High Five for Hujan Locale #ubud

It was lovely to drop back in to Hujan Locale in Ubud for a family lunch last Sunday. With the mix of colonial and Asian touches of decore, the backdrop of a traditional Balinese family compound and sunlight and beautiful breeze streaming in to the upper dining room, it is still a beautiful space made even better with their delectable cocktails and food.

True to Will Meryck style, the menu featured fresh seasonal Indonesian ingredients and at Hujan Locale, the menu ranges across specialities from various regions, with strong nods to Malaysian and Chinese flavours and styles.

The style is certainly more Pan Asian but the focus is on great Indonesian ingredients and is very different menu to that at Nusantara., so is a very good option as a contrast.

We began with the superb slipper lobster dumplings in a tangy tomato sauce.

Slipper lobster dumplings at Hujane Locale

The Crispy While Fish (Tilapia River Fish) served with a green papaya salad., lettuce leaves, and a tangy tamarind sauce …which followed was stunning in its presentation and deep fried in a way which separates the bones from the fillet making it easy to share and enjoy. The combination of the crispy fish, the sauce, papaya salad wrapped in lettuce leaves was delicious.

Whole Crispy Tilapia at Hujane Local, Ubud

We tried the light vegetable curry cooked in a mild coconut sauce with yellow rice. Lovely as a side and/or a vegetarian option.

Vegetable curry at Hujane Locale, Ubud

We finished our lavish lunch with the spectacular whole pig hock cooked in a sweet “Babi Kecap” style sauce, with steamed buns, cucumber and spring onions. The expertly deboned and shredded the pork at the table adding a sense of theatre to the occasion.

Definitely another High Five for Hujan Locale at Ubud. Here’s a link to my first review 7 years ago when it was just a new kid on the block.

Shiny New Night Rooster #ubud #speakeasy

The shiny new Night Rooster by the Locavore Group is easy to pass by without noticing but once you are through the door you could be in a New York style speakeasy. A projector throwing up a slideshow of evocative words and images on the smoky glass front is the only hint of the adventure that awaits inside.

Entrance to new Night Rooster, cocktail bar in Ubud

Now situated at 5 Jalan Gootama, just down from Jalan Raya Ubud, the new shiny Night Rooster is decked out with plush seating, bookcases with an artistic assortment of paraphernalia and a great looking bar. With skylights reminiscent of Bali villa roofs and a mirrored ceiling the ambience is inviting and interesting.

You could be anywhere in the world here, and the new updated version is a step up from the original version of Night Rooster as you will see if you compare the two!

Shiny new Night Rooster, cocktail bar in Ubud
Cocktail action at the new Night Rooster in Ubud
Plush lounges and armchairs at Night Rooster in Ubud

As are the famous Night Rooster cocktails featuring local ingredients which tantalise the sense with taste, smell and stunning presentation. Old favourites such as The Ashes are joined by newer creations including

The classic Ashe’s cocktail at Night Rooster, Ubud
Kiss of Death cocktail with passionfruit, Mezcal, chilli tincture and passionfruit jelly on the side.
Antidote the cocktail at with arak, gin, snake fruit and snake fruit powder adding crunch to the occasion
Mbok Njendul ..the vanishing lady with medicinal herbs, rice water, gin and hops with a rice cracker
The Fool cocktail at Night Rooster includes the aroma of smouldering tobacco leaves

The new Night Rooster is the perfect pre-cursor to dinner at one of the great restaurants nearby like Nusantara, Hujan Locale and Melting Wok. I would of course say Locavore too, but they are about to turn into Herbivore whilst the new LocavoreNXT is created.

Back to #Nusantara #ubud for Indonesian delights

We’ve been back to Nusantara Restaurant in Ubud for their outstanding Indonesian menu twice in the last 6 months and each time the experience seems to get better. As with their other establishments such as Locavore and Night Rooster, the Locavore group continues to deliver excellence in all that they develop and deliver.

At Nusantara for example they have added foam baffling to the underneath of the tables which means the acoustics are much improved, although this has never spoiled our dining experience too much before.

The menu remains true to showcasing the best dishes from across the Indonesian Archipelago with seasonal adjustments to feature ingredients available at the time.

The Berbagi Rasa shared complimentary tasting platter of seasonal snacks is always a great way to start dinner. This time it featured delicious Rujak Cemcem.

