Lunching at The Lawn Canggu

A stunning day at Canggu yesterday so we headed to The Lawn Beach Club for lunch.

The club which is now 2 years old is beautifully appointed and maintained.

The menu offers an excellent range of cocktails, smoothies, and granitas as well as a range of small and large plates to share. Prices are mid-range to high by Bali standards with cocktails around IR120,000 and average price of meals about the same. However, the ambience and location make it pretty good value compared to similar beach clubs in Seminyak.

The vibe is also very relaxed with guests having the choice of lounging by or in the pool and pool bar, on the “fake” lawn or in the dining areas or in the beach itself under umbrellas.

We had a delicious grazing lunch of endamame, chicken karaage, split grilled prawns and a radicchio salad. The coconut mojito and pineapple granita were also tropical thirst quenching delights.

If you are staying in Canggu then this is definitely a great option for beachside dining and lounging.

Ji “Terrific” Terrace by the Sea, Canggu

Three years ago we enjoyed cocktails and dinner at the then newly opened Ji Restaurant, part of the Tugu Hotel in Canggu, in their original wooden temple building imported from Mainland China. Last night we returned to experience their newly opened Terrace overlooking the ocean and the perfect spot in Canggu to enjoy the stunning sunset over the Indian Ocean. The entire restaurant, bars and Terrace are beautifully decorated with Asian antiques and the atmosphere is quite unique.

As their website describes: “Ji Terrace by THE SEA carries the spirit of Tugu properties, which celebrate the rich cultural heritage and ancient history & legends through romantic atmosphere, interior and beautiful arts from ancient Indonesia and Asia, but what is different here is that the bohemian spirit of Canggu is very much alive. Beautiful statue of goddess of Durga from Rajasthan, centuries old urn from the Babah Peranakan family in Lasem, Java, Tibetan Mahakala masks, intricate Balinese Barong heads and many more artworks transport guests to a magical world of ancient kingdoms and quixotic legends, while seducing through beautiful Indian lanterns and sensuous beats of the best DJs on the island.

We started with delicious cocktails including the spectacular CoCo Sexo which is served in a coconut shell of dry ice and a tiki jar …with Sagatiba Cachaca, aromatic coconut, vanilla, passion fruit and a Timur with Tequila, Mango, Smoked Paprika, Beetroot shrub, lime, Cocktail syrup, Coriander.

Last time here we had enjoyed excellent sushi and our friends who had come for dinner the previous evening had once again recommended the freshness and creativity of the sushi and sashimi specialities of the Japanese fusion menu. We started with a selection of the chef’s choice Nigiri platter called Tic Tac Toe ..laid out like a noughts and crosses game. Every single offering was delicious and different with special toppings for each individual Nigiri including samples from the menu which can be ordered separately:

Tai Uzura – Seared snapper topping with breadcrumbs, parmesan and poached quail egg

Seared Gyuniku – Kobe style US beef with shoyu chimichurri sauce

Nihon Unagi – Grilled eel with grated ginger

Hotetaki – Scallion with seaweed & sambal matah

Sake Kyabia –Salmon with crème fraiche, green caviar & dill

It was the perfect way to try a wide range of the Nigiri on offer and at IR195 (about AUD20) extremely good value as well!

We added the Succulent Crispy Pork Belly with ginger, leek and scallion sauce and Amah’s Baby Back ribs served with Baby kalian, five spices and oriental molasses. Both of these were divine as well.

Great value, great atmosphere, great views, friendly and efficient service, and excellent food. Couldn’t ask for more and highly recommend a visit! So nice not to be disappointed on our second visit here.

14 Top Ubud Restaurants & Warungs

We’ve just arrived home in Sydney from Ubud after a wonderful 2 weeks there. I thought I’d share our favourite restaurants from this trip, including some old favourites and new finds while it was all fresh in my mind.

When we travel we like eating like the locals do, whilst also trying out the gastronomical stars. This trip to Ubud we did just that, eating at some great local warungs and places like Mozaic, Hujane Local and Spice Gastrocafe. We also tried on this trip to go to a few places that are off the beaten track of the main Ubud streets, so this is quite an eclectic mix!

