So as I have mentioned, I didn’t do anything on my holiday in Bali except make sure that the places we went to for breakfast, lunch and dinner were excellent. That goal was achieved.
At the hotel we stayed at in Sanur, the traditional ‘mid range hotel included breakfast’ was on offer. Sweet white bread, a sad looking omelette, some super salty mie goreng and some fried bananas. That was the only culinary lowlight of the trip.
So here’s the other places we visited that were great in Bali (Seminyak, Ubud, Sanur).
1. Revolver Espresso, Seminyak
Perfect place to curl up in a corner with a coffee and a book (I was reading Indonesia Etc, I wrote a quick review over here. I also read Purple Hibiscus by Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie, another excellent book from one of my favourite authors) or to catch up on emails with the free WiFi. Revolver bills itself as a coffee specialist, and the coffee was really good. I also got breakfast here twice and it was affordable and yum (I had the ‘Bang Bang’ fruit, yoghurt and granola one day and the ‘AK 47’ eggs with salsa on sourdough another day). The small space fills up pretty quickly around ‘people on holiday breakfast time’ i.e. 10-11am, so I’d recommend getting here a bit earlier, which is what I did. They also have another small shop around the Petitinget/Batu Belig area.
2. Petitenget, Seminyak
I’ve been here before, and it is still great for a high quality, good value, relaxed European lunch.
3. Seniman Coffee Studio, Ubud
We came here for a quick coffee and breakfast after arriving in Ubud. Our driver for the day was challenging to say the least (he disappeared halfway through the day as we went for a walk around the block and ‘didn’t tell him’ and my sister and I were actually relieved, even though it put us out of pocket! He also made romantic advances on me, and when they were rebuffed, decided to try them out on sister… super awkward and tiring, and disingenuous, when I wasn’t feeling energetic anyway. I had forgot that annoying feeling of someone trying to hit on you so clearly for visa/economic reasons, it’s just icky). So our Ubud day was somewhat tainted by that. I was just too tired to put up with the BS. Anyway, he basically refused to take me to this coffee shop, alleging that it was owned by foreigners and I should go to the Kopi Luwak tourist trap that he would clearly get a kickback from for taking us to. (He also told my sister she shouldn’t go to class at the Yoga Barn for the same reason and that he could teach her instead…). So I had to fight with him to come here.
To be honest, after the battle royale with the driver I was in a pretty bad mood. It was good though, the coffee was very nice, and like Anomoli they showcase Indonesian beans. The way they presented the coffees on boards with a glass of water and a little rice cake was a nice twist. (My coffee was iced, that’s why it was in a jar — hot coffees were in cups)
We ended up in a kind of overflow space downstairs that wasn’t very atmospheric though, as this place is really popular, and the seating down there wasn’t comfortable. The main area looked much nicer. It’s very close to the heart of Ubud and the market etc, so it is little wonder it has many fans. They also run a cold brew bar in the afternoons and evenings.
The cafe’s motto made me laugh though: ‘imagine you know what you are doing’. Hmm yes I can only imagine that. It suited my current malaise.
4. Anomoli Ubud
Since I was pretty tired on our Ubud day trip, I didn’t walk far before needing to sit down again, so I stopped in at Anomoli. A reliable favourite for coffee fans in Indonesia, this was my first time to their Ubud outlet. It’s conveniently located, a big space, and the drinks are reliably good. They also sell their beans and other coffee paraphernalia, continuing the very good cause of promoting Indonesia’s coffee culture and the diverse varieties available from across the archipelago. I was a bit surprised that the Ubud store had more of a Starbucks set up rather than table service, but maybe I’m remembering the Seminyak and Jakarta set ups wrong. Definitely far better quality than Starbucks!
5. Ibu Oka’s
I’ve been here multiple times before, but Britt was yet to have traditional babi guling, so off we went. It was very tasty as usual, though I was a bit disappointed that they had renovated their store near Ubud Palace and it no longer had the lesehan (sitting on the floor) style tables and the kind of jumbled and random outdoor seating it used to have! It was all a bit too bland now for my liking, I preferred the old chaos that made it feel more like a proper warung. But it seems they have expanded and have more seating out the back now. Still a reliable babi guling option though.
6. Taco beach, Seminyak
Another option I have had before, that we found ourselves near just before Britt had to fly back to JKT. The babi guling tacos are still tasty, though I have to say Motel Mexicola was definitely more impressive (but pricier too).
7. Warung Kolega, Seminyak
This was the warung lunch I had been dreaming of. I actually made the ill-advised decision (considering my current health problems) to trek 1km here in the midday heat carrying all my luggage after checking out but before going to the airport. I think it probably contributed to my post-holiday fatigue crash. But I am pretty sure it was worth it? I wanted to eat everything they had in the display case. Definitely recommend for those looking for a warung in the Seminyak area (one of my other favourites is Warung Melati, which is closer to Legian).
8. Warung Aneka Rasa, Seminyak
This warung is conveniently located amid the fancy restaurants and boutiques of Jl Laksmana in Seminyak, but is super cheap so great if you have been spending too much cash. By late dinner time, when I managed to stumble down there to eat, there weren’t a huge amount of choices, so perhaps don’t leave it too late in the day, but it was still a good cheap option in a very convenient location.
9. Grocer and Grind Sanur
I’ve been to Grocer and Grind in Seminyak before, a few years ago, and I didn’t really rate it. But we had a great breakfast at Grocer and Grind in Sanur, the perfect breakfast for me to recover after my friend’s wedding. It’s a great space as well.
10. Manik Organik Sanur
Bali’s preoccupation with organic restaurants can only be a good thing. There was no shortage of chia seeds here (though we did overhear an Australian woman pronounce it as chaiiii seeds — chai is not quite the same). We got a great, clean and healthy veggie nasi campur here and some nice smoothies and juices. It was a nice space as well.
(fierce Instagramming was a hallmark of the trip…)
11. Best meal of the trip – Merah Putih restaurant, Seminyak
We sort of ended up here by accident. It’s quite high-end, and you should usually book, but they found some space for us. I didn’t take any photos, but check out their website. Wow. It’s an amazing building, with stunning high ceilings. But the food was even better. It offers Indonesian fine dining, adding contemporary twists to local classics and showcasing a cuisine that I have always argued has been totally underrated and underappreciated. It’s great to see it given some reverence, as well as an injection of creativity. All the food we ordered was fantastic. The duck rendang was great, as was the perkedel kepiting, Aceh cured Yellowfin tuna and tahu isi terong. The drinks were also very good, there was a sound cocktail list and also refreshing non-alcoholic drinks like infused iced teas. If you come here, you definitely need to have dessert. Britt had the ‘madu’, a cornetto icecream made with Borneo honey with chocolate, coffee and ginger, and I had the ‘kelapa’, which was ‘es teler’ fried ice cream in coconut milk with calamansi and melon. Both of the desserts were so good! Definitely a great place for a fancy dinner.
OK, that’s it. I think I have basically posted about every place we ate now!