Aperitif @ The Viceroy has only been open for a few weeks but it already has the gourmands of Bali flocking to it. The talents of Belgian Exec Chef Nick Vanderbeeken are on show as he presents a fine dining experience out of the ordinary. From the opening selection of canapés, delivered by the way of a canapé tree [pictured] to the following treats in their 8 course degustation menu, the surprises just keep on coming. None more so than the ‘Americain’. So called owing to the habit in Belgium to refer to what we know as Steak Tartare as Steak Americain [it is even served in sandwiches and baguettes, as a popular lunch time snack]. Chef’s version sees prime wagyu beef finely hand chopped in the kitchen and then combined with smoked paprika, black garlic, quail egg, turmeric, pickled cucumber and topped with a pumpkin ginger meringue. Whilst all the dishes are based on classic French cuisine they have little twists that offer added tastes, there is even a touch of Rendang in the Venison which is done in the English Wellington style, wrapped in pastry. An evening at Aperitif is one that is never to be forgotten.


Ramen Boy is small, air-con and open late. It is the ideal stopping spot on Sunset Road [travelling north between Jlns. Mertanadi and Kunti] and very popular with those who find themselves hungry after an evening at one of the local dance clubs. They offer many Ramen dishes. Ramen are Chinese style wheat noodles served in a broth with a variety of toppings. All are very budget-priced [less than Rp. 60,000], filling and tasty. On offer here the Ramens can be; Mabo [spiced tofu and minced meat], Shoyu [special broth with slices of confit pork and boiled egg], Negi [spring onion], Kakuni [kyrobuta pork belly], Tom Yum [prawns added in a Thai sour spicy broth], Miso [in that broth made from fermented soy beans] and the classic   Miso Chasiu [with extra pork confit]. Open from 9.00 a.m. every day Ramen Boy is a good stop for a quick snack, brunch or lunch. For me that means a plate of those Chinese-Japanese dumplings, Gyoza, pork stuffed, first steamed then pan-fried on one side just before serving. Similar, but different, are the Cuikiaw [Taiwanese version], also stuffed with minced pork and these can be ordered steamed or deep-fried, Potato Strips [actually curling scoops] are also a popular snack, particularly when accompanying a Bintang or two.


Fat Mermaid, strange name, strange place. It is one of the newbies in Canggu where a new place seems to open every week. It is a little hidden and out of the way on Jln. Nelayan. There is a large mural on the front wall of the two tier building and a colourful neon sign on the garden wall inside the restaurant. The double story building is funky on the outside and on the inside. It serves mostly basic western food, burgers, steaks, bowls etc. but very well done. It is an extremely friendly place, with the sometimes live music giving it a party atmosphere. It is perfect if you want to escape from the sometimes over-the-top veggie places that seem to be the craze around here. Hearty food but not old fashioned as traditional dishes are often given a modern twist.


Ryoshi is the first choice when it comes to basic Japanese cuisine. Think Japanese and you almost certainly think of Sushi and Sashimi, even though there are many other dishes in this unique cuisine, The critical factor with both of these dishes is that the fish must be FRESH, and the dish prepared ‘to order’ not hours, or even days, before and refrigerated. With the constant turnover of seafood required by this group [8 restaurants, Ubud, Sanur, Kuta, Tuban and their HQ in Seminyak] the product here is always fresh. At Ryoshi the offerings are of unbelievable value, my favourite is the Pisang combo, 12 pieces of sushi [the maki roll is cut into three which makes 14 in my book]. It always tastes best fresh! At Ryoshi you can sit and watch it being made. It arrives accompanied by a small dish, a lump of wasabi [often referred to as Japanese horseradish but tasting more like a hot mustard] on its side, and a little pile of gari [sweet thinly sliced young ginger] on the edge of the sushi board. Tip some soy [always on the table in a small jug] and some of the wasabi in, to your taste! Place a complete sushi in the soy/wasabi mix so it can soak into the rice base [that is not the Japanese way of eating it, but mine], then with chopsticks, or even fingers if you must, eat and savour the exquisite taste. Follow with a small slice of the gari, and a sip of whatever you are drinking. My kind of lunch! Ryoshi has a number of different combination boards of sushi and sashimi [raw fish] or a combo of both. Other raw fish specials include their Tataki which is a Japanese salad of raw fish, a Tuna Carpaccio or Aji Tataki, a type of mackerel tartar. Chirashi Sushi is a bowl of various raw fish draped over sushi rice. Then at night the rooftop at Ryoshi Seminyak becomes Bali’s leading Jazz Club.


The Melting Pot, on Jln. Pengsekan, Ubud, is much more than just a sports bar [though one of Bali’s best], it is also Bali’s No.1 Texan restaurant. That description includes a few different cuisines, just all of those dishes that are popular in Texas such as the famous Gumbo from Louisiana. A spicy stew of chicken chunks and slices of pork sausage combined with okra [from where it gets it name from the Bantu language], celery and scallions. It is served in a bowl with slices of garlic bread. It leaves a warming taste that stays with you for hours, I love it! New additions to their menu are the very popular Sliders [mini hamburgers]. Hot Link Sliders are a coil of small linked pork sausages, smothered with caramelized onions and a dab of Dijon mustard in a mini poppy seed hamburger bun. The Steak Sandwich Slider is very different, a fold of steak [40gm] with caramelized onions and mozzarella cheese. There is just one danger, eat one of these and you will immediately order another one!


Gerry Williams

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