Whisk yourself off to the Isle of the Gods without leaving Hong Kong with a meal at Tri, a stylish and flavour-packed temple to Balinese cooking in a Repulse Bay mall
You could be mistaken for thinking you’ve walked into a spa on entering Tri. The long, tranquil space, done in contemporary Balinese style, is a highly textured beauty, with bamboo ceilings, wooden floors lined with candles, a garden wall, and an immense communal table carved from a single piece of timber. The most sought after seats are in the lotus-shaped pods set in shallow pools of water, with views of the South China Sea, though it does essentially mean sitting on the floor, which can be awkward for some. The crowd ranges from young Chinese couples to expat families, who make up a large proportion of the Repulse Bay population. Chill-out and electronic music plays softly in the background.
Part of Tri’s food success is its ability to extract flavour from dishes while keeping chilli levels down, presumably in deference to the delicateness of Cantonese and Western palates. The Taste of Bali sharing menu allows you to sample more dishes than you are likely to ordering a la carte, especially for two. Fried shallots and a deconstructed fruit rujak, or salad, add smoky, citrusy notes to a spicy Balinese tuna tartare, though spice levels were barely detectable. We could imagine the perkedel becoming a snack-time staple. These potato fritters are like hot chips on steroids, crispy on the outside, fluffy inside, with chilli, grilled eggplant and lime leaf giving it a big flavour boost. Lawar bebek, Bali’s answer to the chopped salad, with braised duck, green beans, asparagus and grilled coconut, is bland and would benefit from more spice. Two bak pao, or steamed buns follow, one vegetarian, the other rendang, which holds tender pieces of Wagyu beef cheek slow-cooked in a dry curry. We fight over a single, plump and delicious pan seared scallop, with grilled corn kernels, chili leaf and sambal matah, as we do the babi guling, or suckling pig, one of Bali’s most iconic dishes. Here, it’s served as a quartet of baked minced pork wrapped in pandanus leaf, pork sausage, tender roast pork and shards of crackling. The use of turmeric and lemongrass give it a complexity you won’t get in regular roast pork. A dessert of coklat kaya rasa is spiced spekkuk cake with a scoop of chocolate and caramel cream, a successful marriage of traditional and modern flavours, much like the restaurant itself.
Perhaps surprisingly, the wine list is, apart from French champagne, exclusively New World, with the majority of wines coming from Australia and New Zealand, with a few American labels thrown in. A small selection of wines, about four whites, five reds, a rose and some champagne is available by the glass.
Service got off to a poor start when we were told we needed to return the table by 9pm – on a Sunday night. The restaurant was only half full, and no diners arrived after 8pm, making Tri look silly, and the restaurant lifeless. It was a shame, as the rest of the experience was pleasant.
A dinner for two comes to about $1,500 for three courses, a side of rice and vegetables and two glasses of wine, which seems high for Balinese food, but is fair for the quality of the dishes and setting.
|Accept Credit Card||Yes|
|Bring Your Own Bottle||Yes|
|Private Room Description||1 room for 2-14 persons|
|2016||Top 20 Best Restaurants|
|2016||Best Interior Design|