After watching the latest season of Masterchef Australia, my appreciation and admiration for the people who create culinary masterpieces totally skyrocketed. I was dying to experience a meal that took food to another level. During my research before our Bali trip I found many places with interesting and creative menu’s so I made sure to bookmark a few of them. Finally we landed in Bali, and discovered more than just curry and rice. There is a thriving boutique cafe culture specially in the tourist hot spots of Seminyak and Nusa Dua. The streets of Canngu and Seminyak are packed with quaint little restaurants and cafes serving everything from Greek food to tapas and all day breakfasts. Nusa Dua is known for their beach clubs and specialty restaurants.
I bookmarked a few way before I set foot on Indonesian soil, so lets see how they turned out:
1.Gardin Bistro and Patisserie:
Jalan Petitenget No.106, Seminyak, Kuta, Kabupaten Badung, Bali, Indonesia
When I entered Gardin, all the memories of my childhood reading Enid Blyton came rushing back to me. It was as if I had stepped into The Enchanted Forest itself. The leafy canopied archway lead us onwards. As we stepped through the heavy wooden doors, I had a feeling that what’s beyond would be nothing short of magic. There was a huge stained glass window with comfy couches in the lounge where a rustic wooden chandelier set the tone. Medieval crystal stars were suspended above on the patio, and there was high tea being served in the solarium. We celebrated my nephew’s 1st birthday here and it was unforgettable. It definitely made for some fabulous pictures! The food was plated well though we found the chicken a tad under cooked. All the drinks were delicious and they even had a great selection for kids food.
It’s quite expensive so I would suggest keeping this one for a special date.
2. The Pirates Bay in Nusa Dua.
The Bay Bali ITDC Area Lot C-0, Nusa Dua, Kuta Selatan, Kabupaten Badung, Bali, Indonesia
Arr me hearties, land ahoy!!
I’m lookin’ at you scalliwags! Put on your eye patches and lets board this pirate ship. If your kids love pirates as much as mine does, then you must take them to The Pirates Bay in Nusa Dua. Trust me, I too felt like a pirate at this sandy beach cafe!! We hunted for it along the beach, and caught sight of the ship just outside ‘The Bay’ Hotel. It’s on a little height above the water so you can sit on the ship and plot your pirate crew’s plunder while you eat their awesome fish and chips. They too have a kids menu and the portions are quite generous. It’s an outdoor restaurant but you can sit on the ship, in the tree houses or at the tented tables on the sand. Come sunset, and they light up the bonfire so the little pirates can swap stories and dig into their fries as they sit around the fire. This was my daughter’s favorite restaurant in Bali and she just didn’t want to leave. Its safe enough that kids can run around, explore and play in their large sandy garden.
3.The Plantation restaurant
Double-Six Luxury Hotel Seminyak 4th floor, Jl. Double Six No. 66, Legian, Seminyak, Kuta, Double-Six Luxury Hotel, Kabupaten Badung, Bali, Indonesia
Get flapping at this posh 1920’s style den. Perfect for a hot date night where you step back in time to the 1920’s glam era. Dine in elegant opulence at The Plantation restaurant. Remember to pack your stilettos and jewels because you wont wanna miss out on a selfie at this gorgeous place. Double Six Hotel is the hottest place in Seminyak, and their restaurant is no less. Expensive, opulent and grand, its perfect to celebrate your anniversary or honeymoon here.
4. The Golden Lotus
Jl. Kartika Plaza, Kuta, Bali, Indonesia
On a holiday you will want a ton of food to eat, but sum-times dim sum-thing different but yet familiar is called for. If whatever you read between the lines made sense and found your mouth watering, head on down to The Golden Lotus to go crazy on an all you can eat Cantonese dumpling buffet. With an endless supply of fried, roasted, strange, decorated, crispy, crunchy dim-sums in a whole variety of meats and vegetables spread out before you. If you are a bit adventurous or have seen one too many Chinese flicks, you can go in for the Suckling Pig and the famous Peking Duck. If the very thought of a mother load of dim-sums in every shape size and meat appeals to you at a primal level, The Golden Lotus is a must visit.
5. What the Truck!
Outside Courtyard by Marriott, No 103 SP Dhyana Pura, Jl. Camplung Tanduk, Seminyak, Indonesia
An energetic and fun evening at Pantai beach, Seminyak left us ravenous.
