Bali’s New Kids on the Block
March 2016 – Bali’s continued proliferation of new restaurants & bars amazed us on our recent trip to Bali in January 2016. In the 15 months since our previous visit, we had some “heavy lifting” to do on our short time schedule, to sample as many of these new (and “newish”) kids on the block as we could in the Seminyak/Petitenget area and in Ubud.
While many of the new places come from a pedigree of previously successful ventures such as Mamasan, La Lucciola, Ku de Ta and Mozaic, we also noticed a trend in new restaurants that have moved towards a contemporary presentation of traditional local & Indonesian flavours.
Here’s our list of what is worth checking out and the dishes that we enjoyed in Seminyak & Ubud:
Republik 45 – Modern Indonesian
Jalan Raya Kerobokan No.86A, Seminyak
Opened about 14 months ago, the unassuming entrance to Republik 45, on the now traffic jammed Jalan Raya Kerobokan, belies the chic soaring ceiling and atrium-style dining room beyond. Chef Ketut Udiana trained with Mozaic’s chef Chris Salans and presents his own modern interpretations of Balinese and Indonesian dishes.
- Lumpia Gunting – Vegetarian spring rolls
- Sate Ayam Madur – Grilled chicken skewers with peanut & sweet soya sauce
- Krapu Rica-Rica – Pan-seared roasted coral trout served with spiced signature sambal
- Terong Balado – Fried eggplant with tomato & chilli sauce
Saigon Street – Vietnamese
Jalan Petitenget No.77X, Seminyak
Opened in mid-2015, Saigon Street is the brainchild of Aki Kotzamichalis, one of the co-founders of Ku De Ta, with a menu of classic and regional Vietnamese dishes created by Executive Chef Geoff Lindsay of Melbourne’s Dandelion restaurant. The spring rolls weren’t quite as good as what we enjoy in Vietnam, but the other dishes were very authentic in flavour.
- Nem Ran – Crispy fried pork & prawn spring rolls
- Green Rice Fried Tiger Prawns
- Bun Cha – grilled pork and vermicelli noodle salad
- Lemongrass Chicken Curry
Tiger Palm – Malaysian
Seminyak Village, Jalan Kayu Jati No.8, Seminyak
Opened only 4 months ago in December 2015, most things that Will Meyrick and his Sarong Group of restaurants do are usually wildly successful. Tiger Palm is no exception. Although its location, at the entrance to Seminyak’s newest shopping “mall”, isn’t the most appealing spot, the Nonya and Peranakan inspired Malaysian cuisine certainly makes up for it. We went for lunch and absolutely loved the following dishes.
- Egg martabak with green chili curry sauce
- Crispy squid with Thai basil and chili jam
- Kandar beef rendang simmered in coconut milk
- Roti Canai & Biryani Rice
Bambu – Modern Indonesian
Jalan Petitenget No.198, Petitenget
From the team behind one of Seminyak’s most successful and oldest restaurants, La Lucciola, this is their fine dining Indonesian restaurant, Bambu. Although opened in 2014, this was the first opportunity we had to check out Bambu. The food is beautifully presented with a menu inspired by various parts of Indonesia in all of its spicy glory.
- Jamur Dangan Batok Kelapa Muda – Wok charred mushroom salad, wild ginger dressing
- Ayam Bakar Kecap Manis – Coriander marinated char grilled chicken skewers
- Perkedel Jagung – Sweet Corn Fritters
- Grilled Yellowfin Tuna
Hank’s Pizza & Liquor – Pizza & Drinks
Jalan Kayu Aya No.27, Seminyak
Opened in December 2014, Hank’s Pizza & Liquor is the “moonlighting” enterprise set up by Ben Cross, Executive Chef of Ku De Ta, and a few of his Australian and NZ chef friends. It’s a very relaxed rock’n’roll themed and soundtracked pizza joint that makes an excellent thin crust pizza, each named after rock’n’roll icons including Bowie, Dylan, Lennon, Hendrix, Sid and Morrison.
- Bowie – bocconcini, mozzarella, tomato passata, picked basil & olive oil
- Dylan – pork & fennel meatball, broccoli, caramelized onion, parmesan, roasted chili oil & lemon
Kilo Kitchen – International Fusion
Jalan Drupadi No.22, Seminyak
Opened in September 2014, this is the first overseas venture of Kilo Singapore’s uber-cool portfolio of lifestyle bar/restaurants. Located on Jalan Drupadi,, Kilo’s incredible minimalist architecture of concrete, marble, and glass creates an oasis of calm just a stone’s through from Seminyak’s main drag. Executive Chef Manel Valero’s menu is fusion of textures and flavours influenced from Southeast Asia, Italy, South America, Japan & Korea.
