauce made a terrific foil to the mains. The straw mushrooms are particularly meaty and the vegetable crunchy in the typical Cantonese style. Last, but by no means least, the highly recommended rich, succulent, visually appealing and oh so sweet Prawn Szechuan. This orange delight was my favourite dish of a most enjoyable and satisfying lunch!
More tea followed and after a welcome rest it was on to the traditional Mango pudding dessert to finish. This tasty sweet pudding looks a little like an orange egg custard but is loaded with tiny chunks of crunchy honeydew melon. It slides down nicely and leaves a refreshing taste in the mouth.
The portions at Golden Lotus come in two sizes, but even the smaller of the two is generous. Fortunately the staff are good at judging your order and will freely advise if you have over, or under, ordered. I left sated and happy, but with a feeling of guilt over the dishes I had failed to try… but not to worry – there’s always next time.
The spicy Hot and Sour Soup in Golden Lotus is a prime example of Szechuan cuisine’s characteristics. This dish makes a great appetizer as the palate is stimulated or awakened by its spiciness and tartness. The slightly thickened consistency adds to its charm, and also helps cut down on the greasiness of a meal and aids digestion. The spiciness can sometimes be overpowering for those not accustomed to it. Since oil and water don’t mix, one thing to remember is that water is not an effective remedy to combat Szechuan spicy oils. Instead, take rice, as it will absorb the hot chilli oil and reduce the spiciness.