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.

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.

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!