Some of you who have travelled to Bali might have come across the bright green drink Loloh Cemcem made using Cemcem leaves. The leaves have been used in Balinese traditional medicine for their antioxidant and antibacterial effects and some studies have shown their potential for this. Needless to say we were much more interested in the taste of Nusantara’s Rujak Cemcem, featuring cemcem leaves marinated in chillies, sea salt and shrimp paste.

Here are some photos of the Berbagi Rasa platter and accompanying descriptions.

Berbagi Rasa – complimentary shared snacks tasting platter at Nusantara Restaurant Ubud

Having been here many times, we alternate between the set menu (usually when we take friends for the first time) or ordering our preferences from the a’La carte menu. This time there were four of us allowing us to share and taste many different dishes from across the various regions of Indonesia. Definitely a feast for our tastebuds!

A feast for our tastebuds at Nusantara Restaurant in Ubud

Here is a list of the dishes we enjoyed including descriptions from the menu:

  • Babi Masak Dompu (Pulau Sumbawa, Nusa Tenggara Barat)
    Pork belly marinated with chilies, shallots and garlic, roasted over an open wood fire, served with cassava leaves
  • Puyuh Betutu (Payangan, Central Bali)
    Quail slow-cooked ‘the Balinese way’ with bumbu rajang and cassava leaves
  • Gulai Udang (Samarinda, East kalimantan)
    Prawns braised with garlic, chilies, turmeric leaves, candlenuts, shrimp paste and fresh coconut milkBabi Bungkus (all over Papua)
  • Babi Bungkus (all over Papua) Pork shoulder marinated with garlic, chilies, galangal, lemongrass, ginger and pineapple, wrapped and grilled in ginger torch leaves over an open wood fire
  • Konro Bakar (Makassar, South Sulawesi)
    Beef ribs marinated with shallots, garlic, cloves, cumin, star anise, nutmeg, cinnamon, burnt coconut and palm sugar, finished over an open wood fire, served with peanut sauce
  • Kangkung Bunga Pepaya (Manado, North Sulawesi)
    Stir-fried water spinach, turmeric leaves and papaya blossom seasoned with shallots, chilies and shrimp paste
  • Nasi Liwet (Solo, Central Java)
    High-grade Balinese heritage rice from Mas, Central Bali, steamed with pandan leaves, lemongrass, salam leaves and coconut oil
  • Three sambals:
  • Sambal Pentes (Payangan, Central Bali)
    Shallots, garlic, chilies, torch ginger stem, shrimp paste and kaffir lime leaves
  • Sambal Rampah (Selong, Nusa Tenggara Barat)
    Shallots, garlic, chilies, turmeric, candlenuts, turmeric leaves and kaffir lime leaves
  • Sambal Tuktuk (Tapanuli, North Sumatra)
    Shallots, chilies, garlic, tomatoes, torch ginger, candlenuts and andaliman peppers
A feast for the tastebuds at Nusantara Ubud

To finish we shared the very Asian dessert dish featuring sticky black rice, mung bean flour cake, sweet potato balls, sago, young coconut and condensed milk….all served in a coconut!

Es Kembang Desa
Tape ketan, tape injin, selendang mayang, bola ubi, sago, young coconut, condensed milk and frozen coconut

The entire meal was delicious and every dish and each sambal brought new flavours and taste sensations. Beautiful food representing flavours from across the Indonesian archipelago- a way to experience the whole of Nusantara without leaving Ubud!

Here’s a link to my previous review of Nusantara from back in 2019, which brings back memories of all the great meals we’ve enjoyed.

Artful dining at Semar Kuning Resto #ubud

Semar Kunig Resto is just down the road from the famous Semar Kuning artist collective gallery in Lodtunduh village just outside Ubud.

It was a lovely day trip to soak in the vast collection of art on sale at the gallery which has works from about 150 Balinese artists ranging from modern to traditional styles. It’s a nice feeling to know you are buying art from a collective which exists to support the local artists. I even got a background bio on the artist of the painting I bought. After wandering the amazing collection of art and bargaining for our paintings we headed to lunch.

Views over ricefield from Semar Kuning

The restaurant is very well appointed, spotlessly clean and has lovely views of an adjoining rice fields peppered with colourful traditional statues and flags.

Entrance artworks from local artist collective

We were warmly welcomed with complimentary snacks and a cleansing tangy ginger drink. The menu includes excellent Indonesian food as well as western favourites. We opted for the highly praised local dishes which come with a delicious range of sambals, ranging from mild to super spicy.

