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  • The day after my attempt to visit Bumbu resulted in a negative experience at Spiceee (see previous review), I was still craving Indonesian cuisine. Thus, we made our way to the only place left in town able to scratch that itch: Bali Bistro on Wanhangdu Rd. I'd been there before and had enjoyed everything, so I was prepared to be satisfied again. Fortunately, my expectations were happily met! 

    We ordered 4 dishes and found everything to be great. They were: tahu telor (egg and tofu in peanut sauce, bakso sapi (vermicelli soup with meatballs, kind of like Indonesia's answer to pho), satay skewer combo, and the fried rice (nasi goreng). Individual items to follow: 

    The tahu telor was a my first time to try the dish, so I don't have any comparisons, but I thought this was pretty great. The pancake portion tasted pretty much like what can you imagine tofu and egg fried in oil would taste; the magic happens when you soak it in that creamy savory peanut sauce. I would eat a sheet of A4 paper if it was doused in that peanut sauce. Good stuff! 9/10 

    The bakso sapi was another first time dish for me, and another win in my book. The broth for the soup balanced richness and freshness, with delicious meaty beefy flavor permeating through what I think was a coconut-based soup. The meatballs were very chewy and springy, like they had some kind of starch flour added to them - it didn't dilute the beefy taste though, so I didn't mind at all. More good stuff! 9/10 

    The satay platter had two skewers each of four different kinds of meat (chicken, pork, beef, something?). The flavor on the skewers themselves was pretty good, but the real star here was the dipping sauce - from the classic peanut-based satay dipping sauce to the spicier soy-based dipper sauce, all three dipping options were very good. The only ding here was the price : 88 rmb for 8 skewers isn't that expensive, but still significantly more than the other dishes on the table, although they tasted better. Overally not a bad choice, but I probably wouldn't get again. 7/10. 

    The fried rice was tasty and also came with another three skewers (pork, chicken, beef). I also liked that it came with some fresh veggies to cleanse out my palate between bites. The sunny-side up fried egg on top of the rice was not quite as gooey as I would like, but at least it was still soft. According to some reviewers on Bon App, this dish is supposed to be spicy, and it was a point of disappointment for them that it was not. Not having tried the spicier version of this dish, I felt this fried rice was just fine. Above average tasty and nothing to really complain about from me. 8/10. 

    Other stuff: decor is cute if a bit kitchsy, but not overtly so. You could still have a nice dinner here without feeling like you're in a tourist trap. Try to get a table near the window, over looking Wanhangdu Road, as this has better ambience. There were two tables of what looked like Indonesian people eating near us, so this was a good sign. Service was fast with the water refills, although they did have to be reminded. Final damage was about 250 CNY, which is way more than reasonable for the quality of the meal and the area. Will definitely be back. 

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SmartReviews is SmartShanghai’s crack squad of amateur reviewers, eating their way around the city and writing about it. They have been chosen from a large pool of applicants and given a set of strict guidelines to follow to make sure their reviews are honest, informed and fair to both potential customers and the restaurants themselves.

  • American

    A China expat since 2011, David moved to Shanghai for work in 2014. So far, his quest for memorable food has taken him to 22 different Chinese provinces and territories. When not actively hunting for delicious morsels around town, he is a director at a clean energy strategy consulting firm in Shanghai.
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