All posts filed under: travel

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!

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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 …

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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 …

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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 …

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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 …

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Warung Pantai shines at Batu Belig Beach, Bali

Pantai means beach in Indonesian and this Warung is true to it’s name, perfectly positioned on the beautiful Batu Belig beachfront, just north (about 10 minutes) of Seminyak in Bali. Warung Pantai’s owner Wayan has a simple motto “work hard, play hard” and her philosophy shines through at her impeccable Warung. The pride in which Wayan and her team take in keeping the Warung spotless and taking care of guests is evident in every aspect of the food and service here. Warung Pantai is my idea of Bali Bliss, with a location that is perfect for a restful day at the beach and a menu to suit all tastes but with particularly good Indonesian favourites such as Gado Gado (steamed vegetables with peanut sauce), spicy prawns and fish and delicious Ayam Goreng (Indonesian fried chicken), Nasi Campur, Nasi Goreng and Satays accompanied by authentic sambals and sauces. The food is cooked off-site just up the road in Wayan’s kitchen in her traditional family compound, in an equally impeccable kitchen, and ferried to your table on …

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Recommend Warung Eny anytime!

We recently feasted at Warung Eny’s in Jalan Petitenget Seminyak and I would highly recommend dining here at anytime! A real local warung with decent almost local prices is difficult to find in the midst of all the Petitenget bling but Warung Eny certainly delivers the goods. From the barbecue out front fanning coconut husk smoke across the entryway, the faded photos on the walls of past happy customers, Eny’s family busy serving and cooking in the kitchen, the piles of fresh vegetables and divine smells of home cooking, Warung Eny is a little piece of real Bali squeezed in between high fashion boutiques and fine dining foreign restaurants. We went for dinner on a rainy Seminyak evening with friends who had visited twice before and we were surrounded by happy regular guests who had obviously, similarly enjoyed the delicious home cooked food before. Repeat visitation is surely the highest praise for any restaurant? I can assure you that I will be going back there if not for the succulent, spicy minced pork steamed in …

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Night Rooster Cocktails rule the roost!

Stopped by Night Rooster by Locavore in Ubud for spectacular and very creative cocktails featuring a mixture of top shelf and homemade liquors. The delicious concoctions showcase unique Indonesian/Balinese spices and display a level of innovation in cocktail recipes that I have not come across before. Adrian had the Ashes cocktail which is almost a live performance rather than just a drink. My Née-Groni was very nice too, not involving any fire, but made with Tanqueray gin and a homemade vermouth. If you are lucky enough to get a seat on the balcony, you can sip your drinks with a bird eye view of Jalan Dewisita. Night Rooster is upstairs from Golden Monkey on the corner of Jalan Gootama and Jalan Dewisita. Great looking bar and small dishes menu as well but we didn’t try on this occasion as we were on our way to dinner. Great value for money at IR130,000 (AU$13) each! Definitely a must visit bar on your next trip to Ubud!

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Quirky and cool cocktails at Opium, London

Found this little gem on my recent trip to London when I was searching for a bar to meet up with a work colleague near the West End. Don’t be put off by the rather dingy entrance (look for the Jade Door says their website) and creaky wooden stairs to Opium..it’s all part of the atmosphere of making you feel like you are in some back room opium den in old time Shanghai. After climbing up a few flights of stairs, you enter an atmospherically lit bar decorated with Asian flair. Situated in the middle of London’s Chinatown and a hop from West End theatres, Opium is a great Pre or post -theatre drinks venue but also an excellent experience in it’s own right. The Dim Sum menu features sharing platters as well as individual dumpling plates and the dumplings were freshly made and delicious. The cocktail list is very inventive and includes a beautifully illustrated menu of cocktails themed around the Chinese animal zodiac and cocktails from this list are served in corresponding animal …

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Divine food in the eternal city at Da Enzo

This was a true foodie experience. It was definitely worth waiting for about twenty minutes to be squeezed in to a table at Da Enzo in the Trastevere part of Rome. Went there on the basis of glowing reviews on a number of blogs, crossing the Tiber from where we staying near the Spanish Steps, queuing in the light rain on a nippy autumn day in Rome. We were absolutely rewarded for our efforts and I couldn’t recommend trying it out yourself when next in Rome. The restaurant is tucked into a tiny “hole in the wall” down an atmospheric laneway, it was Friday lunchtime and the other restaurants around were pretty empty but Da Enzo was heaving with lots of locals and some savvy tourists. Its reputation for serving authentic, Roman cuisine (cucina Romano) in true Roman family style has grown and grown over the years. After being shown to our table with rickety chairs and paper tablecloths by a member of the family, we pondered the menu and daily specials. Our neighbours to …

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La Pentolaccia lives up to rave reviews!

Went to La Pentolaccia on the recommendation of a seasoned Rome resident on my first night back in the eternal city in 6 years. Having not stayed on this side of Rome (near Termini) before the recommendation was welcome as were the rave reviews on Yelp and Trip advisor. Down a cute little street, Via Flavia, just off Via Settembre in Sallustiano, La Pentolaccia is a great local restaurant that you always want to find as a tourist in Rome. Great service from friendly, professional and slightly bossy waiters; fabulous menu boasting dishes made with fresh, seasonal produce and a wonderful Roman vibe. We had delicious grilled octopus and prawn rocket salad with an eyewateringly good freshly made horseradish dip on the side, followed by Osso bucco with delicious marrow and lobster fettuccine. The lobster fettuccine actually had large pieces of lobster claw in it and was presented in a fish formation! Followed with fresh berries and ice cream. Solid wine list which the helpful owner?/waiter Vincenzo helped us with. All in all a great …

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Review: Sassy Sarong still going strong in Seminyak, Bali

