Redefining cuisine culture
Will Meyrick’s Sarong is one of the most sought after Asian cuisine fine dining establishments on the island of Bali.
Sarong, once nestled on a road leading out from the epicentre of Seminyak’s Eat Street, sits elegantly behind a garden wall, a simply constructed house designed to reflect the beauty of its surroundings, at one time rice fields, and the delight of tropical evenings.
Adorned with long drapes that flow from ceiling to floor Sarong emits an aura of gentle romance as scented breezes waft in on the night warmth. Tropical notes of jasmine and frangipani compete at times with the aromas of the kitchen creating a heady perfume that furnishes the creative mind with the idea that one is truly lulled by an epicurean, yet poetic vision that can only deliver the very best to the guest.
Service has never been more important and, as choice becomes a by-word for world class dining in Bali, the genuine appeal of a well trained staff, familiar in their roles, knowledgeable on matters of wine pairing, spiciness and complimentary dishes and courteous to all, is something that all restaurants must aspire to. It does not matter how great the produce of your kitchen, if your staff are not attending to your guests their tastes buds are going to be dulled by a lack of welcome.
Another aspect that is part of Sarong’s secret to longevity and success is the frequency with which the menu is complemented by results of travel and adventure. This is not the work of a chef who decides to open another recipe book for more ideas, this is the kitchen of a team who have been lead on adventures to far flung lands by their executive chef, Will Meyrick.
Will is like a location scout, but rather than source settings he seeks out the grand feasts and the tiny kitchens, often insinuating himself into smoke filled rooms applying his charm to seduce pearls of wisdom from the conjuror of a traditional dish, inquiring into just how spices are used to create the nuances of flavour that determine precision in flavour.
Alongside this adventuring on the menu, favourite dishes never seem to fall out of favour, it would be hard to imagine turning up to Sarong and not finding your favourite Pork Belly with Tamarind and Tamarillo or the world famous Butter Chicken, or heaven forbid, that the divine Indian themed Pavlova festooned with the sweetest of rose petals should disappear off the menu.
Signature Pork Belly
World Famous Butter Chicken
Colourful Indian Style Pavlova
Time immune establishments are made like this. “Reliable, high quality, friendly, helpful, comfortable, satisfying and welcoming” are just some of the descriptions in online customer review sites. Even on pages where everyone becomes an instant instagramming independent food blogger, Sarong is maintaining its discreet and powerful mastery in creating the perfect evening.
Sarong’s atmosphere is a testament to this holistic vision of inspirational and elegant dining experiences.
Sarong possesses the comfort of a club, the seating is deep and cushions are everywhere, the lighting is naturally dimmed for the evening with pools of warmth cast over tables to create intimacy. The bar is well stocked with wines, but in consideration of the prohibitive nature of import taxes the cocktail list proffers a lengthy list of aperitifs, long dinner drinks and after dinner palate cleansers like the classic Sarong Negroni or the Espresso Martini.
Characteristic of the Asian-inflected cocktails are the Sarong Signature cocktails
When NOW! Bali caught up with Will and his team recently we put forward the idea that maybe Sarong was certainly one of Bali’s brightest jewels when it came to the island’s fine dining scene. A hearty laugh ensued as Will admitted that his very first solo venture was a more of a nightmare at first, and with a great deal at stake he found it hard to comprehend how far Sarong would go. But as he continued it was clear that his vision for Sarong, what it could bring to Bali in terms of dining concepts, of the introduction of indigenous cuisines of Asia, of cultural history was there in the beginning.
Will Meyrick, Sarong, 2008 (left)
In 2009, giving a twist in the kitchen (right)
The very many guest chefs, some just invited to cook quietly for the experiences, others met with fan fare, and of his own staff making their way in the world to become at home in Hong Kong or to return home to their village to improve coffee production are just some of the growth positives that Sarong has created. “Awards are great, they really put places on the map, but that is not our measure of success”. Will tells us, “Sarong is like a family that is always welcoming new members, our family expands with each new guest, each new staff member, even each new dish, yet we never forget or lose touch with the ones who move on, and that is better than any award, the existence of a large community of people who have enjoyed the Sarong experience from many different perspectives”.