The legend of “Avocado Picasso”, #Miros, #Ubud

The Avocado Picasso salad at Miro’s Garden Restaurant has reached legendary status in our family due to the fact that it is only available on the menu during the avocado season in Ubud and none of us have been able to try it despite very numerous visits to this Ubudian dining institution over many years.

It doesn’t help that the definition of the “season” for avocados in Bali is a little bit vague, with most sources claiming it is between August and November when it is drier here. It has unfortunately been more unusual for us to be visiting here during those months due to work commitments at this time of the year. Hence, the availability of the Avocado Picasso to us at Miro’s has been scarce.

Somehow this time, despite it being late January, we lucked in. Holding our breath we asked the gorgeous Balinese waiter if it was “on” and we were delighted to hear it was! (We actually immediately messaged our family back in Australia to alert them to it’s existence!)

The simple description on the Miro’s menu “Avocado salad with Balinese Spices” belies the delicious flavours and presentation of the actual dish. The colours are indeed evocative of an abstract Picasso painting.

Delicious creamy avocado combined with tomatoes, lettuce, a sprinkle of parsley and crunchy fried shallots, drizzled with the most delicious dressing of young fresh coconut milk mixed with a touch of Balinese Bumbu(spice mix). It must be the complexity and sophistication of Miro’s Bumbu that adds a touch of Balinese magic into this salad.

I am definitely going to try to recreate it at home so that we can keep the legend alive outside of the Avocado season in Bali.

I am not sure if the Avocado Picasso at Miro’s was inspired by the lyrics in Modern Lovers song “Pablo Picasso” (later sung by David Bowie) but I know in our case there a few family members turning the colour of an avocado because we got to Miro’s for this divine salad first!

Well the girls would turn the color
Of the avocado when he would drive
Down their street in his El Dorado
He could walk down your street
And girls could not resist his stare

Modern Lovers, Pablo Picasso 1976

We teamed up the Salad with the consistently great Corn Fritters and Ayam Goreng for a lovely dinner in the beautiful traditional Balinese house compound and garden setting of Miro’s which has been in the same family for five generations. If in Ubud then it’s a wonderful place to enjoy lunch or dinner and a great favourite with travellers from far and wide. I just hope you get to try the Avocado Picasso when you visit!

Miro’s Garden Restaurant is on the corner of Jalan Raya Ubud(Main Street) and Jalan Bisma. http://mirosgardenrestaurantubud.blogspot.com/?utm_source=tripadvisor&utm_medium=referral

Tasty, Thai Thali, #Penastanan, #ubud

We are staying in a Villa in Penastanan Village just outside of Ubud for a few weeks.

Of course, Ubud is filled to the brim with great restaurants, but sometimes when we are feeling particularly lazy on our holidays we love being able to just wander up the path to a local Warung in our neighbourhood. Penastanan is blessed with many of these.

And now we have Thai Thali to add to the list! Just 3 days ago the newly refreshed and branded Thai Thali Warung had sprung open. (Felt like it appeared overnight!) it is just down the lane (gang) behind the D’Omah/Wayan Juice shop off Jalan Penastanan Kelod. Look/ask for the directions to Gajah Biru Villas and Spa and you will find it opposite there. Here’s a map with my rudimentary markings!

We had also snuck in for a quick lunch the other day and tried items from their Indian vegetarian light meals menu. Their Puri (puffy fried Indian bread) and Alu Prantha (Indian bread stuffed with lightly spiced potato mixture) both served with Raita and pickle were tasty and filling.

Last night we tried their Thai offerings and were even more impressed by the authenticity of the cooking. The use of fresh herbs such as lemongrass, basil, galangal and kaffir lime leaves made the Gang Knew Wan Gai (green chicken curry) and Gai Pad bai Khapoa( minced chicken with chilli and basil) taste like they had just come off the streets of Bangkok!

The green chicken curry even had baby pea eggplants that are such a trademark of green curries in Thailand. Of course it makes sense because all these ingredients are easy to find in Bali.

They also gave me extra chopped green chilli in fish sauce and lime juice (nam prik) which added the just extra chilli hit I was looking for! Around Mak Mak (very, very delicious)

The total meal including 2 large beers came to a total of IR170,000 (AUD17)! See below for photos of the menu.

With a menu that focuses on simple but tasty Thai and Indian favourites, we can see this new Warung joining the list of new favourites for a quick and cheap as chips meals.

They don’t have a website yet so I have included some photos of the menu below.

And, if they are so confident that you will like the food if there is something “legit”you don’t like then your meal will be in them!

3 Cheers for Three Monkeys Cafe, #Ubud

Three Monkeys Cafe in Ubud is set in the middle of Monkey Forest Road’s shopping strip but when you step inside it is an oasis of coolness and peace on the edge of a small rice field that has been preserved.

Established by Australian Italian chef Karli Sary, it features a wide ranging menu inspired by her family heritage and travels including Italian pizza, pasta and salad Turkish and Greek favourites, as well as Balinese specialities, catering to many tastes.

Recommended to us by our friend and renowned Australian chef Janni Kyrtsis with who is friends with Karli, we enjoyed the setting, the service and a delicious lunch. We had delicious Tiropita cheese pastries with a thyme flavoured honey sauce and watermelon salad with feta, almonds and mint to start. And then tried the Bebek Betutu(grilled Balinese duck) and Beef Rendang, both authentic and redolent with Indonesian spices.

A great spot to stop by if you are shopping on Monkey Forest Road and only a ten minute walk from the main Ubud market.

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.net/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

Best “Blooming” Breakfast at Yellow Flower Cafe, Ubud

Yellow Flower Cafe is tucked up away behind Penestanan Village in amongst what used to be used to be ricefields but sadly is now becoming more and more developed. Still it is only accessible by walking and with views across the Campuhan valley, so a beautiful spot for breakfast or lunch.

With delicious organic fruit, breakfast bowls and frappes, or heartier hot breakfasts with specials such as wheat free, rice flour pancakes and shakushka eggs – Yellow Flower is definitely the best spot for breakfast this side of the Campuhan Bridge. Excellent coffees as well.

Their business is definitely “blooming” due to their consistently fresh, organic produce and laid back Ubud vibe. They have just expanded with a tasteful new section with more tables and seating. The old section still has the best views over the valley though.

Here’s a link to their website which has a map https://yellow-flower-cafe.business.site. Easiest way to find it is to take the steps to the left of Bintang Supermarket to the top of the hill then turn right.

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!