Bali Eats

Dapur Raja is Ubud’s latest newcomer and no it is not yet another International café! This time a true traditional special, worthy of its place. The Rijsttafel was an invention of the colonial Dutch to showcase the varied tastes of Indonesia. At Dapur Raja this concept is used to showcase the varied tastes of Bali, so a pure Balinese ‘rice table’. Located in the lower section of Jln. Goutomo [the Taksu end just before Jln. Dewi Sita, directly opposite from The Golden Monkey]. Dapur Raja only serves a Balinese Rijsttafel in a very traditional ‘Royal’ setting. There are two menus to select from, both consisting of 11 small individual courses. Four dishes appear on both the Vegetarian and the Non-Vegetarian menus; Sop Kelor, moringa soup with grilled coconut, and the Nasi Kuning Bira, turmeric rice with vegetables, as well as the two desserts. Other NV dishes include Tempe & Tahu Manis [tofu and soya bean in sweet soy], Ikan Pepes [steamed minced fish in banana leaf], Iga Babi [pork ribs], Babi Guling [suckling pig] and Bebek Betutu [smoked duck]. Finish with Bubur Injin [black rice pudding with coconut cream and jackfruit] and Dadar Gulung [pancakes filled with shredded coconut and palm sugar]. A meal fit for a Balinese king!


Fishbone Local is under the same management as Mason, and found on the same road [Jln. Batu Bolong] in Canggu, just further down towards the beach. Not surprisingly it has the same open air design, almost like a high-ceilinged warehouse. The concept is to offer local seafood products but produced out of a modern kitchen rather than the local beach BBQ’s so popular in Bali. There is a price to pay of course but the end result makes it all worth while. Seafood is on almost every menu in Bali yet quality specialty seafood restaurants are rare, and the few that do exist usually source their product from everywhere in the world, both fresh catch and farmed. Not so Fishbone as they attempt to present purely local catch via the best kitchen techniques. Old favourites such as Fish & Chips are included on the menu [beer-battered of course, with tartare] as well as more modern offerings; Blue Swimmer Crab with linguine, Rare Seared Tuna Loin with chimichurri and lime, Steamed Grouper Fillets with mushroom, soy and burnt cabbage and Black Cod cooked over embers with chilli paste and kaffir lime. As at Mason there are many small plates as well, good for snacking and sipping; Prawn Toast with chilli and sesame and the wild Lobster and Chicken Dumplings with black vinegar and chilli.


Balkan Grill is on Jln Kunti, Seminyak, and whilst it does have a Meat Platter [for two] the menu is mostly more International than you would expect. No Cevapcici [Balkan sausages] etc. Rather Schnitzels, Greek Moussaka, Goulash, Ribs etc. Though they do also serve the Serbian Sarma [stuffed cabbage]. Turkish Pide and Pizzas are also available, an all-round International menu.


Simply Social is the latest weird-name restaurant to open in Bali, and yet another International café style one with supposedly ‘something for everyone’ [a new ones seems to open almost every week in Ubud, as they also do in Canggu]. Located on the main drag, Raya Ubud, it is a large open space just along from the market. Breakfast from 7.00 [all the usual egg options plus Dragon Bowls, Chia Puddings and a more interesting Braised Chorizo, a sliced chorizo with tomato and mushroom, served with baked chive and cheddar eggs, coriander, chilli, salsa and shallots]. During the day a whole range of soups [chilled watermelon and almond gazpacho], snacks, salads [crispy pork and prawn], sandwiches [smoked chicken and cheese], local rice and noodle dishes, and a hotpotch from the world; tandoori, burgers, laksa, steaks and curries.


Warung Ping Pink has replaced Liebeling on Jln. Kunti II, Seminyak. This new café offers traditional local food with a smattering of international dishes. The location is a bit out of the way but is a relaxing setting with rice paddi views, almost rare these days.


Samik is new on Raya Seminyak [corner of Jln. Plawa]. It has replaced the café which had possibly the worst name in Bali, Road Kill. It is self-styled as an Eating House and Bar, and very Mod Oz cafes style with a touch of MidEast, the Mediterranean and North Africa and an Aussie chef. Zucchini Flowers stuffed with smoked feta, pistachio pesto and black garlic, The Falafel Wrap consists of lettuce, cauliflower, tomato and hummus, the Burgers include a Quinoa Burger. Off the charcoal grill are many options; seafood, lamb, steak, chicken. There is a touch of OZ with their Spiced Beef Meat Balls, otherwise known as Rissoles in Australia. Top of the range is the slow cooked [overnight] Lamb Roast that is served with pickled cabbage, semi-dried tomatoes and a herbed cucumber yoghurt. It is just enough different from the rest to make it interesting!


By Gerry Williams

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