Cooking with fire!

Barbacoa cooks with fire, charcoal and smoke! It has no connection to the ill-fated Jamie Oliver London restaurant of the same name, although the chef once cooked there.

Cooking with fire is an ancient Latin American method. It is surprising that in the days of advanced technology restaurant kitchens, worldwide, are continually returning to the original methods of cooking, re-introducing that elemental flavour that a naked flame gives to food.

“Fire allowed [us] to unlock the nutrients, sugars, fats and never-before-seen flavours too,” says chef Lennox Hastie of Sydney’s Firedoor, a restaurant that cooks with no electricity. “What fire does to ingredients can’t be replicated by other cooking techniques.”

Gathering for an Aussie barbecue isn’t far removed from what our earliest ancestors did. “The ritual of cooking over fire is one of the most human things you can do,” Hastie says. Barbacoa is sited in a large warehouse type of building with a high roof, very spacious. It seems fitting for the cooking style, which combines standard International fare with a South American touch.

One or more of the excellent ‘street food style’ Tacos are a must to start [pictured]. They can be filled with Braised Beef [pico de gallo salsa], Shredded Pork [pickled red onion, caramelized pineapple], Chicken [spicy jalapeno chutney] or Fish [cabbage, chipotle mayo, mango salsa]. Equally interesting are the Empanaditas [chicken, prawn or vegetable]. Small pastry sachets stuffed with taste, popular all over South America. A dish you can almost make a meal of, so good.

The grilled bread is worth ordering although I am always put off when it is an extra on the menu rather than coming automatically. Here it is worth the price.

More substantial starters are the Pan Seared Scallops which are served with a spicy green pea puree, cheese sauce and that classic, Jamon Serrano. Quesadillas are done with a difference, stuffed with shredded pork, pickled onions and mozzarella]. Some returning customers just come for the Grilled Provoleta Cheese with Jamon Serrano, a foodie special.

An excellent between course snack is the Ceviche, a standard from the fishing villages of Peru, clean and fresh!

Now to the mains and the reason for coming here, the highlight of which is the 8 hour Asado Pork, closely followed by the Pork Spare Ribs. Lovers of perfectly roasted pork will be delighted. Beef options are Wagyu, sirloin and charcoal grilled, served in different sized portions to suit.

Other wood-fired offerings include Lamb Cutlets [mint sauce], Chicken Thighs [lemon and paprika] or Whole Chicken [Mexican rub with parsley and lemon]. Seafood can be Octopus or prawns. A simple alternative is Grilled Chorizos with red pepper jam.

There are many sides and salads. The Burnt Carrots with lemon bring the taste of fire to the table, the Spanish style Potatoes [with paprika and garlic aioli] and an unusual and tasty Cabbage Gratin [Gruyere cheese, cream and white wine] make contrasting side dishes whilst I particularly liked the salad of Pickled Beets [quinoa, raisins, yoghurt, pumpkin seeds, walnuts, shaved fennel, and apple in a lime dressing].

To finish, the Dessert Tasting Plate is the perfect ending to a fine night’s dining.



Restaurant                     : Barbacoa.

Address                          : Jln. Raya Petitenget, Petitenget.

Telephone                      : 728.233

Open                               : Lunch, all day Tapas and dinner.

Non-Smoking Area      : Yes.

Smoking Area                : Yes, outdoor setting.

Parking                           : Small secure area.

Price                                : Rp. 900,000 for two [+ drinks]

Credit Cards                  : All major cards.

Food                                : Cooking with fire.

Wine                               : Good list.

Service                           : Attentive.

Atmosphere                  : Dining in a loft.

Overall                           : Quite an experience.


Reviews that appear in Bali Advertiser are based on actual visits to the establishments listed, without the knowledge of the restaurants, and are not paid for by the individual restaurants.

Opinions expressed here are those of Gerry Williams and not necessarily those of Bali Advertiser. Gerry Williams attempts to write from a ‘typical’ diner’s perspective   and, whilst quality of food is the most important criteria overall, value for money is the real measuring stick.

Copyright © 2019 Gerry Williams