Mar 02 2012
I’ll be honest with you: the first time Mr Travelfish and I arrived in Bali on a weekend trip from Jakarta we were exceedingly underwhelmed by the beach along Seminyak, which was strewn with debris and not quite the colour of tropical beaches in the brochures. Sure, it’s volcanic sand, not dirt, but still… And it did take us a few trips before Bali started to grow on us. These days we still aren’t really regular beach goers in this area (we much prefer the Bukit beaches, which we’ve covered here), but we do head to Seminyak for breakfasts or lunches when we’ve visitors in town or for something a bit different. Expensive? Sure, relatively, if you head somewhere like Potato Head; but not necessarily…
One of the loveliest spots for a cheap beachside lunch in Seminyak is Mano, right next to the more salubrious and much pricier La Lucciola. Well okay, they’re maybe about 100 metres apart, on opposite sides of the car park for Petitenget temple (with babi guling just across the road, by the way, if you are keen on trying that particular Balinese dish while in this area). While La Lucciola is great for a special occasion, it’s not so great for the hip pocket on a regular basis. Mano, on the other hand, though a little pricier than warungs, isn’t too bad at all. If you can find something cheaper in this prime beachfront area, please do let us know about it and we shall investigate.
During our last visit a month or so ago, the surf was really pounding and tides were extremely high; I’d never seen the water line so high here and the surf in fact was lapping at the retaining wall outside the restaurant. It also meant a lot of debris was floating around, so, as it was when we first arrived in Bali, the view was unappealing. On a normal day, however, it’s pretty fine. (Still, let’s not pretend Bali doesn’t have some environmental problems — especially trash issues.)
But back to Mano. We’re talking decidedly no-frills, with a few wooden tables and chairs under a roof, but otherwise open to the elements, a few little bales where you can sit cross legged, and a few spots out in the sun during the day — save those for dinner or sunset, I’d say.
On the menu? It’s really a range of what you typically see on many classic cheapie “international” menus, but with a few nice quirks. A basic drinks range includes juices, coffees and smoothies — a latte is 17,000 rupiah, a yoghurt honey smoothie is 21,000. Select from Indonesian dishes such as soto ayam (chicken soup, 19,000 rupiah), salads such as tomato and feta in a basil pesto sauce (27,000 rupiah) or a guacamole salad (lettuce, mashed avocado, chopped tomato and garlic bread, 26,000 rupiah). International mains include good old spag bol (42,000 rupiah) and a margarita pizza (39,000 rupiah). It’s all very old-school local feeling, with simple flatware and so on, and friendly, obliging service.
Come to Mano for a lazy meal when you feel like breathing in sea-spray air and savouring an ocean view, but you don’t want to fork out for it. I wouldn’t travel across the island to dine here, but I would check it out if I was staying at a hotel in the Petitenget/Seminyak area and was on too tight a budget to splurge at the fancypants neighbours along here.
Mano Beach Side Cafe
Right hand side of Petitenget Temple car park (parking 2,000 rupiah)
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