Bali Eats

The Melting Pot, Bali’s largest and best sports bar and Texan restaurant, continues its festive season habit of producing batches of that doyen of Mexican street food, Tamales. They are served as a single tamale [pictured] or as a Tamale Platter [3 tamales, beans and rice] but they will only be available for a short time.. Tamales are a corn masa pastry stuffed with a mix of spiced shredded pork shoulder. They are cooked in a corn husk which you remove before eating. They are a Mexican Christmas treat and are rarely found in Bali restaurants due to their time consuming preparation method. Melting Pot also makes a great Texan Gumbo [chicken and sausage casserole], available all year round.


Kasava is on Jln, Ayu Cendana, Kerobokan, although it pretends to be in Seminyak as many do in this area [?]. It is in front of the Royal Samaja Villas, and attractively set up. The menu is designed for snacking, full or light meals. The snack menu includes many standards; chicken wings, onion rings and quesadillas, but also a few items that are out of the ordinary. For those with zero diet worries there are plates of French Fries topped with bolognese sauce and mozzarella. Or you can have the more healthy Sweet Potato Wedges sprinkled with rosemary, a honey mustard dip on the side. The all day menu features chicken; Shwarma, Burritos and Burgers. Soups and salads are many and include yet anther strange version of that Thai Beef Salad plus Pumpkin/Feta, Avocado and a Japanese Horenzo Salad [Japanese spinach, raw champignon, fresh green apple, topped with katsuobushi & nori, served with honey mustard dressing]. The mains, a mix of Asian and International are all reasonably priced.


Johnny Tacos is a simple name and simple tacos [mostly of the fresh variety, rather than deep fried] is what you get. A small space close to the Green Garden Hotel, Jln. Kartika Plaza, it is easy to miss even though it has a very colorful décor. Always busy which tells its own story! A few other Mex dishes but it is the tacos that they all come for [with a wide variety of fillings].


Kou Dim Sum on Jln. Raya Puputan, Renon is Indo-Chinese [zero alcohol] with a variety of dim sum, bak pao, wontons, etc. There is only a limited menu for standard ‘Chinese’ mains. But still packs them in.


Bittersweet is new and impressive in central Ubud [Jln. Monkey Forest]. An international chef is rare in this area and the menu reflects it. Salads can be Pear & Rucola [with pomelo, radish, strawberries and toasted almonds added], or a Green Mango, not of the Thai variety as it has greens added to the shredded young green mango, topped with crushed cashews but still with a spicy dressing. There is an Ahi Tuna Poke Bowl, the marinated Tuna Poke is topped with sesame seeds, a mangi ginger soy dressing served on the side. Pasta includes a Pumpkin Ravioli in a classic sage butter and a Portobello Mushroom Fettuccine. Breakfasts are almost all day [till 3.00 p.m.] and include the standard Benedicts and Omelettes plus one very healthy option of smashed avocado and cured salmon on sourdough sprinkled with fresh dill or a Dragon Bowl Smoothie [dragon fruit juice, banana and mint with chia seeds] served in a hollowed out coconut. Mains can be seafood [tuna, butterfish, salmon] or meat [grilled chicken or stir-fried beef strips with onions and tomato]. They also have daily specials, sometimes a Duck Breast with caramelized pear or Grilled Duck Leg.


Maybe Tony almost gets it right. Breakfast [brunch] is served till 5.00 p.m., almost all day. This is an almost new café/restaurant on Jln. Legian, Kuta [opposite Sky Garden]. It is small, intimate and very friendly. Their Italian chef turns quality product out of the kitchen, not just the Italian basics, even the burgers are good. A bit better than what you expect to find in this area.


Seasoned, Jln. Pengosekan, adds to the new restaurants that seem to be opening, on an almost daily basis, in the Ubud area. Although this one is not entirely new as it replaces what once was Yasmin. Styled as local and healthy the menu concentrates on rice dishes. Balinese is a red rice Nasi Goreng [green beans, fried egg and kecap manis] or there is a ‘traditional’ Chinese Fried Rice [peas, carrots, ginger, soy], Indian Basmati rice [tika masala with chickpeas and peppers], Thai Green Curry with Jasmine rice or Spanish Aborio rice [more commonly known as Italian] paella style, smoked paprika, saffron and chilli. Prices are very low and chicken or prawns can be added to any of the rice dishes.


Olive continues the recent trend of interesting restaurants opening on the outlying areas around Ubud. This one is quite unusual as it offers Lebanese cuisine. Olive is located in the village of Petulu, north of Andong, Ubud [Jln. Tirta Tawar]. A small place with its home made dips [hummus, baba ganoush], salads [tabbouleh, fattoush] and snacks [falafel sandwich], plus there is always a Chef’s Special Main of the day.


By Gerry Williams

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