Passion is a word used a lot in hospitality. Deciding to use your free time after raising children to run a restaurant on the weekend? Surely that’s the definition of.
Dewi and Made Arsana opened Nasi Bali next door to the Kenwick Village fish and chip shop in July and from Friday night to Sunday, as the name suggests, it serves faithful renditions of Bali’s culinary canon, including the island’s most famous dish, babi guling.
In the kitchen is Made, who’s worked at several Hyatt and Sheraton hotels both in Bali and Australia. His wife Dewi tends to the 20 or so diners that fill the restaurant, one shopfront among many in an unassuming strip mall set-up in Perth’s south-east.
Most dishes are served nasi campur-style, that is, with steamed rice, sambal and an array of vegetable or meat accompaniments.
Most dishes are served nasi campur-style, that is, with steamed rice, sambal and an array of vegetable or meat accompaniments. The roast suckling pig that is the drawcard of the nasi babi guling is good, but the real gold is found elsewhere on the plate. The urutan – Balinese sausage – is the work of Made, who enlists the help of the neighbouring butcher shop to smoke the sausages, adding a non-traditional but welcome twist to the dish. The minced pork patties known as tum are a riot of lemongrass, shallot and galangal – and you can order extras on the side. Do it.
The rest of the menu features known favourites like sate, nasi goreng and sweet black sticky rice but also Balinese staples like duck, steamed and braised in the signature basa gede spice paste, and Bali-style chicken bekakak that lands less sweet than its Javanese counterpart.
Not familiar with something? Just ask – the answer is guaranteed to come with a smile, underscored by a quiet pride at what Nasi Bali are creating in this little corner of Perth.