Here’s an overview of  our favourite places for breakfast, lunch and dinner:

Melting Wok
Our absolute favourite place for dinner. There is also always a warm welcome from owner Geraldine and the team at Melting Wok who excel at great service and being hospitable. Geraldine is French and her husband Phillipe is Laotian and these cultural influences are evident in the  delicious main courses and desserts. The menu is small and simple, featuring the legendary stir fries and light coconut based curries with fresh herbs that have a unique fragrant Laotian flavour. Desserts include chocolate fondue, creme caramel and my favourite, the coco crepes with brown sugar and coconut cream. I could not write up Melting Wok without mentioning the stand out Mojitos which at IDR55,00(AUD $5.50) are an absolute steal. Great value for money dining overall with great fresh food and excellent service. Hugely popular restaurant with local expats and tourists so make sure you book ahead to guarantee a table.

Made’s Warung
In the ricefields behind Penestanan, follow the path which starts next to Bubu’s Warung on Jalan Penestanan Kelod and then turn right. Made’s Warung is up some stairs in a beautiful garden setting. The menu features Balinese, Indonesian and International favourites all freshly cooked. The Soto Ayam(chicken soup)!here is an absolute standout and the chicken with honey and chilli is a great take on sweet and sour chicken. Servings are very generous and the food is delicious. Warung prices so you will be pushing to spend more than AUD$15-20 unless you drink a lot of Bintang at $3.50 for a large bottle!

Kafe
Kafe is an Ubud institution, and a focal point for the Yoga Barn set. Serving delicious organic food, Kafe’s menu features soups, sandwiches,   Small plates and main courses. The rice paper sping rolls, kitchri, Indian plate, Ayam Rica Rica, and Soto Ayam are all excellent and the list of drinks includes Indian style lassis as well as fresh juices, coconut water and smoothies. In Jalan Hanoman.

Soma
Relatively new on the Ubud scene, SOMA is in Jalan Gootama in a Balinese courtyard setting, with tables set in the shade of frangipani trees and bamboo plants. The menu has a mixture of raw and cooked, healthy organic goodies. SOMA is all about healthy cooking, so if it’s not raw the food is created using slow cooking techniques. My “live” porridge with fresh fruits was absolutely delicious as are the fresh fruit juices. Good healthy lunch and dinner options and excellent for vegans and vegetarians. Service is a bit slow but worth the wait for the ambience and menu options.

Yellow Flower Cafe
Yellow Flower Cafe is tucked away in the Penestanan ricefields, on the walk between Penestanan and Bintang supermarket. If you are coming from the Campuhan end then follow the path from the stairs next to Bintang and if going from Penstanan, the path starts near the “taxi stand” opposite the real estate office. It is a quintesentially hippie cafe, frequented by the yogis staying in the ricefields. Run by a local Balinese family, the Cafe is great for breakfast with items like – Feta,Avocado and Tomato toast, on crispy baguette, which I suspect comes from the nearby Kue bakery in Penestanan; fantastic pancakes with bananas, coconut and strawberries and excellent egg shasuka which are eggs poached in a tomatoey ratatouille type sauce. Once again great frsh fruit juices, smoothies and Balinese “Jammu” or medicinal drinks.

Kue Bakery and cafe
There are 2 Kue bakeries in Ubud, one on Jalan Raya Ubud just down from Jalan Sugriwa and the other smaller outlet on Jalan Penestanan Kelod. If you need a fix of fresh croissants, crispy baguette or to indulge your sweet tooth with a cake or dessert, then Kue is definitley your answer when visiting Ubud. Everything is organic and freshly baked each morning and both bakeries operate as Cafes as well with sandwiches and organic wraps.