Recently some foodie friends of mine visited Seminyak on a week long rest, relaxation and fine dining tour. When I requested their top 3 picks they admitted that despite trying many of the hot newcomer restaurants they felt that Will Meryck’s Sarong restaurant in Jalan Petitinget was still their top choice for the food, service and atmosphere. After very many years of visiting Bali I have been to Sarong on quite a few occasions including having a great time here on New Year’s Eve 2013. We had stopped in to Seminyak for a few days on this trip to stop in to some of the great restaurants by the coast before heading to Ubud – of course Sarong was also top of our list to go back to. We booked ahead via their website which is easy to do and highly recommended because it fills up quickly even in the low season. We arrived to met by their traditional warm welcome and we’re seated in the beautiful garden. The warm interiors and gorgeous lighting throughout creates a …

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Review: Ji whizz in Canggu, Bali

We were recommended to try the newly opened  at Ji Restaurant at the Hotel Tugu in Canggu by a friend so took a taxi from Seminyak for the roughly 35 minute trip, depending on traffic for dinner. Arriving at Hotel Tugu in Canggu, we were immediately impressed by the truly special setting created by the huge Garuda statue and furnishings in the hotel lobby. The restaurant and bar are situated next to the Hotel Tugu whose owners have an amazing collection of Chinese, Japanese and Indonesian antiques and collectibles which feature in their hotels and venues. We started with cocktails on the rooftop bar overlooking the busy beachside bars of Canggu with glimpses of the ocean over the rooftops, watching the sun setting as we sipped on our literally smoking CoCo Sexo cocktails, a delicious mixture of pineapple, rum and coconut juice served in coconut jars over dry ice. The bar area is eclectically decorated with beautiful artisan lights and plantings with indoor and outdoor seating. Ji restaurant itself is housed in a 300+ year old Chinese temple …

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Review: New York Nuance at Jean Georges’ Nougatine

It seemed only apt in the midst of the US primaries and all the hype about Donald Trump’s candidacy that we vist Jean Georges at the Trump Hotel on West Central Park. Recommended by friends and heralded as one of the best restaurants by Michelin judges and the foodie community, Chef Jean Georges Vongerichten’s stunningly located and beautifully designed restaurant is not short of acclaim. Adjacent to the formal Jean-Georges restaurant is the more casual but still very elegant Nougatine dining room and outdoor Terrace dining. We had heard about the very reasonably priced Prix Fixe lunch menu – 3 courses for USD38 , so we made sure we booked in ahead of time. Arriving on a crisp, New York early Spring day for lunch, we were welcomed by the equally crisp(but warm) and professional Jean Georges reception staff. We were privileged to have General Manager Phillipe Vongerichten, Jean Georges’ brother, supervising proceedings on the day we visited – watching the floor like a hawk and elegantly keeping an eye on the dishes emerging from …

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Review: Super Catch in Meatpacker’s District NYC

Catch is one of the super trendy restaurants in Meatpacker’s featuring all-the-rage Asian fusion in a souped up warehouse like space over 3 levels in the Meatpacker’s district in New York City. With a wide ranging menu, and an expectedly seafood focus, menu decision-making is difficult but the over the top pricing for some offerings helps to cut down the options if you’re not straight from Wall Street. Originally opened by by US Top Chef program winner, Hung Huynh, the menu features Raw Bar with Seafood Towers, rolled, cold and hot selections as well as US “entrees” and extensive sides. Here’s the current Dinner menu We sampled the Tartare Trio of salmon, hamachi and tuna served with American Caviar and a wasabi creme fraiche, Crispy Prawns with a tangy mayonnaise, Chicken San Choy Bow, Wagyu on a Rock and the Charred Cauliflower. We also had a special on the night a “pizza” with figs, proscuitto, rocket and quail eggs and Parmesan which was super good. (The low key lighting makes it a bit challenging for good …

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Soulful style at Marvin in Washington DC

Marvin’s is a very cool bistro, bar and nightclub in Washington’s happening “U street corridor” on 14th Street NW. Established in 2007, the food is inspired by Marvin’s Gaye’s travels to Belgium and southern “soul” food he grew up with in America. The decore is contemporary but comfortable, making you feel instantly at ease. Understandable why it is such a favourite with the locals.   We had come to eat like the locals so started off with Chicken fried oysters and Shrimp ‘n Grits. The oysters were fried in a spicy batter and came with a remoulade, mayonnaise. They were crispy on the outside and juicy on the inside making for a delicious contrast. The Shrimp had been cooked in tangy spices and were served with cheesy grits, jus from the shrimps and scattered with toasted almonds. (Grits are small broken corn grains that when are well are creamy almost like polenta.) The flavours from the shrimp enlivened the grits and made the dish extremely more-ish! For entrees (mains) we chose the Pepper Crusted Hanger …

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St Patrick’s Day at The Roger and Molly’s Bar NYC

Arrived in New York after 26 hours of travelling from Sydney at 4.30pm on St Patrick’s Day. We were staying at The Roger, a boutique hotel on the Corner of Madison and East 31st, in the area still known as Nomad(north of Madison park). I remember staying in mid-town years back when I visited New York and it is certainly changing with many more trendy bars and restaurants and a much more vibrant and a far less grungy atmosphere. The rooms are very spacious by New York standards and ours even had a seperate walk in wardrobe. Anyway, impressed as we were with our digs, we wanted a true New York Irish experience to celebrate St Patrick’s Day. After some quick online research, Adrian suggested Molly’s Bar about 15 minutes walk down in Gramercy, on 287 3rd Avenue just down from East 23rd st.   The tiny bar,established in 1960 and known to be New York’s most authentic Irish bar in New York, with sawdust on the floor and a log fire, was packed to the …

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