All that splashing around, running about and having fun on Pantai (somewhat pronounced as Panty with a European flair) Beach in Seminyak is enough to make you hungry. Thankfully a little ways up the beach road was a gleaming ray of hope in the form of a food truck. What The Truck! was on our to do list and we were pleasantly surprised when we came across it. The hero dish was a Beef Taco bursting with flavor. Combining the traditional Beef Rendang in a Mexican taco. The meat was tender with the strong taste of lemongrass with hints of other spices we could not identify, but we loved anyway. In fact the Rendang was a lot better than the normal dish we ate at several places. Just drizzle some of the chilly onions on it for that spice punch and a bit of sour cream to add that sombrero to the taco and you have an insta-food coma. Paired with the crisp passion fruit mohito, that was the best meal we had tasted in Bali till then. So much so, that we packed up a couple of take away boxed for the folks back in the villa too. They have chicken and pork, but they were not as good as the beef. At just IDR 45000 for 2 taco’s this is complete value for money. You will find What the Truck! outside Courtyard Mariott and they’re open from 8Am to 8pm everyday.
6. The Coffee Library
Jalan Kayu Aya No.50, Kuta, Kabupaten Badung, Bali, Indonesia
Eggs Benny with Bacon on sourdough bread at the Coffee Library
Free breakfasts are always good, but after the second day you normally get bored with it, but keep trudging on because it’s, well, free. We strongly suggest you resist for one day and make your way to a tiny hole in the wall called The Coffee Library. A place you will probably miss if you were not looking for it or you will stumble upon by chance, then never find it again. With artisan breakfasts that look great and taste even better, fresh juice served in glass beakers and delicious fluffy pancakes with homemade vanilla ice-cream. The Eggs Benedict was perfectly cooked with the yellow flowing down on to crispy bacon, placed on a piece of sourdough toast with avocado butter. The Omelette was neatly rolled up with a center filling of bell peppers, ham and other goodies. Only when our mouths were stuffed full and our stomachs singing did we notice the superb decor bursting with pop culture personality. We washed all that egg down with beautifully smooth Balinese coffee, which had bitter notes and was pretty strong. It’s the details that we loved, like the little timer that came with the coffee press and the thoughtful wooden plates.
Jl. Raya Seminyak No.17, Seminyak, Kuta, Badung, Bali, Indonesia
Reminiscent of a Japanese garden, Ryoshi’s decor makes you feel like you’re visiting a friend’s home in Japan itself. As we sat cross-legged on those tatami mats, we chatted away in the warm lighting of this laid back restaurant. We also heard stories from local friends who said that Ryoshi was their first memory of Bali when they arrived about 15 years ago. One of the oldest restaurants in Seminyak, the quality has remained, and keeps everyone coming back time after time. I was the only adventurous one who went straight for the sushi. It was fresh and the wasabi was electrifying. The most interesting dish though, was the Teriyaki beef burger. It sounds normal enough, but when it arrived, we saw that it was a huge beef patty with sauce glistening on it by a side of finely chopped cabbage salad. There was no bun! As you can see everyone dug into this delicious looking dish the very second it was served. Best Burger Ever. We all ordered a round of that immediately. Another fantastic dish was the ‘Cheese age’ pronounced ‘cheese aggay’. These skewers of molten gooey mozzarella cheese nestled inside a crispy crumb crust are a must have. Paired with some soothing Japanese green tea, this was just the warm and fuzzy experience we were looking for that evening.
8. Deus Ex Machina: Temple of Enthusiasm
Jalan Batu Mejan 8 – Canggu Bali 80361, Indonesia
Motorcycles and fine dining.. I never thought I’d ever put those two in a single sentence. Then I found Deus ex Machina: The Temple of Enthusiasm. Along the quiet back roads of Canngu village, a motorcycle is heard revving up. Far across the paddy fields you need to pass to reach ‘The Temple’ or ‘Gods restaurant’ if you know latin. Posters and pop art adorn the walls, handmade surf boards are stacked at the side, gleaming motorbikes in varying states of undress lounge around and you cant help but gaze in wonder at this strange yet fascinating ‘temple’ you’ve stepped into. You can stroll around and peek into a different world as you munch on your taco’s and fusion sushi. They strip down and re-create these magnificent machines with as much passion as they put into their food. A famous Indonesian chef and food mechanic have designed the menu. The combination is as quirky and unexpected as the place itself, you’ll definitely want to come back for more.
9. Rock Bar at Ayana
Ayana Resort, Jl. Karang Mas Sejahtera, Jimbaran, Badung, Bali, Indonesia
Certainly one of Bali’s most photogenic spots at sunset, Rock Bar has literally carved a niche for itself out of the cliff face at Jimbaran. Its part of the AYANA resort so it is pricey, classy and there’s always a long queue to get in. But once you do, you’ll agree its unquestionably the most breathtaking vista you’ll see in Bali. Hanging off the cliff, the ocean spray crashing and splashing meters below, with great music and an excellent selection of cocktails, you’ll believe you are in paradise as the sun goes down. A must visit on your last night in Bali to end your trip on a high note.. Literally!