Any foodie guide to Bali would not be complete without a mention of the legendary Chez Gado Gado. It has been around for over thirty years and in that time, it has earned itself a long-standing legacy on the island. What began as one of few nightclubs dotting Bali’s beaches, Chez Gado Gado bloomed into a fine dining grown-up experience – the go-to spot for long lunches, sunset bites and dazzling beachfront dinners.
Wowing diners throughout the day and into the night, Chez Gado Gado offers up a few different menus for lunch, sunset and dinner. Each menu presents Executive Chef Quib Rademaker’s celebrated dishes, and each one demonstrates his impeccable knack for balancing flavours. Sweet is matched with sour, zesty lightens hearty and unlikely combinations are perfectly suited. No flavour ever overpowers another, nor does one linger on the palate longer than it should. And most importantly, each one is perfect for enjoying on the restaurant’s treasured beachfront deck.
The lunch menu at Chez Gado Gado is a delightful assortment of light bites, fresh and fruity salads and more substantial savoury dishes. Think crab and sweetcorn spring rolls with a ginger soy dip; noodles stirred with succulent strips of duck leg, bean sprouts and oyster sauce; or a Mediterranean warm squid and potato salad with fresh herbs, lemon and a drizzle of olive oil.
One of our favourites is the spicy Cappelline vongole pasta. At first, it looks rather simple – a humble mix of a few ingredients: clams, chilli, garlic and fresh lime juice. However, thanks to Chef Quib’s stellar cooking techniques, the pasta is a startling explosion of tangy, spicy deliciousness, with each ingredient deftly introducing itself to the palate in a clean and orderly way. It is fresh and not too heavy, so even though it is a warm pasta dish, it still works wonderfully in the sunshine.
Chez Gado Gado’s dinner menu then introduces a selection of heartier dishes, like the sea bass ‘rogan josh’ or the Pork 3 Ways. The Indian flavours of rogan josh are typically paired with lamb, so to hear of a fish being doused in this rich and aromatic sauce might seem rather strange. And yet, the flavours go together superbly. The subtle taste of the delicate and crumbly fish lightens the hearty spices, while the pepper curry is served with sauteed fernheads and an Indian-style coleslaw to pep up the robust flavours.
The restaurant has always been famous for its fresh seafood, so the dinner menu offers up quite a selection, from pink snapper and pan-seared flounder, to octopus and slipper lobster. We love the grilled Barramundi, topped with a mild, onion-based French béchamel sauce then flavoured with tumeric, onion and a raisin chutney.
Onto desserts and these are something Chez Gado Gado does very well. So much so, the Gado Gado melted chocolate cake has been around since 2002. Chef Quib’s balancing act comes into play once again, where the hot, fondant centre is married to a piquant mango sorbet and doused in a tropical passionfruit syrup. Surprisingly refreshing, it is still keeping Gado Gado enthusiasts returning for more ten years on…