May 11 2012
UPDATE May, 2014: Zen Garden has closed. Gusto has opened in this space now.
Zen Garden on Seminyak’s Jalan Mertanadi — the road that runs up to the jail from Sunset Road — has only been open a week but shows great promise as a genuine healthy spot to have breakfast or a lingering lunch if you’d like to take a dip in their pool.
Jalan Mertanadi is a walk across Sunset from the north end of Legian — it’s just that bit too far for most tourists to walk, meaning the street, packed with intriguing furniture and homeware shops, doesn’t get a lot of foot traffic. In turn this means only a few interesting restaurants on the strip — Little Green Cafe and a couple of others — so Zen Garden (with parking, a rarity on this strip) is a bit of a find if you are battling the heat to find something special along this strip.
The menu is focused on healing teas, fresh juices and healthful salads, with a smattering of desserts and coffee available as well (and breakfasts). The teas are wide-ranging and include “respir”, a blend of thyme, eucalyptus, rosemary and mint that should help runny noses and coughs according to the menu (20,000 rupiah for a pot); “bio purify”, a blend of rooibus and nettle (25,000 rupiah for a pot); and Malang white tea (from Java) for 40,000 rupiah (also in a pot).
Juices (25,000 rupiah) include the Muscle Tonic (apple, pear, orange and lemon) and the Eva’s Fertility (orange and watercress) to increase your sexual energy and breast milk production if you’re lactating. After shiny skin or silky hair? That can be ordered too; well okay, the juice combinations that promote these, at the least.
I had an apple, carrot and ginger juice, and the waitress clearly explained that the juices all come without water, ice and sugar added — would I like any on the side? A really great cafe philosophy — both leaving all three out, and making clear you can have them if you like. The unchilled juice came in a tall glass, and I took my ice on the side and added it to cool it down — refreshing! They have a decent selection of salads made fresh daily and on view on the way in, in addition to those on the menu. I tried the Mexican bean salad and their cauliflower salad, which came with a slice of bread and extra dressing in a cute little bottle on the side. Both salads were really fresh, though the beans in the Mexican salad I’m pretty sure were tinned, with the cauliflower salad in particular imaginative. The little heads were blanched to a good texture and tossed with sultanas, black sesame, parsley and a few other goodies. The salads of the day range from 20,000 to 65,000 rupiah (one to four choices). [Update: I returned a few days later to see if I could get the cauliflower salad again it was so good… but the salads are on rotation, an eight-day cycle at the moment. I had a delicious rice salad and mushroom and green bean salad instead. Really good.] The a la carte salads include the Zen Garden chicken salad, which is organic mixed greens with grilled chook, avocado and apple with a yoghurt vinaigrette and beetroot and brie cheese salad, a mix of beetroot, celery, apple and avocado and a slice of grilled bread with brie with Italian vinaigrette (each 65,000 rupiah). There’s a burger on the menu for kids. The atmosphere is new and modern — maybe a little suburban feeling, being away from the Seminyak buzz — with tables and chairs looking onto the pool and garden, which a waiter explained was still waiting on umbrellas and other furniture. With free WiFi and pool use thrown in, you’re looking at what is surely set to be an affordable and healthy little spot to stop at while doing some shopping along this stretch of Kerobokan.
If you aren’t keen on coming over this side of Sunset Road but you’re in the mood for healthy eats, you could try Down to Earth cafe over on Laksmana or its sister outlet, the vegan Zula on Dhyana Pura.
Jalan Mertanadi, Kerobokan
T: (0361) 911 6979
Open 09:00-17:00, closed Sundays
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