Restaurant review: Bali Lili

PUBLISHED : Thursday, 20 September, 2012, 12:00am
UPDATED : Thursday, 20 September, 2012, 10:49am

8/F H8, 8 Hau Fook Street, Tsim Sha Tsui

Tel: 2338 2787

Open: noon-3pm (12.30pm-3.30pm on Saturday), 6pm-11.15pm

Cuisine: Indonesian

Price: about HK$200 without drinks or the service charge.
Ambience: the room is decorated with potted plants and Indonesian fabrics and artefacts. We visited for a weekday lunch and were happy that we'd booked a table because the place was crowded.
Pros: it's not the best Indonesian food, but the menu lists some unusual dishes.
Cons: the seafood asam laksa (HK$70) looked so unlike any other version we've tasted that we asked the waiter if he was sure they served us the correct dish; it looked just like curry laksa. He told us it was the right dish, adding that it's not sour laksa (which would mean the dish is misnamed, since "asam" means sour). The flavours were wrong: it tasted like curry laksa with a hint of tartness. Corn cake (HK$42) was too starchy, the
otak otak (grilled fish cake, HK$48) was rubbery and tasted of uncooked baking soda or something alkaline, and the satay lilet (seafood paste on lemon grass stick, HK$80) didn't have much flavour.
Recommended dishes: the main courses were much better. Fried curry soft-shell crab (HK$88) was a "dry" version, without the expected sauce; the crab had been dipped in starch mixed with curry powder before being crisply fried. Grilled stingray with hot and spicy sauce (HK$138) had soft, moist fish under a too-thick, balanced but mild sauce (the default sauce was medium spicy). The best dish was the Balinese fried duck (HK$128) that had well-seasoned bony pieces that were braised until tender and then fried to order.
What else? Bali Lili has set lunches for individuals and groups.
Susan Jung