Wayan’s Juice Bar
On Jalan Penestanan Kelod, next to Warung Mendez, this is Boost Juice, Balinese style! The kitchen is more like a storeroom for the fruit, vegetables and herbs used in the juices. There is a huge list of combinations of fruit and vegetable juices, all made to order. My favourites include the banana, pineapple and passionfruit and the Beetroot, carrot, lime and  ginger! Delicious 🤗

Hujan Locale
Will Meryck’s Ubud restaurant offers a smorgasbord of regional Indonesia dishes in an elegantly colonial style restaurant in Jalan Sri Wedari. Using ingredients sourced through their partnership with local farmers and suppliers, the dishes range from tasty appetisers such as crispy pig’s ears through to stir-fries and curries, as well as dedicated vegetarian and gluten free menus.  Quality of food and service is excellent as one would expect from a Will Meryck establishment.
Smorgasbord of Indonesian delights

Mozaic
Mozaic restaurant is one of Ubud’s finest dining experiences and has won numerous awards to attest to this. The restaurant is very elegant and features dining in an tropical garden setting – very romantic at night. Chris Salans and his team use French and European cooking methods to create imaginative and divinely delicious dishes, each inspired by one key Indonesian ingredient. Mozaic offers set course menus of 6 or 8 courses and prices are high by Bali standards, but I recommend at least one visit as a true gastronomical adventure. Mozaic also has a lounge bar for cocktails and snacks.
See the review of our New Year’s Eve dinner.

Spice
Spice is Mozaic’s Chris Salan’s latest Ubud offering which he is calling a gastro-cafe. If you can’t make it to Mozaic, and even if you can, make sure you try out the fabulous more casual dining offer at Spice, on Jlan Raya Ubud. The menu features small plates as well as as more substantial mains and a daily specials menu. We tried gorgeous vegetarian dumplings; crispy pork belly with turmeric sauce, cauliflower and dukka, green salad and a very authentic Malaysian prawn laksa. The wine list is good, and wines are available by the glass. like Mozaic, each of the dishes incorporates local herbs,spices and sambals in a creative and thoughtful manner. The attention to detail in presentation and great fit-out make for a very pleasant casual dining venue as you watch the action of Ubud’s Main Street through the glass frontage. Must visit!

Warung Saya
Always a very eclectic experience at this tiny Warung, with only 4 tables, now relocated from Jalan Gootama to Jalan Sugriwa in the centre of Ubud. The owner Amir is a one man band, for taking reservations, serving the food, cooking it and entertaining guests with his loyal miniature poodle, Princess by his side. As well as being a fabulous cook, Amir designs dog costumes and Princess is usually decked to the nines! Bookings are essential and Amir usually requests food orders are placed ahead of your arrival by email so he can prepare ahead and cut down what can be otherwise a long waiting time while he cooks your dinner from scratch. The food is really delicious, and I always enjoy the Indian inspired dishes such as the Mysore Chicken. The fried tofu is to die for as is the stunning grilled eggplant served with yoghurt and tomato chutney. Amir is not a fan of hot chilli, so the dishes are delicately spiced. I’m not sure how he manages to do it all on his own but it is always feels like you are in his home and he is cooking for special guests.

Warung Mendez
Specialising  in Javanese food, Warung Mendez in addition to tasty appetisers such as their corn and spring onion fritters, battered tempeh, and lumpiah(spring rolls); soups such as Rawon, rice dishes like Nasi Goreng; Warung Mendez also serves special dishes like BBQ leg of goat and Beef ribs marinated with herbs and spices and served with rice and Lawar (green vegetables with coconut and spices). The meat dishes are perfectly slow cooked over coals and are redolent of smoky spicy flavours. The accompanying sambals and the green papaya salad are perfect accompaniments to the bbqed meats. Would highly recommend the special Gado Gado which is topped with fried tofu, a poached egg and delicious peanut sauce. Never tasted a Gado Gado like it before. Located in Jalan Penestanan Kelod. Warung Mendez Lunch Review

Bubu’s Warung
Down the road from Warung Mendez, Bubu’s Warung allot feels like an Australian cafe with chalkboard messages explaining the provenance of the ingredients as being fresh from the markets each day, and a light airy setting which is quite minimalist. This could be the influence of Bubu’s son Kadek who lives and works in Australia. The family run Warung is cheap and cheerful with wholesome, good food prepared by Bubu herself. Menu is a mix of local and international favourites. Balinese special dishes must be ordered 24 hour ahead. The service is excellent.