Crispy Duck

The smoked duck and crispy duck were both delicious and Semar Kuning is particularly known for these specialities. The Nasi Campur and Nasi Goreng were also a hit.

Smoked Duck
Nasi Campur
Nasi Goreng with Satay

The cocktail list is appealing and my caprioska made with palm sugar was a standout.

Caprioska with palm sugar

Only open now for a year, it is fast becoming a favourite of tourists and locals and the place was buzzing when we dropped in for lunch.

Despite the vastness of the restaurant, the service was also friendly, efficient and speedy.

Highly recommend a trip to Lodtunduh for an artful day and dining experience!

Warung Mek Juwel is a local gem! #ubud #nasicampurayam

This local gem, Warung Mek Juwel, is hidden away in a back road of Sayan, just outside of Ubud but worth the trip out for delicious Nasi Campur Ayam, the iconic Balines chicken and rice dish. It certainly was a great way to kick off this trip to Bali. It is a one dish restaurant so you just sit at the table, help yourself to soft drinks from the fridge and the food magically appears. It’s like being in a Balinese family home.

Nasi Campur translates to mixed rice and is traditionally served with a mixture of meat cooked in different styles and a mixture of sambals and sides. Throughout Bali the competition and legends of various Nasi Campur warungs (local restaurants) abounds….with many different styles and flavours. Therefore the search for the best Nasi Campur is I believe a lifetime task! Today’s visit to Warung Mek Juwel definitely makes the cut of one of the best I’ve tried.

Warung Mek Juwel hasn’t quite made the map of the best Nasi Campur in the world as yet, but I suspect this will not be far away. However I just saw that it is Ubud Food Legend Janet de Neefe’s recommendations in her top places to eat like a local in Ubud.

Spicy, sweet, savoury, crunchy, soft and full of flavour: Legendary Nasi Campur Ayam at Warung Mek Juwel, Sayan, Ubud

The (Ayam)chicken served in the Nasi Campur here at Warung Mek Juwel is a combination of roast chicken, sate Lilit(minced chicken on lemongrass skewer), smoked chicken and crunchy chicken skin “floss” all cooked with a delicious “bumbu” – the name for traditional Balinese spice pastes. The smoked chicken was flavourful with a smokiness that apparently comes from being roasted in coconut husks.

Entryway to home of owners of Warung Mek Juwel

Served with fiery sambal, boiled egg and a mixture of crunchy peanuts, and delicious vegetables, noodles and rice, this is a truly authentic nasi campur ayam. the restaurant was full of locals which of course is always a great sign if you’re eating local food. (I skip the small serving of fried internal bits and pieces of chicken but my husband loves it all!)

Legendary local Nasi Campur Ayam at Warung Mek Juwel

The restaurant itself is situated next to the family home and has a lovely, simple feel and overlooks rice paddies and local homes with ducks wandering around quacking in the background. Prices are still local so it’s about RP45,000 each which is an absolute bargain for this truly authentic experience!

Ducks in the rice paddies next to Warung Mek Juwel

Great authentic Nasi Campur Ayam experience to kick off our current trip to Ubud, Bali.

Cut above @ Catalina, Rose Bay

Lunch at Catalina Rose Bay on a shiny, Sydney summer day is always a a cut above the rest and a great treat!

The menu features extensive and excellent range of seafood, as well as duck, steak and roast suckling pig for meat lovers. But sitting right on the harbour with a choice of the best fresh seafood to be found in Sydney calls for a fishy feast in my books!

HIRAMASA KINGFISH CRUDO, AVOCADO MOUSSE, SMOKED GARLIC AIOLI, ORANGE, DILL, ALEPPO PEPPER, MANDARIN CRISP with Caviar

This Hirasama Kingfish Crudo is a like a work of art and the addition of 5g Black Caviar made for a very delicious starter.

Watching the Rose Bay Ferry arrive from Catalina restaurant.

For main I had the Glacier 51 Toothfish, with shiitake mushroom dumplings with daikon in a delicious dashi broth.

Petit Fours Platter at Catalina, Rose Bay

We finished the meal with these tantalising Petit Fours, a perfect sweet end.

The food, company and setting was all lovely and as always Catalina service was faultless. It is an absolute standout restaurant and definitely a cut above the rest!