Taking it Slow at The Slow, Canggu

The Slow is one of a new breed of contemporary restaurants in Canggu that are setting the pace for modern dining in Bali. The venue itself has a light and airy feel with lots of greenery and hip art works creating a chilled but stylish vibe.

The menu is inspired by Chef Shannon Moran’s travels around the world and if the fish/soft shell crab tacos, fish of the day with Balinese sambas and Korean burnt broccoli are to go by…he has certainly nailed a whole of flavours very well.

The menu is designed for sharing and portions are generous. We stuck to “shit beers” as the menu humorously describes local Bintang beer on a scorching day, but the choice of wine and beers is good for those who want something a bit more refined.

We were there for a short lunch but the vibe and food would be very conducive to settling in for the afternoon of grazing or a big nosh up dinner.

The Slow also has an adjoining art gallery and very good looking accomodation if you want the full experience. It is about 15 minute walk from Canggu beach. Here’s a link to their website for more information https://theslow.id/eat-drink-at-the-slow/

A Bali favourite: Bayu’s Kitchen, Penestanan, Ubud

Bayu’s Kitchen is a favourite stop for us when we are visiting Bali. With a menu that has Indonesian, Thai and Western favourites, as well as a delicious special Sri Lankan curry combo.

Run by local Aussie expat Steve Castley, the atmosphere is laid back and prices are great value. Friendly staff deliver great service and guests are a mix of locals and guests staying in Private Ubud Villas around Penastanan, and tourists.

We stay at Villa Kembali which is right next door to Bayu’s Kitchen so it is one of our local haunts. Bayu’s Kitchen is opposite Y Resort on Jalan Penastanan Kelod (known as Jalan Katik on some maps).

If you are looking for a relaxed, simple but delicious meal when you are in Ubud, then Bayu’s is a great option.

On Sundays from 6.30pm-9pm Bayu’s Kitchen features live music with a great local band.

Thanks Steve and team for some lovely meals and memories in the last few weeks!

Intriguing Indo flavours at new Nusantara by Locavore, Ubud

Now this is an absolute must, honestly, for your next time you are in Ubud. With a menu featuring regional specialities from across the Indonesian archipelago, Nusantara’s menu will expose you to intriguing new and old Indonesian spices, herbs and flavours.

We visited in a group of four for dinner which gave us the opportunity to try a number of small dishes and larger plates, as well as dessert. Even then we were left struggling to choose between the enticing and exotic sounding menu items.

We started with a medley of cocktails between us including a Bir Pletok, Loloh, Kokomora and Bunga Desa. (See below for the fascinating ingredients in each). The cocktails are all impressively presented, just like Nusantara’s sister cocktail bar Night Rooster , and taste as good as they look.

We were delightfully surprised by a platter of complimentary nibbles. With beautiful crispy rice crackers, a delicious Fishcakes steamed in banana leaves, sambals and crispy fried potatoes. The nibbles got our tastebud prepared for the taste sensations that were to follow.

With our choice of menu items we felt we had travelled many different regions of Indonesia in just one meal. Whilst we have tried other restaurants like Hujan Locale which also feature cuisine of different Indonesian islands, the food at Nusantara is more adventurous and insightful. Designed for sharing, we were advised to order 3-4 small plates and 3 larger plates.

Some of the dishes we tried included the Sulawesi banana blossom salad, the North Sulawesi smoked shredded Cakalang fish with turmeric and curry leaves, slow cooked beef in a clay pot from East Java, Balinese heritage pork belly cooked in bamboo, whole (including the head!)chicken roasted on the bbq, and prawn sautéed in a salted egg sauce, as well as the sayur asam(vegetables in a tamarind broth). We also ordered the medley of sambals ranging from mild to super spicy. You can check out their full menu on their Facebook site Nusantara by Locavore.

http://www.restaurantnusantara.com

The overall experience is difficult to describe except to say that each of the dishes featured distinct tastes and textures that benefitted from savouring on their own and with the accompanying vegetables, salad and sambals. We of course could not resist trying the deserts and shared the Es Campur(seasonal fruits with crushed ice and syrup) and the Klappertaart(steamed young coconut cake with sultanas and coconut custard). A fitting sweet ending to a delicious meal.

The service was warm, friendly and very helpful. The waiters certainly know their stuff and guided us expertly to assist with the unfamiliar menu. The influence of the award winning Locavore on the service and food presentation is very evident but at much more reasonable prices and in a more casual but still very contemporary setting. Prices are not cheap by Bali standards but our entire meal came to AU$50 per person including drinks – so reasonable for such a high quality experience!

