Review: Mama San, Bali

Mama San Squid and char sui pork salad
Mama San Squid and char sui pork salad

A staple among Bali’s dining scene, Mama San by world-renowned Executive Chef Will Meyrick, continues to be one of its most popular eateries.

It feels like stepping back in time to 1920s Shanghai at Mama San restaurant, which is absolutely buzzing on the night I visit.

The two-storey restaurant is founded by pioneering Executive Chef, Will Meyrick, who owns multiple restaurants throughout Indonesia and Australia, as well as being a renowned restaurant developer around the world.


On the walls of the industrial, warehouse-style space are old black and white photographs and on a back wall, a huge mural of a lady, ‘Mama San’, in a green cheongsam keeps watch over the space. Moody lantern lighting, vintage Chesterfield leather couches, marble top mah-jong tables and an exposed brick wall behind the bar create a special ambience.

Mama San converges on the junction of Eat Street, Oberoi Road, Sunset Road in Kerobokan, just inland from the main district of Seminyak.

While guests come for the exceptionally flavoursome Southeast Asian cuisine, combining dishes derived from across Malaysia, Singapore, Thailand, Cambodia, Indonesia, Vietnam, China and India, it’s also the legendary cocktails that draw a crowd. I try the Moscow Mule, made with vodka, citrus, syrup and homemade ginger beer in and served in a rustic-style copper vessel.  Mama San also features an extensive wine list, both by the glass and bottle.

The cuisine

You can expect premium cuisine here, prepared with due consideration towards texture, taste and presentation. The chefs use only fresh and premium ingredients and produce in complex dishes that draw on the flavours associated with the regional cooking of Sichuan, Shan and Hmong provinces.

Meals are best shared and there’s a wide range of choices on the menu, incorporating seafood, meat or vegetable

We dined on slow roasted Peking duck with steamed choy sum, hoisin sauce, served alongside paper-thin Mandarin pancakes. A crispy whole fish, three flavour sauce lime leaf, chilli, crushed pineapple and crispy fried basil oozes zesty flavour, as do the delicate scallop and prawn capsicum envelopes with chilli vinegar dressing. A slow-cooked lamb shoulder Rogan Josh with garam masala, tomato, nutmeg, black pepper and coriander is surprisingly light and balanced, leaving us with an appetite still for dessert. We try the sticky rice and a lush pavlova topped with berries.

New restaurant by Will Meyrick in Bali

Chef Will Meyrick recently opened Honey and Smoke in Ubud, Bali. The speakeasy has a fire-focused menu in celebration of the chargrill. The wood-fired bistro menu is based on modern Australian dining.

The chic interiors, envisaged by Will, are designed to replicate traditional, vintage train carriages, inspired by the stylised films of director Wes Anderson. Will worked in collaboration with Mirah Group to bring the interiors to life.

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