Groovin’ to the Tunes
So, I’m hanging out at Bali Satay House in New Barnet, and it’s music night. The guitar duo is hitting us with some serious power ballads – Whitney, Michael Jackson, and a detour to The Girl from Ipanema. But, hold up, my focus is on this delightful fried sea bass, and the folks next to me are not feeling the vibe. They’re in a polite suburban uproar about the tunes being too loud. No worries, though – the waiters got it covered, and the volume gets a friendly nudge down. Peace is restored, and we’re back to our contented selves.
North London Adventure
Now, as a diehard south Londoner, trekking up to the Great North Road feels like I’ve gone on a major expedition. I’ve traveled far for food before, like flying to Inverness for lunch or taking three trains for dinner in Wales, but this journey to the northern tip of the Northern line feels like a real adventure.
After what feels like an Odysseus-level journey, I walk into this brightly lit place with white walls and intricate Balinese textiles everywhere. The chairs, tables, all draped in the same toffee-colored cloth, creating a cool vibe. I’m low-key fantasizing about getting a suit made from this fabric – I could disappear in it, like a lion in the Serengeti. Dangly lamps, faux living walls, and some basket-wear as decor set the scene. But let’s get real; the main event is what’s coming to the table.
So, a reader suggested Bali Satay House, seeing it as a partner to Supawan Thai in King’s Cross. Tonight’s menu has some familiar words, but the dishes are a bit off the beaten path. We kick off with warm peanut crackers, laced with lemongrass, and a side of fiery chilli-hot sambal. Cue my hiccup cure – a deep breath and a mental balloon trick.
The satay game is strong here, with mackerel satay appearing as spiced fishcakes on sticks. They come with fresh onion, bird’s eye chillies, and crispy onion – a fun dish to chat over. But let me tell you, the chicken satay steals the show. Grilled thigh chunks under a peanut stew that’s both sweet and salty. It deserves all the good words – “tender,” “charred,” you name it. I’m ready to take a bucket of that peanut goodness home and put it on everything in my fridge.
This place doesn’t just do meat; they’ve got solid plant-based options. Sweetcorn fritters with a Myanmar vibe, deep-fried and bursting with heat. Vegan mains include a hefty salad with cucumber, green beans, basil, and green aubergine in a thick peanut-coconut dressing – salad as the main event.
Main Course Marvels
Beef rendang is on point, rich and glossy, though not the crispy-edged kind. It’s a softer, soupier version with a kick of fresh red chilli for those who crave the fire. Flash-fried sea bass in sweet-sour sauce is crisp-skinned and bronzed around the edges – a real winner. And yeah, the staff in their Balinese shirts are making sure we’re having a blast.
For dessert, banana fritters with honey are a bit heavy, but the coconut ice-cream helps them go down smoother. The real stars are the sesame-crusted dumplings filled with sweet potato and brown sugar caramel – a sweet ending to a tasty meal. They’ve got Indonesian beer, Swedish cider, and spirits on offer if you’re in the mood.
Now, the live music is on for the second set, diving into the 80s with gusto. Live tunes every Thursday – note that. Wednesdays? Balinese dancing. Sounds like a party, right? But let’s be real, the food is the real show here, and it’s stealing the spotlight in the best way possible.