I decided that this JBR would focus on food – as this is a major attraction as to why we (hubby and I in our 40’s) regularly travel to Bali.
We dubbed this week of indulgence as the “Bali Culinary Tour”……no……….we didn’t do any cooking classes this time, just a lot of time eating.
Our third trip this year was undertaken on cheap Air Asia tickets (which was a hassle-free journey, that I would do again tomorrow) to basically have a bonus week of eating, drinking, relaxing by the Andari villa pool, enjoying daily massages, with very little shopping to report (much to he-who-must-be-obeyed’s relief).
When we sat down to dine, I channeled that fat guy on Master Chef…..the food critic (sorry have forgotten his name) when tasting our meals…… although I certainly didn’t make the same obnoxious facial expressions, during the taste tests!
So we have basically rated each eatery with our comments and a description of dishes enjoyed and I must say, that we didn’t have one bad dining experience in the entire week! Dependent on the quantity of beverages consumed at each meal, sometimes we can recall more detail than others, as we didn’t always remember to keep note of the exact prices!
Jalan Raya Seminyak – ~ 300 metres north of Bintang Supermarket on the opposite side of the road.
This is a Belgium restaurant with plenty of variety on the menu, including an Indonesian selection, so you can order nasi goreng etc etc. They have Jazz nights with groovy music, a nice ambience for the dining crowd there.
We always head upstairs to catch any cool breeze and to play on the large pool table. Downstairs gets very busy, but normally upstairs is quiet. Bintangs are very cold and you have the choice of the beer condoms (stubbie holders) or a frosty glass.
Service is excellent – plenty of friendly waiters to take your order and not a long wait for meals.
Ok…………..onto the food……….firstly entrée of snails cooked in garlic butter. There are 6 or 8 snails smothered in garlic and accompanied by slices of fresh baguette to mop up those juices and guarantee garlic breath to all those unfortunate to meet you the next morning.
Sauteed frogs legs in herb garlic butter, which are very soft and moist and a lot of fun to eat..…and yes, they do taste like little morsels of chicken!
Mains: a special of the day of lightly grilled snapper fillet on a bed of tabblouleh (a healthy and light start to the food tour) and a Belgium speciality called Vlammse Stovers – which is a rich beef stew served with large golden chips and a side salad (lettuce, tomato and carrot). Very tasty and savoury and the meat just falls apart and the gravy is lovely….the menu states this as ‘a traditional Belgium beef stew flavoured with dark beer’. Wish that I could replicate this and steal the recipe to make it at home.
Mains on the menu range from about 50,000 up to about 85,000 Rp – great value and starters from 20,000 to about 50,000 Rp. (Add 15% charges to the prices).
Mannekipis is an old favourite that we keep returning to and we rate as a 9/10….consistently good food and a lovely atmosphere and the boys are kept amused with the pool table upstairs.
Jalan Raya Seminyak – south of Bintang Supermarket on same side of the road
Japanese and the menu is comprehensive that contains large pictures of each meal; handy if you are not familiar with Japanese cuisine. Also on offer are plenty of cooked options, if you don’t like raw seafood.
Cold bintangs again, with choice of beer condoms or frosty glass.
Starting with the Maguro (tuna sashimi) – is the best we have ever tasted anywhere in the world (ok we haven’t venture to Japan yet) - the quality and freshness is always excellent. Ryoshi keeps it simple, so just slices of the freshest tuna that has surprised friends of ours, when we have taken them here and they have tasted raw fish for the first time.
Next another regular favourite – Unagi, which is grilled eel on top of sashimi rice.
Mains: Yakinuki don, which is a bowl of rice, covered with thin slices of imported Korean beef cooked in soy sauce and topped with spring onions. A delight to eat and very filling.
Tuna sashimi is about 18,000 Rp, unagi is 35,000 Rp and the beef bowl is 51,000 Rp.
Great value for top notch Japanese dining.
Consistent food and service – we ventured there for lunch and had attentive staff and a great experience. The restaurant has both downstairs or upstairs dining areas; you can kick off your shoes and sit at low tables on cushions or if you prefer, on western style dining tables.
The Tuesday Night Pizza Club (Take-away)
Great pizzas and have enjoyed the salads on previous occasions.
We were having drinks at Andari villa with touring friends and local expat mates….ok……so we spent most of the afternoon in the kitchen wearing out the blender with frozen fruit concoctions, laced liberally with our duty-free from home. We decided the take-out option was for us this evening, so no need to venture out of the front door, just a quick phone call and home delivery arrived 40 minutes later.
The pizzas are all named after movie titles, which also makes ordering a bit of fun too.
We decided on three ‘titles’:
Chicken Run – pesto sauce, chicken, capsicum and sun dried tomatoes.
The Silence of the Lambs – spicy lamb sausage, feta, sun dried tomatoes and red onion.
Notting Hill – portabello mushrooms, olives, ham and onion.
They all arrived hot and with a thin crispy crust – delicious, with a nice tomato sauce base.
We ordered large pizza sizes and they cost an average of about 110,000 Rp each.