Warung Ibu Suna
For an authentic Babi Guling experience, outside the famed Ibu Oka which is now filled with bus loads of tourists, I’d recommend you venture up Jalan Sangingan to Ibu Suna, which is on your left hand side as you head out of Ubud, just before the turn to Kedewatan village. Most local warungs serving Babi Guling only open until that day’s pig/s has been finished so I’d recommend you factor in Babi Guling at Ibu Suna for brunch and go before 12.30 or you might find it is closed. The Babi Guling here is served traditionally with crispy crackling, tender white meat, bits of crispy fried innards(which you can skip), a spicy lawar(green ferns and coconut), hot chilli sambal and rice. Ibu Suna’s version gets top marks and is understandably very popular with locals.  A real Babi Guling experience

Review: Bali Asli Fishing and Cooking Class experience

This is the second cooking class experience that I have done through Bali Asli, which is based up in the hills of East Bali overlooking Mt Agung.

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The Jungkung, traditional Balinese fishing boat, that took us out for our fishing experience.

This time we chose the Fishing Experience package that combines a morning boat trip departing at 8am from White Sand Beach, near Jasri village and out into the surrounding bay. We were picked up from Turtle Bay Hideaway and driven right down to White Sand beach where a local fisherman was waiting for us with his Jungkung(traditional Balinese outrigger fishing boat). We were pushed out into the water by a number of other fisherman and soon were speeding along to our first fishing spot as the sun climbed higher into the sky over the glistening waters.

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Great views out to island outcrops and back to the shore in the waters off Jasri, East Bali

We were given substantial hand reels and bait to use in our endeavours to catch fish, but despite trying a number of spots we only managed to catch one small fish which we threw back. The currents were really strong, swirling the waters in the bay, which our local expert told us was “no good” for fishing. The local fishermen go out at 5am – early bird …and all that!

The boat trip itself was really enjoyable as we got great views back to the shore and close up to some of the island outcrops. Lovely way to start the day.

Afterwards we were driven up through some of the towns of East Bali, like Amlapura, with beautiful gardens and spotless streets winding up the hills to the stunning location of Bali Asli, which is owned and run by Australian expat Penelope Williams.

There we were greeted with a cooling drink and morning tea goodies including Sumping (steamed coconut custard cakes with ripe jackfruit) and Nangke Goreng (battered, fried jackfruit fritters) – both delicious. This was to get our energy up for the pounding of the Bumbu Bali (spice paste), mouldings of chicken satays, wrapping of fish and tofu in banana leaves, mixing of salad and stir frying of Nasi Goreng which was to come!

Dewa, one of the senior chefs at Bali Asli restaurant, first sat us down and explained the various herbs and spices we would be using, before taking us on a short tour of the garden where much of the restaurants herbs and vegetables are grown.

We were then allocated our own work area and guided through the making of each dish with very helpful tips and a few tricks e.g how to make little banana boats and “money bags” for grilling of the fish and steaming of the tofu.

The cooking class itself goes for about 2 hours but the time flies and we were very pleased with ourselves when we sat down to eat all the delicious dishes we had cooked around 1pm.

Whilst I had done the same menu when I last visited Bali Asli, I still learnt a lot this time again, and as there were only 2 of us in the class this time we received much more personal attention.

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Pesah Be Pasih – spiced fish fillet in banana leaf parcel

The cooking experiences at Bali Asli are just that – total experiences, combining a great insight into Balinese tradition and culture with excellent advice, guidance through the step by step process for each dish, and the opportunity for personal hands-on practice, rather than just watching an instructor making everything.

On both occasions that I have participated I have thoroughly enjoyed the “immersion” experience (See review of Balinese Village Cooking Class Experience)and the beautiful drive up and back from Bali Asli with its stunning views across the green valleys and ricefields to Mt Agung.

