So, I do these posts called “coming soon reports”, I know creative title right? Anyway, probably the biggest interest, and most questions, I have received on one of these was regarding the renovation of the old Bessie’s place. People were clambering to know what was going in.
Once it was discovered it was an Indonesian restaurant called Dija Mara, people got really interested. Their main response was they were excited for something other than another gourmet pizza place or burger joint. I was as well. What got me really excited was when I learned the Chef heading it up had worked in a number of Michelin stared restaurants, including Atelier Crenn in San Francisco.
Since I was not very familiar with Indonesian food, in this case Balinese, I could not wait to check the restaurant out.
The new facade at 232 South Coast Highway.
The interior has a simple comfortable feel. The art and murals are quirky without being silly.
They turned the counter from the old diner into the bar area. Look, it is Chef Willy from 608. This is the second picture I took of him hence the annoyed look on his face. Chefs of his calibre coming in for their second visit this early in a restaurant’s operation is always a good sign.
The cuisine is interesting and delicious. Think Asian with a touch of Indian but do not think curries, think earthy spices.
The menu is broken up into cold and hot small plates, large plates, and skewers. Prices are in line with the quality and calibre of execution. I had one hot small plate, one skewer, and one large plate plus a beverage and my bill was $45.
Complimentary shrimp chips with sauces. The peanut sauce on the left is beautiful. Taking about twenty hours to make, it shows in-depth and flavor.
Charred Eggplant ~ Smoked Tomato Sambal : Mayer Lemon Yogurt : Thai Basil : Fried Shallot
I wanted to try one vegetable dish and this one was a great choice. It had a nice heat from the sambal that worked in counter balance with the yogurt, the basil added freshness, and the fried shallot texture. Eggplant is one of those vegetables that is hard to get right. When you do it is great and this was great. This is a dish I would order on every visit.
Sambal Octopus ~ Fried Shallot & Snake Bean Salad : Lemon Aoili
The octopus was perfectly tender and all the components worked together on this. The only thing for me was there was this slight bitterness I could not pin down. I would give the dish a second chance next time though.
Beef Short Rib Randang ~ Sumatran Spice : Coconut Milk : Marigolds : Turmeric Root
Short ribs when done perfectly are melt in your mouth tender. These were exactly that, with the bonus of a crispy outer shell. This dish also comes with rice so is much larger than it looks.
Another thing I will say is the wait staff is probably the best I have seen for a new restaurant at any level. My waitress knew the menu, every dish, and not just the description of it but the flavor profile.
I highly suggest checking Dija Mara out. If you support different restaurants it will attract more variation.
232 South Coast Highway, Oceanside
#food #foodporn #oceanside #dijamara #indonesianfood #balinesefood