Book ahead, take some friends and take yourself on an Indonesian eating adventure at Nusantara as soon as you can!

Iconic Ikan (fish) at Warung Mak Beng, Sanur

TripAdvisor is full of recommendations for Warung Mak Beng which was established by “Mother”Beng back in 1941 and is run today by her grandson, continuing a long family tradition. Situated near the beach in Jalan Hang Tuah 45 in Sanur, this is the classic “one dish speciality” warung serving only its famous crispy fried ocean fish or Ikan Laut Goreng.

It has taken us a while to make the effort to get to this Warung, but I can assure you the trip is well worth the effort of travelling from wherever you are staying in Bali to try their renowned speciality.

The fish is crispy brown (almost burnt looking) on the outside but tender and moist on the inside and accompanied a the delicious fish head soup and spicy sambal on the side. My bowl of soup had little evidence of fish head, rather just big chunks of fish that had been stewed in the soup. The soup also had big chunks of cucumber which had absorbed the flavours of the soup and daun salam leaves (Indonesian bay leaves). The spice mix they use in this soup is divine and complements the flavours of the fried fish brilliantly. The day we visited the catch of the day was snapper served up straight from that morning’s haul from the fishing boats off the coast of Bali.

This is one of the most simple yet satisfying meals we have had in Bali on this trip, and I can understand why people flock here and why this Warung has been flourishing for so many generations.

At IR45,000 (AU$4.50) a serve, this Warung is a favourite with locals and Indonesian tourists but when we visited we were the only foreigners there. We came on a weekday for lunch and only had to wait a few minutes for a spot at a communal table. However, I believe the weekends can be very busy so you might have to wait a while for your table. It will be worth the wait especially if you like to eat like a true local!

Breakfast at Biku beckons in Bali

Biku is an iconic Seminyak restaurant in Jalan Petitenget that amongst other things serves breakfast all day!

Known for their amazing High Teas including Asian and Traditional versions, Biku also serves a High Breakfast that includes croissants, Danish pastries, corn cakes, omelette, sausages, grilled tomato and fruit salad! They are also known for having an amazing range of teas, all served in a gorgeous colonial feeling setting in a 150 year old teak joglo (traditional Indonesian wooden house). Eating outside in the garden courtyard is also very pleasant, and everywhere you look are beautiful fresh flowers brought in by local florists each day.

We weren’t hungry enough for the High Breakfast on this visit but were feeling like something more than the “Something Healthy”section of the menu which features items like Chia Pods, Smoothie Bowls, Fruit Salad and Scrambled Tofu. But Biku’s breakfast selection is really fantastic including a whole section of “Something Different” and another with “Something Classic” and “Something Indonesian”.

We opted to try some different things ordering the soft poached eggs on chive and buttermilk scones with wilted spinach and hollandiase sauce for Adrian and the Indian lentil pancakes with coconut sambal, yoghurt and chutney for me. Both dishes were delicious and decidedly different to the typical hotel, cafe and warung breakfasts available in Bali.

Biku is definitely a great destination for breakfast but also has a high quality and diverse lunch and dinner menu catering to whatever food mood you might be in. Their children’s menu is much more than just the usual chicken nuggets and chips and ensures that it is a family friendly venue at any time of the day.

Owned and established by the Royal Princess of Ubud, Biku continues to deliver great food and ambience with a sense of grace.

Sardine – seafood safari in Bali

Sardine is a far cry from the trashy, tourist rip off traps along Jimbaran Beach that many travellers to Bali flock to for a fresh seafood experience.

Whilst it is expensive by Bali standards, the quality of the seafood is absolutely top notch, as is the divine setting with views across their own rice paddy and small farm, but right at Jalan Petitenget 21 not far from the Seminyak action.

I have been to Sardine on a few occasions now and they have not failed to impress with the simple but perfectly spiced dishes, warm welcome, smiling and snappy service, and good drinks list. They have also kept up the standards that won them Best Restaurant in Seminyak in 2016 in the popularly voted Yak magazine awards.

The current menu offers delicious starters such as Manis (sweet) Clams cooked with chorizo and chilli and Mussels in coconut milk sauce. The shellfish does not disappoint and is cooked to perfection preserving its sweetness and texture.

One of my favourite mains is the whole filleted fish cooked Jimbaran Style on the grill and served with brown rice and Balinese sambal matah. Hamachi, a fish not often seen on menus in Australia or elsewhere, is also often a feature on the menu with seasonal changes to the sauce and accompaniments that best complement this fish.

If you want really great seafood in a great setting when in Seminyak, then Sardine will bring all your fishy dreams true.