August 30, 2017

Cosmic Diners are American-style diners and are found in Sanur [Jln. ByPass Ngurrah Rai, southern end], Tuban [Lippo Mall, Jl. Kartika Plaza] and at the original site on Sunset Road. They have many interesting dishes that are unique to them, some of which have a touch of Asian added to the base American diner menu. The latest is the great budget priced Rice Bowls. There are three of them, each a bowl of steamed rice with a variety of toppings. The Black Pepper Beef is shredded meat stir-fried in black pepper sauce topped with shavings of crisp onion. Pork Belly, double cooked in soy is another, sharing the bowl with a fried egg and sautéed corn kernels [pictured]. Both are excellent but the Chicken version was perfect! The chicken, as fish, so often overcooked in Bali, was tender and moist. The use of chicken thighs instead of the more common breast provided more taste, a light infusion with teriyaki sauce just right, with broccoli and carrots sprinkled with garlic chips. Great simple dishes! At the new Sanur location the train inside the restaurant proper [a replica of a classic train carriage] is proving to be a very popular meeting place and has already been the setting for thousands of photographs on social media…..see you @ The Cosmic Train!


Habitat on Monkey Forest Road, Ubud, at the Padang Tegal end and directly opposite the giant new car park for the Monkey Forest, keeps on introducing new and tempting dishes. For breakfast there is the Duo Avocado on Toast. The execution of this dish begins with a slice of very healthy rye bread, split down the middle. Both of the halves have a base of smashed avocado spread on them, one is topped with a tomato salsa, lemon cured salmon and feta cheese. The other half has a poached egg and hollandaise sauce on top, with grilled tomato and sautéed spinach is on the side. Another unique dish, and available all day, is the Pho-Ritto. Combining two of the most popular dishes from the Vietnamese and Mexican cuisines thinly sliced beef is cooked in a Pho broth. This is added to rice noodles, cilantro, a dash of hoisin sauce and a dab of sriratcha mayonnaise, bean sprouts, sautéed capsicum and onion, all rolled in a tortilla wrap. On the side pickled vegetables in a green salad. Healthy food that tastes great!


Stiff Chilli on the beach at Semawang, south of Sanur is one of Sanur’s best budget-priced restaurants, and that is without factoring in the pleasant cooling sea breeze. Interesting pasta combinations include Prawn and Chorizo Linguini, with large prawns, chorizo, Lombok chilli, paprika, fresh tomato garlic and lime, or Tagliolini all’inchiostro, squid ink pasta with smoked marlin cream sauce. Even the pasta with meat is a cheap eat:  Agnolotti Pollo Funghi, chicken and mushroom filled pasta, with a mushroom, thyme, garlic cream sauce. Seafood and meat dishes as well; a Bintang battered Mahi Mahi or Gamberone alla Griglia, prawns grilled with garlic parsley and lime served with salad and chips. Then there is the always popular Sicilian “Bangers and Mash”,  2 large tomato and onion beef sausages on a bed of mashed potato, topped with an Italian salsa of tomato, onion, garlic, chilli and olives. Great Value!


La Mien is one of the many budget-priced eateries on Jln. Goutomo, in Ubud [a walkway that has proved to be so popular that the banjar is about to resurface it with paving stones]. La Mien is one of the best. It is operated by the Ryoshi Group, enough said! Ramen noodles are the main attraction. They are available in a selection of build-yourself options [a small bowl of noodles, add your broth of choice and then your topping]. Normal size traditional portions are also available from the a la carte menu [topped with slices of pork confit] as well as many other standard dishes from the popular Ramen Boy outlet on Sunset Road [another great cheap eatery]. These include starters Sesame Chicken & Cold Noodle Salad, Siu Mai, Zangi and Katsu Curry. There is also a special Curry Udon [chicken or beef], those popular Gyoza [pork or vegetarian], Hiyashi Chuka, and Chicken or Beef Terriyaki. Another feature here is the special ‘Japanese Vodka’. It is made at Ryoshi’s Karang Asem distillery. Two styles are served. Chu Hai is the neat spirit with a range of fruit juices added [cranberry. apple, pomegranate, etc.], whilst Sho-Chu has been infused with tea [Early Grey, Jasmine or Shenlong] or Luwak Coffee. At Rp. 25,000++ a glass both are very popular with the Japanese diners, and all others.


Thai-Indo is on Jln Dewi Sri, Legian, which is the street that now houses quite a range of cheap eateries. This one could be best described as Thai-style; Thai cuisine as seen by an Indonesian. However, whilst the serves are quite small [the steamed rice being the most filling part] the taste is good and no one could complain about the low price. As with many non-Thai restaurants in Indonesia there is a Tom Yum soup. The Som Tam [using papaya or young mango], Chicken Pandan [chicken pieces wrapped in pandan leaves] and Yam Woon Sen [cold noodles and seafood, slightly sour] are more Thai. There is Phat Phet Kai, chicken cooked with basil, a fried egg on top, but pieces of chicken not minced as in Kra Pao. Traditional red and green curries are on the menu as is the universal Chicken and Cashew. The chilli content is very limited so ask for it spicy if you want to feel it. Finish with Mango and sticky rice.


Sate House is also found on Dewi Sri [next door to Thai-Indo, which is next to The White House]. Not surprisingly it specialises in Sate, and more varieties than I have ever seen before. Chicken, Prawn, Duck, Tempe, Squid, Beef and Minced Fish [Lilit] are common but goat and quail eggs are more unusual. They also offer a range of basic Indonesian dishes; Gado-Gado, Nasi Goreng, BBQ Beef Short Ribs, etc.


Cheap Eats are still available in Bali. Even though the prices on many menus keep on increasing there are still many bargains to be found. All the dishes featured in this edition of the column are available at less than Rp.100,000 and that includes all taxes and service charge, some of the dishes mentioned are only half that price.


Gerry Williams

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