For more information, visit: http://www.baliasli.com.au

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Stunning views from Bali Asli, Karangasem, East Bali to Mt Agung

Review: Bali bliss at Turtle Bay Hideaway, Jasri

I haven’t included accommodation reviews here before , but I am making an exception to share the very special experience that we recently had at Turtle Bay Hideaway in Jasri, East Bali.

The trip  to Turtle Bay in Jasri, East Bali takes around 2.5 hours from Ubud.

Admittedly, we stopped on the way for delicious Kambing(goat) satays at a buzzing warung(local restaurant/food stall) called PakseBali Kebangankku just outside of the town of Klungkung. Our long time driver and friend Wayan Suta told us that the goat satays here are renowned throughout the island and they certainly were a tasty brunch feast, straight from the charcoal grill to the plate with a delicious homemade satay sauce. The accompanying soup was rich and filled with chunks of tender goat meat and spices.

The drive to Jasri is on good roads throughout and takes you through some stunning Bali vistasacross ricefields and plantations and out to the ocean.

Having done extensive research to find a small, quiet resort near the ocean, without the artificial trappings or sky high prices of the five star resorts in Bali, we had decided to try the Eco-hotel Turtle Bay Hideaway, created by US expat owner Emerald Starr who has lived in Bali for 30 years.

We were warmly welcomed at the reception area and escorted through a beautiful, lush garden to Villa Mandala which is situated in the lower half of one of the 3 joglo style tribal houses, brought by Emerald from Sulawesi, that are strategically placed along the property for optimal ocean views and maximum privacy.

We actually caught our breaths seeing the 180 degree view of the ocean from the front of the villa. The ocean is literally at the end of an expanse of lawn and you can even see it lying in the massive King size bed inside. The large oceanside infinity swimming pool is positioned between the 2 larger  villas, with the 3rd “honeymoon” villa featuring it’s own smaller, private pool by the ocean.Our villa was very tastefully decorated, with a beautiful indoor/outdoor bathroom and excellent shower, and surrounded on each side for privacy by the lush garden plantings.

Our  welcoming host explained the lie of the land to us, including the fact that there is no restaurant so all meals are served at the villa as room service, or at a choice of dining locations along the seafront or in the gardens. As the meals are prepared using freshly procured ingredients from local fishermen and Turtle Bay’s own organic garden, a few hours notice needs to be given for the preparation of meals and breakfast is ordered the night before. Unlike many “breakfast included” villas in Bali, there is a wide range of choices too.

For our first meal we chose papaya salad, fishcakes and a light coconut based fish curry. The menu includes Asian inspired and western favourites. Whilst not extensive there are more than enough choices to satisfy individual tastes.

Our breakfasts were filled with the best tasting tropical fruits, freshly made crepes and eggs or omelettes. A highlight for me was drinking the juice of a young coconut and then eating the sweet, soft flesh with a spoon!

The Thai Tom Yam Goong soup was very authentic with lots of fresh prawns as well as galangal and kaffir lime leaves. It was obvious that the deliciously flavoured clear broth had been made using homemade fish stock.

The Prawns with Balinese sauce, the Ayam Goreng nuggets made with chicken breast, and the Orange Cake with Vanilla Ice-cream were all great picks on the menu. Our only disappointment was that we didn’t get to try the banana and chocolate pie for dessert.

We found with all the food we ordered that the freshness of the ingredients shone through.  It is organic, home style cooking that goes perfectly with the natural setting. Prices of food and drinks were extremely good value for money too.

There are a number of activities that can be organised from the resort, but we chose only to leave to explore the neighbouring village and to visit the Uforia organic chocolate factory next door.(of course,we taste tested about 12 different types and bought bars of all our favourites!) You cannot swim in the ocean at Turtle Bay, but the once undiscovered and now very popular, White Sand Beach is 10 minutes away drive and is a gorgeous swimming spot. We were just as happy lolling in the pool.

Turtle Bay only accommodates 12-14 guests in total so the experience is very personalised. The manager Made and his team are friendly, polite, caring and provide excellent service with all meals delivered right on time and the rooms kept spotlessly clean.

