WHERE TO EAT IN
UBUD Ubud, Bali’s inland cultural gem, may be tourist central, but that doesn’t mean eaters should write the city off as a good food desert. In fact, we think Ubud’s food is almost equally as exciting as the city’s stunning landscape and historical importance. But, just as in any busy town on Bali, eating well is all about knowing where to go and where to skip. We spent four days tasting everything that’s anything in Ubud – here’s where you should eat in the city made famous by Eat Pray Love.
Images: Elspeth Velten
Sari Organik’s Ubud center location is convenient but the restaurant’s original rice paddy spot is our favourite for its amazing countryside views. It’s located just 20 minutes north of town in the middle of paddy fields – it’s only accessible by foot but the healthy, homegrown menu is well worth the walk. Everything you eat here is grown or produced nearby and most produce is organic and grown in Sari’s own gardens. Sari’s rice is superb – two different types come with many dishes on the menu. We recommend the restaurant’s daily specials like the above satay ayam with sauteed vegetables and don’t miss the sweet tomato juice blended with pineapple, lemon, mint and honey.
Arrive early (or face a wait) and come with an empty stomach. Naughty Nuri’s boasts both American and Indonesian menus but ribs are the only way to go here. An expert chef is grilling them up on an open barbecue in the street when you pull up to the shack and your nostrils will lead you to Nuri’s from metres down the street. A big rack of Nuri’s tender ribs with sweet sauce will run you about AUD $10 and one of the restaurant’s almost equally famous dirty martinis will cost you the same. A banana milkshake is also a good choice. Service at this busy spot suffers, but the ribs make up for it.
Visit Sari’s site for location information. Phone: +62 (0) 361 780 1839
Jalan Raya Sanggingan. Phone: +62 (0) 361 977 547
SENIMAN COFFEE STUDIO You’re actually here for coffee, but a compact menu of regional Indonesian classics is an added plus. Don’t come here for a local setting, though. One (shoeless) step into this hipster-esque cafe will have you second guessing whether or not you’ve ever left Melbourne. Seniman slings global brews but you’re in Bali, so we suggest the light roast Kintamani, especially for less experienced drinkers. Light roasts are high in caffeine but less strong in flavour – this one’s floral and drinks almost like a tea. To eat, we suggest the soto ayam – chicken soup with tofu, bean sprouts, tempeh, potatoes, scallions and fried shallots – or the tipat goreng, an inventive take on Indonesian fried rice with rice cubes instead of grains.
Dapur Bunda is the perfect place for those just beginning to dabble in the local cuisine. The name of the game here is nasi campur – rice surrounded by a combination of different sides – and Dapur offers a more refined take on this Indonesian favourite served in warung after warung. Choose white, red or turmeric/coconut rice and then choose your “tapas-style” sides from options like shrimp with squash, eggplant with tomato sauce, marinated and fried tempeh, corn fritters, cassava leaves in coconut milk and curried chicken. Dapur Bunda’s minimal-kitsch look is welcoming and our favourite tables are upstairs on the restaurant’s balcony overlooking the street.
Jalan Sri Wedari. Phone: +62 (0) 822 3609 3308
Jalan Sri Wedari. Phone: +62 (0) 361 972 085
IBU OKA There’s much discussion on the Web over whether Ibu Oka, Bali’s most famous place for for tourists to try the island’s specialty pig roast, Babi Guling, lives up to its hype. Ibu Oka’s been made famous by travelling chefs including Anthony Bourdain and the like and business has exploded, allowing the restaurant to open a second location. We’ve decided that although it might not be the best on the island, Ibu’s accessibility and relative authenticity make it a must-eat. Order a complete dish and expect sliced pork, pork crackling, blood sausage, deep fried pork, vegetables, rice and a lot of heat. If you’re not a spice enthusiast, order the separate option where rice comes on its own and doesn’t take on the heat, but expect to pay more for just this small difference. We find Ibu’s crispy, fatty crackling addicting – an extra order of this alone may be necessary.
Behind the Ubud Palace on Jalan Tegal. Phone: +62 (0) 361 976 435