King Lobster

Between all the sunning and diving, there was also a lot of eating. I must admit we didn’t do a lot of venturing throughout little Gili Air. We found Scallywags on the beach and I didn’t feel the need to go anywhere else! So maybe it’s not authentic Indonesian cuisine but when you find a seafood joint that could rival Eric Ripert for a quarter of the price, you want to eat there every day. After arriving on the little Gili, we hopped around from place to place, drinking bintangs and cocktails, perusing menus and were left feeling uninspired. Until we ambled by a magnificent display of fresh seafood and a a grill stoking with charcoal. A lot of Indonesians use coconut shell charcoal which burns hot and produces a mild, slightly sweet smoke.

The first night, we had the tuna and grilled calamari, which was perfectly cooked to the desired moistness with a sweet pepper sambal I’d like a bottomless jar of. It was good. It was real good. But it wasn’t as good as the next night. We strolled by and saw these sizable lobsters shimmering in their blue-gray omber armor. And judging by last night’s grillmaster’s superior skills, we couldn’t pass up the chance to have them expertly grilled and of course, expertly consumed. We also chose the skewers pierced with voluptuous hunks of butterfish and vibrant peppers. Friends, this was the best decision we made on the entire trip. First, let me explain that I have been deceived, disheartened, and despondent over lobster. Michelin stars and 5 star yelp reviews mean jack. Seafood is difficult and the king lobster can either be a triumph or complete calamity.

Scallywags—I would like to knight you for the perfect execution of the most exquisite lobster. This royal crustacean was embellished with the same sweet pepper sambal used the night before: a blend of red pepper, garlic, shallot and honey. The honey had caramelized enough to give the sensation of breaking into a creme brulee of lobster. The lumps of meat were succulent and sweet underlined with the taste of the local ocean brine.

The butterfish skewers were also beautiful. Butterfish is also known as escolar, white tuna, walu, or oilfish. It is extremely succulent and buttery as the name suggests and if eaten in large portions, it can be disastrous. I won’t go into it but you can read about it’s ill effects here. I was lucky enough to enjoy my dish without any subsequent problems. In fact, we peacefully digested our dinners with a game of chess on this beautiful limestone board.

I highly recommend this place for dinner, but it is quite picturesque during the day. I will let the snapshots speak for themselves.


Beetroot, apple, greens, dotted with a stinky meunster.

I’m loving the painterly remnants of my meal.

This is pineapple, guava, and mint, blended with ice. This concord of flavors hits all of your mouth’s pleasure zones at once. The tartness of the pineapple swings sweetly with the sugary graininess of the guava while the mint coolly breezes through as you sip it down.

The scraggly scallywags cat I wanted to pop in my pocket.

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