- Grilled Baby Corn Furkake – nori, bonito, sesame and chipotle mayo
- Cream of Ebiko Pasta – angel hair pasta with grilled tiger prawns and smelt roe
- Lamb Shank Rendang – with wing bean salad
- Pistachio Cake – parmesan custard, pineapple
Hujan Locale – Indonesian/South East Asian Archipelago
Jalan Sri Wedari No.5, Ubud
Another excellent restaurant within the Will Meyrick stables, Hujan Locale’s main food focus is traditional dishes from across the Indonesian Archipelago, but it also cooks up an amazing “long pizza” – I can never go past a good pizza. The menu embraces the “farm to plate” philosophy using the best of local ingredients sourced from local farmers. The restaurant has a cool, tropical, colonial charm about it, with tables on the second floor overlooking a beautiful Balinese compound and its family temple.
- Long Pizza – Hujan classic margherita pomodoro cherry tomato basil and parmesan
- Dutch Indonesian Salted Cod Kroket with Chill Mayo and Sambal
- Acehnese Prawn Curry with Potato, Curry Leafs, Coconut Milk and Turmeric Leaf
- Stir fried rice with green peas, asparagus and sweetcorn
Pesantian Warung & Villa – Balinese
Banjar Pesalakan, Desa Pejeng Kangin Ubud
Located a short 10 minute drive outside of Ubud, in the village of Pesalakan, is Pesantian Warung which was opened in July 2015. We have known Chef Santika for many years, during his time as Executive Chef at Alila Manggis in East Bali, and we were excited to find out that he had now opened his own villa accommodation, restaurant and cooking school. We left it to Santika to order for us and had one of the best traditional Balinese feasts of the trip. Well worth checking out for a lunch (call before heading out) or to do a private cooking class.
- Tempeh Manis
- Ayam Kari – Balinese Chicken Curry
- Babi Kecap – Braised pork in sweet soy
- Iga Bakar – Slow cooked Balinese pork ribs
- Urab Campur
Blanco par Mandif – Modern Indonesian
Jalan Raya Tjampuhan, Museum Blanco Complex
Following the success of his Teatro restaurant in Seminyak since 2012, Chef Mandif M Warokka, one of Bali’s most celebrated chefs, opened Blanco par Mandif on the grounds of Ubud’s famous Blanco Museum in 2015. Chef Mandif’s degustation menus offer a culinary journey of Michelin-inspired modern Indonesian cuisine with menus starting from around $AUD100, with a Cocktail Pairing option also available. It might not be for everyone, but if you like to be challenged with your dining, this is worth checking out, not only for the innovation & creativity of Chef Mandif’s creations, but also for the unique open kitchen experience and architecture of the restaurant.
Spices by Chris Salans – Indonesian Tapas
Jalan Raya Ubud No.23, Ubud
Opened in mid-2015, Chris Salans, of Ubud’s famous fine-dining restaurant Mozaic, has opened this relaxed, casual, all-day dining concept which is fantastic. The menu leans toward shared-plate dining with dishes that focus on seasonal Balinese & Indonesian ingredients and flavours. Definitely worth checking out!
- Steamed Vegetable Gyozas
- Tuna Tataki – with Sambal Kecicang and Tempe Crackers
- Slipper Lobster – with curry leaf butter and crispy tempe
- Tempura Prawns – with seasonal fruit Rujak
- Fried Kintamani Rice – with garlic and wagyu fat
Jalan Taman Ganesha No.9, Petitenget
Another new kid on the block when it comes to accommodation is Alila Seminyak, situated beachside between La Lucciola and Potato Head. Opened in mid-2015, the hotel is conveniently located to be able to walk to most of the restaurants that we visited above. We stayed in a Deluxe Ocean Suite room which literally sit overlooking the beach with uninterrupted views to the sea. I don’t think there are any other hotel rooms closer to the beach & sea anywhere along the Seminyak/Petitenget stretch, so if you are looking for privacy they might not be for you, but the Garden Suites might do.
Jalan Raya Pejeng Kawan, Pejeng 80571
Our Ubud accommodation – Villa Kalisat – is a “new” kid on the block as it’s new owners, Bene & Kim, took it over in mid-2015. Villa Kalisat, located a short 10 minute drive outside of Ubud, is a beautifully secluded oasis of calm perched on a hillside cliff overlooking rainforest, rice fields and the Petanu River gorge below. Each of its 7 rooms have been stunningly decorated by Bene, who has an amazing eye for design, homewares and objets d’art.
Bene was one of our first cooking school clients and when she told us about her new venture in Ubud, we couldn’t wait to visit it. As the villa is situated on the cliff, there are a number of steps to get to each of the rooms, so it may not be suited to anyone who might find stairs difficult. If you are looking for somewhere to chill out and relax for a few days, we can highly recommend staying at Villa Kalisat. Our room – the Waterfall Room – was situated furthest away from the restaurant/reception area, and was super relaxing and beautifully appointed.