Graze amazes me. For a café in front of a 5 Star hotel [Maya Sanur on Jln. Danau Tamblingan] it offers amazing value. In fact it is probably the best value on offer in that entire street. The menu is imaginative and high quality. Start with the Crostini Plate, 4 different toppings, all excellent. Then follow with my favourite lunch dish when I dine there, their Smoked Salmon Salad. The salmon arrives fresh from Tasmania [chilled, not frozen]. A baby potato salad sits on lettuce leaves, large chunks of the house smoked salmon are draped over that and sprinkled with sautéed capers [to make them crunchy], halves of boiled egg complete this so healthy dish [pictured]. They also offer a range of great breakfasts [perfectly poached eggs, a rarity anywhere], their burgers, seafood and meat dishes are all tasty, and most amazingly, budget priced.
Krakakoa is the latest Jakarta chocolatier to come to Bali. The others did not last the distance but this one is serious. Krakakoa presents a high quality range of chocolate products that are quite imaginative as well. Dark or Milk Chocolate, either 100% or blended. They also make drinking chocolate, try their Frozen Hot Coffee when you are at their Jln. Legian, Semoinyak store. A range of addictive chocolate treats include their Chocolate Bark, strips of crunchy dark chocolate with bread crumbs [focaccia or baguette] or milk chocolate with seeds and grains [pumpkin, sunflower, flax white and black sesame]. Then there are the flavoured chocolates, Dark with chilli or Cinnamon or Sea Salt & Pepper, Milk with ginger or coffee. All of their product is attractively packaged, so perfect for presents. But whatever you do, do not leave before buying a packet [or two or three] of Blinkies [clusters of roasted peanuts and salted caramel brittle coated with milk chocolate and dusted with cocoa powder]. It is impossible to stop eating them! Krakakoa already has their chocolate sold in Singapore and throughout Europe, even in the chocolate capital of the world, Belgium, so very serious!
Warung Pondok Madu, on little Jln Jetayu, off Tebesaya, Ubud, is one of those places that you notice because every time you go past it is full of happy eaters. Definitely local cuisine, but obviously with great value and taste. Their Pork Ribs are popular, as is the creamy Balinese Chicken Curry. They also offer many vegetarian and even Vegan dishes such as a red Cabbage and Avocado Salad. A hidden gem!
Five Monkeys is about to become a burger chain, so far just Jakarta and Seminyak [Jln. Basangkasa]. Their basic burger is just beef patty, onions, iceberg lettuce, tomato and their house sauce, in a soft bun. The Cheeseburger just adds a slice of cheese, Double Cheeseburger adds an extra patty and cheese slice whilst the BBQ Bacon Cheeseburger adds a slab of ‘beef’ bacon [why not real bacon, this is Bali!], onion rings and honey BBQ sauce. Also a Chicken Burger and a range of Hot Dogs. Something different, a Philly Cheese Steak, slices of grilled steak layered with bell peppers and onions in a piece of baguette, with cheese sauce.
Quintino’s is a brand of local coffee. Beans from all over Indonesia, roasted in Java, they say with an ‘Italian passion’. They not only have traditional ground coffee but they also offer Q-Bags, instant espresso. One of the first Bali Coffee Shops/Cafes is on Jln. Bypass Ngurah Rai at Jimbaran. They also serve breakfast [early morning only], their main menu is Italian based with pastas [fettuccine, tagliatelle, ravioli, tortellini, with a choice of sauces, lasagna and even a Smoked Turkey & Asparagus Risotto. Dessert is Crepes, strawberries and ice cream.
Clear Café is unique! Whilst it is no surprise to find many vegetarian options when dining in Ubud, most pure vegetarian restaurants that have opened there have failed. The major exception has been Clear Café, even after suffering an unfortunate fire that moved them to temporary premises whilst the original site was rebuilt on Jln. Hanoman. They present vegetarian dishes in a creative way. Soups can be the classic Miso or Tom Yum Goong or a Red Pepper Corn Chowder, or Indian Lentil. Small Plates can be Mushrooms [stuffed with feta, sun-dried tomato, parmesan, garlic and herbs], Summer Rolls [tofu or tiger prawns with mango, cucumber, red and green peppers, wrapped in rice paper] tamarind dipping sauce, or a Hummus Platter. Salads can be Goat Cheese, Ubud Thai [young papaya, tomato, crushed peanuts and a Thai style dressing]. Mains of Cajun Fish, Wraps and Burgers [Veggie or Fish], and a selection of dishes from around the world.
Akar Café is on Jln. Binaria, at Lovina Beach in Bali’s north. It is a vegetarian restaurant and offers many healthy options; falafel, vegan samosas, etc. Many small plates [tapas style] so a great relaxing spot for snacking. Open all day from breakfast onwards. Conveniently located near the dolphin statue. Some Indian dishes and excellent friendly service.
By Gerry Williams
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