Mega-popular restaurant & lounge- excels with an eclectic assemblage of dishes inspired by authentic Asian cuisines- set in alluring “colonial-Shanghai” themed space
August 17th, 2013
Mama San is a hugely popular restaurant and lounge located in the heart of Seminyak- Bali’s burgeoning upmarket dining and lifestyle enclave. Founded in 2010 by Australian chef-owner Will Meyrick, the opening of Mama San represented his second restaurant in Bali- complementing the widely acclaimed Sarong– an elegant fine dining restaurant serving a sublime selection of primarily Indian and Thai cuisines. Mama San was conceptualised to offer a clientele of both resident expats, and visitors, an approachable, vibrant and sociable style of dining and lounging, at accessible prices, set within the voluminous industrial-chic space of a converted warehouse in a convenient Seminyak location. Retro-themed, Mama San evokes a sense of 1920’s Shanghai- with an alluring decor that melds Chinese influences with vintage British colonial style elements. Downstairs, the vibrant restaurant serves an eclectic array of dishes representing the diversity of SE Asian and Indian cuisines. The upstairs level is devoted to recreating the experience of an exclusive gentlemen’s club- with a bar and lounge area for laid-back conversations accompanied by refreshing libations.
At the forefront of a new wave of innovative and progressive chefs that have elevated gastronomy in Bali to a new level of international respect and acclaim, chef-owner Will Meyrick has made a considerable impact on the local dining scene with his two perennially popular restaurants. At Mama San, the expansive menus offer guests a broad selection of dishes that were inspired by his many peripatetic forays into the culinary hinterlands of both India and the countries of South East Asia- collecting recipes, discovering indigenous ingredients, and tasting the local cooking. After experimenting with combining spices, flavours and textures, many of these local recipes have inspired signature dishes at both his Bali restaurants. Popularly known as the “Street Food Chef”- Meyrick recently published his first book- “Sarong Inspirations”– a chronicle of his signature dishes and solo travels around Asia.
Mama San takes guests on a culinary journey with authentic dishes from India, China, Indonesia, Malaysia, Singapore, Thailand, Cambodia and Vietnam to select from. Dishes that exemplify the extraordinary range of cuisines include: La Lot Vietnamese grilled minced pork belly wrapped in betel leaves with nouc cham; Grilled Thai beef salad with cherry tomato mint Thai basil cucumber lemongrass peanuts with hot & sour dressing; Massaman Curry with chicken shallot pumpkin potato peanuts & tamarind; and Chow Ming noodle with duck tofu beansprouts bokchoy chilli & red capsicum.
Climbing the pair of open steel staircases that abut the raw brick wall, the atmosphere transforms on the upper level to the laid-back vibe and under-stated sophistication of the colonial gentlemen’s-club themed bar and lounge space. The upstairs lounge is a space for relaxing drinks and lingering conversations- lubricated with an impressive bar service that is headlined by the innovative, Asian-inflected signature cocktails. Complementing the drinks, an evening grazing menu of dumplings- ideal for sharing- is available. At the far end of the room a glass-fronted wine room showcases a large stock of bottles, either for consumption in the bar, or for take out.
With its sustained popularity, reservations for restaurant tables in the evenings are highly recommended. Mama San is open daily for lunch and dinner in the restaurant, and for evening drinks in the upstairs bar and lounge from 6 pm. A smart casual dress code is requested.
See also July 2014 update article on Mama San
A confluence of East and West influences are showcased in the main dining room. Oriental style white marble topped tables are interspersed among dark timber tables and black chairs. Luxurious tan leather Chesterfield banquettes extend along the side wall that is finished with unpolished concrete screed and decorated with framed vintage photographs from the personal travelogue collection of Will Meyrick.
At the front of the restaurant, full-height windows suffuse the dining room with natural light during the day. Elaborately crafted decorative panels overlay a mirror wall- attractively adding volume to the room.
The raw timber main bar in the restaurant is dramatically framed by the steel open-staircases that rise up the raw brick wall.
An improvised washbasin using an industrial steel drum, exposed raw brickwork, steel staircases and ceiling columns- all reference an industrial-chic design aesthetic.
Signature mural of “Mama San”- an original artwork hand-painted onto the rear wall- captures attention and exudes a brooding, seductive charm over diners.
Selections from the Mama San kitchen
(L) Massaman Curry- with chicken shallot pumpkin potato peanuts & tamarind
(R) Claypot Tofu- braised in soy with Sichuan shitake mushrooms, bamboo, & chilli
(L) Crispy Baby Snapper- shallot, garlic chilli powder, served with nahm jihm jauw.
(R) Dendeng balado- caramelized short rib beef, with kaffir lime, chilli & lemon basil.
Upstairs Bar & Lounge
Elegant chandeliers, leather chairs, and the classic French timber paneling covering the exposed red brick walls, indicate the transition from the buzz and vibrancy of the lower level restaurant to the restrained sophistication and laid-back atmosphere of the upstairs lounge and bar.
The large solid timber bar counter is faced with soft padded leather, with retro-style tungsten lamps suspended above the bar.
A communal dining table stands opposite a recently installed gleaming stainless steel demonstration kitchen where regular cooking classes are conducted (or by arrangement).
An “L” shaped plush banquette extends across the front of the upstairs lounge area. Brightly colored soft furnishings and the lavish arrangements of heliconia flowers add colorful highlights to the predominantly natural tones of the decor.
Opposite the bar, luxuriously upholstered tan leather ottoman armchairs evoke memories of a colonial-era gentlemen’s club.
Selections from the Mama San cocktail list
(L) Pineapple Kafir Lime Margarita- tequila, pineapple, kafir lime, cointreau, sweet sour.
(C) Thai Thai- citrus vodka, vanilla, thai basil, house ginger beer.
(R) Far East- muddled starfruit, absolut peach, frangelico, sweet sour egg white.
Mama San Kitchen Bar Lounge – Bali
Address: Jl. Raya Kerobokan No 135, Seminyak. Bali. 80361 Indonesia
Reservations: +62. 361. 730436
Facebook Page : www.facebook.com/MamaSanBali
Downstairs- Lunch 11 am to 2 pm Dinner 6 pm to 11.00 pm
Upstairs- Drinks 6 pm to 2 am Grazing Menu 6 pm to 11 pm
Dress Code: Smart casual
Food & cocktail images courtesy Mama San