Bittersweet is different! Jalan Monkey Forest in Ubud is always a busy frenetic rush, full of noise and chaos. Stop at Bittersweet and enter another world. An European style café, chandeliers and all. The décor is so different it is almost strange. A section of small booth tables for lone diners, another area of normal tables, a flower shop, handicrafts and a clothing store, all in one.
It is not the first clothing store to also include a café. I remember being taken to Serendipity’s in New York in the 70’s to try their famous Pecan Pie, a small café area hidden behind clothing racks, with a huddled unshaven Robert Redford and his wife Joanne Woodward at a corner table [evidently their ‘brownstone’ was just across the road]. No sight of any such celebrities at Bittersweet but it is that sort of place where such happenings would not surprise.
The menu is varied, mostly café-style International, with an American-Japanese touch, an open kitchen at the rear. Breakfast is almost all day, till 3.00 anyway. As almost always in Bali, an Egg Benedict tops the list, closely followed by the house special; Sourdough Toast topped with house-cured salmon, smashed avocado and fresh dill, so healthy and tasty! The Vegetarian Omelette is topped with feta cheese and sun-dried tomatoes [add that cured salmon as well, if you wish]. As well, all the usual egg breakfast dishes.
Pancakes of course, the Blueberry Pancakes with strawberry compote is the pick of the bunch. The Dragon Fruit Smoothie is served in a coconut shell, the dragon fruit combined with banana and mint, topped with raisins, cashews and chia seeds.
The healthy options continue with a range of salads. The Pear & Rucola includes pomelo, radish, strawberries and almonds, served with sourdough toast. The Green Mango Salad is non Thai style, shredded with jicama [a Mexican root plant that provides super high soluble fibre] and pomelo, topped with crushed cashews and a slightly spicy vinaigrette.
Poke is a Hawaiian tradition. It just means ‘sliced’ and usually refers to fresh Tuna. The Ahi Tuna Poke at Bittersweet is close to the Hawaiian original, just slices off marinated tuna with red radish and cherry tomatoes, topped with sesame seeds, and drizzled with a dressing of mango, ginger and soy.
There are a few pasta dishes, I was attracted to the Pumpkin Ravioli in sage butter but found it a bit disappointing, the pasta being too thick and doughy, although the taste was still good. Perhaps I should have had the Portobello Mushroom Fettuccini?
Seafood mains include Seared Tuna and pan fried Butterfish and Salmon. The Butterfish strangely arrived as three escalopes, though whilst crisp on the outside the inner flesh was flaky and perfect.
Other mains can be Chicken, grilled or in a red curry Thai style, or Asian style Beef Strips, with onion and tomato.
Bittersweet also has daily specials. They may include such dishes as a Beetroot and Gorgonzola Salad, Duck Breast with caramelized pear or a Grilled Duck Leg.
They also have a range of teas and coffees, some standard some unusual such as the ‘Spicy’ Cappuccino, with cinnamon and caramelized orange peel. There are many different cakes, cheesecakes and pastries for that mid afternoon coffee and snack.
Don’t be put off by the mish mash of different offerings in this space, the café section is definitely worth a visit, an oasis from the madding crowd.
Restaurant : Bittersweet.
Address : Jln. Monkey Forest, Ubud.
Telephone : 908.3983.
Open : Breakfast, lunch and dinner.
Non-smoking Area : All inside.
Smoking Area : No.
Parking : A small area off-road at front.
Price : Rp. 300,000 for two [+ drinks].
Credit Cards : All major.
Food : International.
Wine : Limited.
Service : Friendly.
Atmosphere : European café.
Overall : A pleasant escape from the bustle of Monkey Forest Road.
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