Dinner at Arena Pub & Restaurant, Denpasar, Bali.
Aaron our wpf developer guy said the place is nice, cosy, and presentable; I have also heard that this place has good steak selections and a lot of people are recommending it.
At about 7 we're all arrived at the place, I was offering our client a seat at the smoking section but based from his comments I think he believes that's inappropriate, so we choose the non smoking section which was mainly populated by the families. Not a wise choice though, as the other guests was speaking in loud voices and laughing all the time. But it's a pub anyway so that's just the reasonable consequence.
The atmosphere is warm, especially with the yellow tone domination, and the wooden chair and table helps to further elevate the warmness. The light is a bit dim, but not as dim as the bat-cave level of vision applies at Jimbaran on the beach dining or the outdoor section of Massimo.
On the other hand the food selection was amazing; from the generic nameless unidentified beef up to branded Angus and Wagyu. Our client turned out to has a wide knowledge on steak and beef, perhaps due to the fact that his brother own a ranch which produces beef meat among other things. He recommend me to have a Wagyu steak for it's meaty, tender and juicy flavour; Arena has it in a 250gr and 300gr portion which tagged at about 300K IDR minus taxes.
Due to eastern politeness though, I waited to see what our client are ordering and try to matches it. And so between the Angus Rib Eye or the Australian Lamb Chop, I chose the later in hoping to recreate the experience of the same dish I encountered years ago at Hotel Indonesia, and later on at Mad Dogs in Cilandak, Jakarta. Everything outside those two events has been simply disappointing. While even though I don't usually order lamb less than well done or almost well done, due to the strong stench, I was curious to find about the meat's quality and after another recommendation from our client, set to have the lamb cooked in medium.
For the appetizer we ordered Escargot and Caesar Salad with beef bacon; thanks to the waiter who perhaps overhead my pork-free diet and offers us to have the beef bacon in substitute of the regular pork bacon. For the drink I ordered a fresh cranberry juice, thinking that the sour will compensate for the meat should it become too fatty, eventhough I was originally aiming for the Lassy.
(to be continued...)
About author: Bayu Amus
Bayu Amus is a gastronomic storyteller and Food Experience designer. He pens food articles for travel magazines, speaks on food events, and was part of the team who compiled Makansutra Indonesia 2013, the pocket book which showcases Bali’s best street food. Contact him through firstname.lastname@example.org