Superb tastes from across the Indonesian Archipelago – #Nusantara, #Ubud

“Nusantara is the Malayo-Polynesian name of Maritime Southeast Asia. It is a Javanese term which literally means “archipelago” in Old Javanese.[1] In Indonesia it is generally taken to mean the Indonesian archipelago..” Wikipedia

In Ubud, Nusantara is synonymous with a super delicious menu representing the flavours and favourite dishes from across Indonesia. With a superb range of sambals to accompany the small and large sharing plates, the menu gives diners the opportunity to try many regional dishes not traditionally offered restaurants.

The experience begins with a mixed sharing plate of sambals and salads to start with. The “Berbagi Rasa” (tasting plate) is accompanied by a card explaining all the different tastes on offer. I thought the Bakwan Keladi -deep fried yam with spices, padjri – grilled pineapple in a tangy tamarind sauce and Manisan Mannga – unripe mango marinated with sugar, chillies and lime juice were a standout. Great way to get our plates ready for the taste sensations to come.

We followed this with 3 small plates and 4 large plates (group of 5 of us) including delicious stir fried banana blossom, grilled baby squid in sauce, mackerel braised in turmeric with leeks, sambal prawns, smoky grilled pork with it’s own fiery sambal, braised beef brisket and free range chicken braised with green tomatoes in an amazing broth. The main meal was accompanied by a selection of 5 different and delicious sambals ranging from mild to hot.

Needless to say once again the Nusantara experience, like all Locavore establishments, is an absolute standout and is a must do in Ubud. It is always heartening to revisit restaurants and see that they have grown and even improved. Here’s my review from last years visit https://freespiritfood.wordpress.com/2018/01/18/intriguing-indo-flavours-at-new-nusantara-by-locavore-ubud/

You can also do a cooking class experience at Locavore which comes highly recommended but unfortunately was booked out on this trip so we couldn’t get in. The classes are offered on Tuesdays and Fridays and can be booked on their website so book ahead. https://www.locavore.co.id/nusantara

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!