May 13 2012

Where’s a good place for cheap Indonesian food in Seminyak? Part 1

Published by at 10:24 pm under Food,Seminyak


If you’re shopping in Seminyak and need to stop off for a quick lunch or dinner and you’re in the mood for some cheap Indonesian food, you have a few options to choose from. Here we cover just two of our favourites: Warung Ocha and Taman Bambu, with two more places up our sleeve for another part next week.

Warung Ocha

Look, one of those pissy little Coke cans.

Look, quick, one of those annoying little Coke cans.

One of the most obvious and popular Indonesian joints along Raya Seminyak (which is a continuation of Jalan Legian, and then eventually becomes Raya Basangkasa just a little further north) is red-signed Warung Ocha on the corner of Jalan Plawa. Warung Ocha does a huge range of a la carte Western food — pastas, salads, sambos, seafood, burgers and so on — as well as point-and-pick and a la carte Indonesian dishes.

The red and brown special.

The red and brown special.

We’re just focusing on point-and-pick in this series, which is possibly Ocha’s weakest point, but mainly when it comes to price, as local food is so much cheaper off the strip — the Western food is reasonably priced.

I’ve eaten here several times but most recently stopped in and had a plate of red rice (you can choose white if you like) with mixed vegetables (carrots, pumpkin and mushroom), tempeh manis (tempeh in soy sauce) and a fried egg with sambal. The sauces were good, the egg and sambal on the dry side and I got a nice little rock of gravel/grit thrown in with the rice for free. Look I know this happens with rice, but you just kind of hope it doesn’t in a restaurant when you have to spit a full mouthful of food into a napkin because you’ve shattered the grit, yeah?

And look I know I shouldn’t drink Coke, ever, but when I have a quick meal — and this is really the Indonesian version of fast food — I really do feel like one. So I really get possibly disproportionately irritated when I order one and it comes in one of those annoying little cans. It’s not enough to go with a meal, but two are too many… Whatever, you’ve been warned.

There is however a large range of drinks here, including wine by the glass (80,000 rupiah though! plus plus! at a “warung”! though to be fair, it’s Chilean, not Hatten), beer (25,000 rupiah for a small Bintang — all prices are plus 10% tax, plus 5% service), fresh juices (around 21,000 rupiah), good coffees — just 15,000 rupiah for a cappucino — and interesting teas, such as rosella, a fairly standard one in Indonesia and definitely one you should try if you haven’t already (13,000 rupiah).

Point and pick desserts.

Point and pick desserts.

Even if you go for the Indonesian quickie main, you should dally a little and be tempted by the range of desserts on display, which average 15,000 rupiah a slice and always look yummo.

The atmosphere is bustling and it’s always busy, so the food should be fresh; the staff were quick to move me under cover when it started sprinkling.

My total bill: 46,000 rupiah.

Taman Bambu (Bamboo Garden)

Not quite a bamboo garden but not bad.

Not quite a bamboo garden but not bad.

About 100 metres down Jalan Plawa, Taman Bambu offers a similar array of point-and-pick dishes — and that’s about it. I know it will sound corny, but the food here seems to be made with a bit more love and care. I had the crumbled fried tempeh, a squid sort-of curry and pickle salad, with a fiery spoonful of extra sambal on the side. The tempeh was lovely and crisp, the squid was tender and the pickles had chillies in them which along with the sambal brought real, cleansing tears to my eyes.

They sadly only have white rice here, but the Coke came in a beautiful glistening bottle (look we all have our boxes to tick, alright?) The ice on the side was chipped from a big chunk — if you worry about the risks of coming down with a bug, this is probably best avoided but I’ve been drinking it for years without any problems.

A small selection of dishes available.

A small selection of dishes available.

Prices here are a lot cheaper — it can be amazing how they do fall once you are off the tourist strip — and my total bill here was just 20,000 rupiah for the lot. For a hole-in-the-wall warung, it’s a rather pretty little spot, too, looking on to a bit of greenery out the back — though not quite the bamboo garden the name may have you hoping for.

I should eat more veggies, I know.

I should eat more veggies, I know.

The staff are very friendly and overall it’s just a bit more of a pleasant, personal experience than Warung Ocha, the latter of which feels like a bit of a factory — Taman Bambu is definitely worth the extra 100 metre diversion. There’s also a very good babi guling place next door if you haven’t tried that yet — we’ve eaten there, but we’re yet to report it as part of our babi guling series.

Warung Bamboo
Jalan Plawa No. 10, Seminyak
T: (0361) 888 1567
Open daily 09:00-22:00 or 23:00ish

Warung Ocha
Jalan Raya Seminyak No. 52
T: (0361) 736 222
Open daily 07:00-22:30

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