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View of sunrise from Villa Mandala at Turtle Bay Hideaway, Jasri, East Bali

Our days at Turtle Bay were totally relaxing – reading, swimming, yoga on the verandah overlooking the ocean, great massages and going to sleep with the sound of the waves crashing on the sea wall. We were lucky to get clear skies at night and be able to see the night sky fill up with brightly shining stars and to wake up to magnicent sunrises over the ocean.The immensity of the ocean and sky fill in the days much better than any manmade entertainment. Mind you, the WiFi service is good too.

I would highly recommend the beautiful Turtle Bay Hideaway if you are seeking a blissful Bali Oceanside retreat, without the hoopla of Seminyak or Nusa Dua, at a very affordable price.

 

 

Review: New Year’s Foodie Nirvana at Mozaic Restaurant Ubud, Bali

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Tray of fresh herbs and spices featured in menu

Our special treat for New Year’s Eve 2015 was to book in to the acclaimed, award-winning Moziac Restaurant in Ubud for their special seven course degustation.

Chef Chris Salans opened Mozaic in 2001 bringing together the indigenous flavours of Indonesian herbs, spices and vegetables with first class imported ingredients such as wagyu beef, black truffles, foie gras all prepared with sophisticated French and European cooking techniques.

The resulting menus and dishes have earned Chris Salans and his team a list of awards as long as your arm, not to mention, calls for a Michelin Star from Mozaic’s international diners.

As you can imagine, our expectations were set very high as we stepped through the beautiful wooden doors into the Mozaic Lounge for a pre-dinner aperitif and complimentary appetiser. We were brought an appetiser of a light as air tiny profiterole filled with a luscious savoury, truffle infused custard.

Our host explained the wine pairing menu with dinner which we decided to go with, and we were very well rewarded , as each of the wines complimented the complex flavours of each of the courses perfectly.

We entered the atmospheric garden pavilion surrounded by beautiful tropical plants and festive new year decorations to be seated for dinner. Divine setting!

One of the best initiatives is the tray of fresh spices that is brought to each table and as each course is presented, the waiters explain which of the spices and herbs are used in each dish. With many of the ingredients unique to Indonesia, this is a great way for diners to touch and smell them and understand more about what they are about to enjoy.

Each course is inspired by a theme of the local flavour featured e.g torch ginger flower or kaffir lime.

Our seven course eating odyssey began with a complimentary amuse Bouche of sweet lobster with a light cucumber and lime foam. It was an delicious introduction to the greater things to come.

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It would be too difficult to try to explain each of the courses in detail so instead all I will do is post my photographs with the menu titles and short descriptions.

I can only recommend that if you are going to Ubud that you visit Mozaic for a truly amazing dining experience. At $170-350 per head depending on your wine choices, it is by no means cheap but it is in comparison to what you would pay in any major city for the same quality of food, ambience and service.

Foodie Nirvana indeed!

For restaurant information visit http://www.mozaic-bali.com

Dabu Dabu (Indonesian sambal)
Fresh chilled oysters with Dabu Dabu Relish and Russian Sturgeon Caviar

Kecicang(Torch Ginger Flower)
Seared Freshwater Sulawesi Yabbies, Radish puree, Ginger flower, chargrilled watermelon and Black Truffle

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Seared Freshwater Sulawesi Yabbies, Radish puree, Ginger flower, chargrilled watermelon and Black Truffle

Sereh(Lemongrass)
Duo of chilled and smoked Foie Gras with apples and lemongrass

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Duo of chilled and smoked Foie Gras with apples and lemongrass

Tempe (Fermented soy bean)
Stockyard Wagyu Beef, Fermented soy bean and Fresh Winter Black Truffle Crumble

Kemangi (Lemon Basil)
Balinese Lemon Basil and Celery Sorbet with Ciroc vodka

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Balinese Lemon Basil and Celery Sorbet with Ciroc vodka

Pala(Fresh Nutmeg)

A.O.C. Vacherin Cheese with Fresh nutmeg Pericarp and reduction

Jeruk Purut (Kaffir Lime)
Kaffir Lime Clay with Valrhona Chocolate and Kaffir Lime Sorbet