Enough to feed 5 hungry and slightly drunk ‘bules’plus our villa night-security guards too.
Great option for in-house dining in our villa.
Pizzas come in mini, small, medium, large and extra large sizes and prices range from about 18,000 Rp up to 187,000 Rp.
Jalan Double Six and Jalan Werkudara (right on the corner opposite Marzano)….didn’t have a sign up yet, but it’s arriving soon….apparently….on Bali time.
This is a brand new restaurant that opened up in November and what caught our eye was a blackboard tapas menu as we drove around the corner – so being partial to Spanish tapas, we had to taste-test this brand new place. (owned by a pleasant young German guy – good on you!)
We had two lunches here and sampled a few of the tapas-style dishes.
Once again, cold bintangs to be had!
Mezze plate – this has a selection of homous, tomatoes diced with garlic and basil (much like a bruschetta topping), babba ganoush and cous-cous flavoured with vegetables and slices of baguette.
My tip is to order extra pita bread, as I personally enjoy eating the dips with pita than the thicker slices of baguette.
Garlic mushrooms are a generous serve of sautéed mushrooms in garlic and chilli – very tasty.
Prawns in oil are served hot and four decent sized prawns to a plate.
Meatballs in tomato sauce are damn tasty, with herbs and again, four to a serve. They are a new favourite.
The fried potatoes are small chunks, accompanied by a spicy, creamy dipping sauce that is delicious enough to eat on its own or spread on the extra pita bread.
The Mezze plate costs 42,000 Rp and the other tapas all range around 30,000 Rp per plate.
They also have a breakfast menu, but we ate from the general menu at around 11.30am.
A great new find for an inexpensive, nibbly-style light lunch.
Service was fast and friendly. My preference is that Corner 66 needs to offer beer condoms for the bintangs, to keep them nice and cold, but they did offer frosty glasses as well.
Jalan Werkudara, opposite Grand Kumala Hotel
An Indonesian warung that I had read about on the forum previously.
I suggest bookings are essential for dinner, as this is a tiny little place with about 5 or 6 tables and looks busy every night. The black board specials are the way to go. My husband asked what was fresh in the morning, when he made the dinner booking.
We had three different main meals.
Each is accompanied by steamed white rice and a bowl of vegetables cooked in coconut milk – very tasty and a nice change to serving vegetables.
Chicken in coconut milk: Our friends thought they had ordered chicken in coriander, but were still pleased with this dish. It looks more like a soup, with a lot of milky juice and pieces of skinless chicken breast fillet.
Pepper prawns: the small scampi are fried in a salt and pepper crust. Delicious, fresh and crispy……I would love to see if they have fresh squid and can perform the same magic on them next time!
Fish in garlic and ginger sauce: The fish was chopped into small pieces (not a bone in sight) and cooked in a light sauce - very tasty, although a little salty.
The blackboard specials ranged around 30,000 Rp per dish. Great value and all dishes are very fresh.
Your food is made to order, so you need to wait a good half hour………….very cold bintangs here, so a nice place to sit and relax whilst you wait for your meal.
300,000 Rp for 4 of us…………..that would have been mainly for the liquid refreshments, rather than food. I would love to try their mie goreng or the seafood nasi goreng, but ran out of time and there was a Muslim holiday, so we missed out another chance this trip.
8/10 Ibu Sri’s cooking skills are excellent and she really makes you feel at home.
2/10 for the squat toilet out the back!! But don’t let that put you off visiting Café Jadi, I will be back again no problem at all.
Jalan Padma, Legian
Again, I had read about this on the forum and we were wandering around the area one evening and came upon it by chance. Checked out the menu at the front door……..that looked good, so a combination of the food menu and the friendly staff enticed us inside.
This place has a lovely feel to it – the table settings, with white tablecloths covered in butcher paper and good quality glass ware, made me feel like we sitting in a 5-star establishment!
Art work and attention to detail of the interior design make it a very pleasant place to dine.
Toilets were very clean too. It’s a groovy up-market setting.
A large screen tv on top of the bar, so you can view some football at the same time as enjoying a drink or a meal.
Starting with a mojito – which itself scored a 9/10, excellent mix.
I have sampled many a mojito in my time and this one certainly was delicious, no arak in sight……the bar looked well stocked…..I want to take that bar-man home with me (but my husband might have something to say about that excess luggage)…………
I was surprised that there are no pizzas on the menu, so they mustn’t have a wood fired oven out the back……but that is no problem, plenty of other dishes to keep us happy.
Starter was: Portabello mushroom soup - absolutely delicious, the mushrooms were pureed with a very arty swirl of cream on the top. Served with a piece of toasted garlic bread…..mmm…….
Mains: Scallops with creamy spaghetti – is served with baby scallops and the pasta was out of the packet, not home-made. The only down fall of the dish is the large pieces of shaved parmesan, which had a tough, chewy texture…..I would prefer grated parmesan instead. The presentation is fair- a piece of parsley is the only garnish in the middle of a large white plate…………..would look better in a smaller bowl (but that is just me being fussy!) The dish could do with a little more flair, as cream, scallops and spaghetti are all basically the same off-white colour and a little sprinkle of something on top, even chopped herbs would help this dish.
