Anolon Academy

Bali: A foodies guide

Just back from two glorious weeks in beautiful Bali.  Seminyak was base camp this time around and the September weather conditions were perfect to say the least.  Sunny and balmy, with a cool breeze picking up in the afternoon to keep our heads cool.  Mind you, the evening tipple of caprioskas made with pungent local kaffir limes and palm sugar may well have contributed to our state of euphoria as well. But we are here to talk about the food, and that is a good conversation to have.

There are now many choices of easy to find cafes, delis and bakeries (being the new black) to drop into any time of day (and some evenings) for coffee, drinks, pastries, sandwiches and casual bites. You can even get cronuts in various shapes and sizes.

But it is dinner where we really entered into the zone – every night we experienced not only delicious food of many different cuisines but excellent service in stunningly designed interiors, some rich and elegant and others eclectic and with a sense of humour. All had very extensive and interesting spirits and cocktail lists and some with extensive wine lists too (note that wine is very expensive having the weight of the country’s high taxes added on).  We recommend booking in advance.

Luke Mangan’s Salt Tapas 
Part of the luxurious Sentosa Villas, this is a must-do.  Delicious tapas, and other share dishes – we tried the crab croquettes, lobster brioche and the taco of tempura prawns.  Gorgeous open bar and tables situated poolside.

This is a combination of restaurant, tea lounge, book store, gift shop and occasional music venue.  Delicious, inexpensive cuisine, a cross section of local and international, and one of the best burgers around!  We love the daily specials of curries and the extensive cake and dessert selection.  Sunday afternoon tea is an institution here.

Merah Putih 
Wow – enter into another world – soaring contemporary glass cathedral like ceilings, bar upstairs and step down into a welcoming open space and dine on glorious contemporary Indonesian cuisine.  A real occasion place.

Slippery Stone 
A beautiful relaxed eatery, open spaces with bench style seats, lounges as well as table and chair seating.  With breath-taking rice paddy views you dine on delicious modern Indonesian cuisine, with a little Euro Western influence thrown in, share dishes if you like.  A little quieter than some places, well suited to a romantic dinner.

Mama San 
Big, loud and delicious.  Upstairs for big tables with a lounge bar, downstairs for the food, and you will be planning your second visit as soon as you see the extensive menu.  This Balinese food with other Asian influences packs a punch – rich, spicy and generous serves. Definitely book, this place rocks nightly.

Laca Laca 
Mexican Cantina territory tucked off a main shopping drag – that’s why we love Bali. We are not talking nasty cheesy nachos with lobs of cream – this is light and fresh, contemporary South West cuisine.  Think lamb shank soft tacos and crab meat quesadillas just for starters.  Cheap, excellent food and the cocktails are fabulous.

Naughty Nuris 
Some of you know about this amazing spot from its original Ubud home.  Now in Seminyak, version two is bigger, funkier and bolder but still serving up the same famous ribs, cooked on the outdoor barbeque. This is street food done well – communal eating, no bookings, and if you order the margarita, watch out for the dance that comes with it!

Mozaic Beach Club :
Ubud has hosted the beautiful Michellin starred Mozaic for several years now and now they have spread their wings to the coast.  This area is developing quickly – a little north of Seminyak and situated on the beach, you can listen to the waves and nibble on delicious tapas snacks or eat a la carte.  Fun during the day and elegant at night, you cannot go past this for a sunset and a long cocktail.

Bistrot :
Predominantly European menu, this is a truly unique space.  It has a New York loft feel to it with an industrial feel but warmly furnished with many antiques and collectibles  The stairway brick wall leading upstairs is hung with old typewriters, tvs and lamps!  And the desserts are sublime.

Sardine :
Charming, with an unforgettable setting – dine in the open with a view of a seemingly endless rice paddy.  International menu, focusing on fresh seafood. You won’t want to go home.