The chilli basil prawns are a generous serve of sautéed prawns (not too hot or spicy, but tasty) with a nice side salad……not as good as the spaghetti dish in our opinion.
The staff at Mozzarella are absolutely outstanding and regularly check if customers are happy with the meal and chatted, without being invasive.
I can’t remember exactly (I did have a mojito or two), but I think mains were ~ 70,000 Rp and we spent about 350,000 Rp for our two course meal with a number of alcoholic drinks.
8.5/10 – lovely setting and with a bit of tweaking to the meal presentation will make this a stand-out along this street!
Legian Beach, next door to Lanai
We had a long walk along the beach early one day, so decided to have breakfast along the beach strip in Legian – where there are plenty of choices.
We picked Blue Ocean, with an outdoor table that had a good view to the water…..well, they all do – don’t they??
Had a wobbly chair as the floor surface was uneven, but sat down comfortably to enjoy the view.
I had a set menu item of omelette, which contains mushroom, ham, tomato and (a little too much) white onion. Washed down with a pot of tea and a nice cold pineapple juice. Toast is served with a lovely plum jam, a nice change to marmalade or strawberry that is normally offered! (I usually pack my tube of vegemite, yes I am one of those addicted to the stuff and I can’t leave home without it).
Hubby opted for just tea and toast.
Total was 45,000 Rp for the set breakfast.
Corner of Jalan Double six and Jalan Werkudara
Excellent Italian food – but this night we ordered take-away pizzas and our security man at the villa picked them up for us. This café has a huge wood-fired pizza oven, built by the patriarch of the Italian family, who run the business.
We ordered one pizza with a topping of ham, cheese and tomato and another with hot Italian sausage.
Great thin and crispy pizzas.
Ready in 20 minutes.
Total was 110,000 Rp for 2 pizzas.
Jalan Drupadi, Seminyak
What can I say- I left the best to last and it was our final dinner in Bali, so we splashed out for a big slap-up meal at one of our favourite restaurants. La Sal is Spanish and offers Argentinian bbq too.
I don’t even bother with the paella, but get stuck into the tapas and just kept ordering more for a long and leisurely dining experience.
It has a plantation feel to the dining area – all white washed walls and a lovely garden setting under the trees out the front section. There is an upstairs area, which I believe is often used for functions too that has comfy lounges.
Starting with frozen strawberry margaritas – absolutely sensational. Cost 100,000 Rp each, but well worth the price!
Then began the feast with a small complimentary dip with crispy thin slices of bread – no idea what was in the dip, but it was a good start.
They had some blackboard specials, so we began with one called ‘Grilled Baby Squids’ for 39,000 Rp.
In a word WOW, I have never eaten such tiny, soft melt-in-your mouth squid. These little morsels are simply char-grilled (by that I don’t mean burnt to a crisp, but carefully grilled on a hot bbq for a matter of seconds) served hot and simply delicious. They are served with potato crisps (tasted freshly made and not out of a packet).
Veal carpaccio is melt in the mouth paper-thin slices of meat, with olive oil, balsamic vinegar on the side and topped with shaved parmesan for 75,000 Rp.
Chicken croquettes are creamy on the inside, crispy on the outside and not greasy - such a wonderful flavor for 30,000 Rp.
Gaudi salad is a selection of lettuce, including rocket and radicchio, asparagus, corn, avocado, roasted tomatoes and shaved carrot for 30,000 Rp.
Valencian prawns are served in garlic truffle oil and this is the way that prawns were meant to be served! Delicious and you just have to mop up the juices with the complimentary breads.
Finally we had room for one main meal to share – twice cooked shoulder of lamb. This is an amazing dish with a piece of lamb (falls apart – no need for a knife here) on top of a bed of mashed potato, with a jus and adorned with baby vegetables. Amazing for 120,000 rp.
This feast was washed down with a glass of sangria (45,000 Rp) and Corona beers.
Add 15% to all of the above menu prices!
Absolutely a dining experience not to be forgotten.
10/10 – couldn’t get better than this!!
So that is the end of our culinary tour of Bali and we didn’t even have a spare moment to return to Biku, Sarong, Panterai, Ketupat or Ultimo’s or to try our first attempt at either Queen’s Tandoor or Chandi……but there is always a next time.
My tip is to sample as many places as possible and take the precautionary Travellan tablets before each meal, so that you avoid any problems that might prevent you from experiencing dining in Bali each and every day. What a feast fest is available in Bali. One of my fellow travelers (a Bali virgin) was told by a friend before he left home, to just stick to Indonesian food and avoid the Western food….so we set him straight at the airport departure lounge – preparing him for a culinary experience…..don’t get me wrong, I absolutely love to eat nasi goreng and/or mie goreng for breakfast, that way I get my Indo food fix in early and that leaves me with plenty of options for lunch, dinner, supper……….each and every day. Selamat Makan.