Japanese cuisine is fairly easy to find in Bali, and Sanur on the southeast coast has a good selection of places, from the newish and sleek-lined on the beach through to a few old standards where the emphasis is on comfort.
Let’s kick off with new Minami, the second branch of the well-regarded Ubud original. This restaurant lifts the bar considerably for the usually lacklustre Sanur beach offerings, boasting stylish white decor and a short but gourmet menu. A meal here isn’t a bargain, but it represents reasonable value for what you get — attentive service and excellent food quality. There’s a teppanyaki grill and the gleaming kitchen’s open to the restaurant, so you can peer in if you want to be sure of the standards.
The menu is for the most part light and healthy, with a super selection of salads, such as the “salad 5 grains and rice”, a mix of sticky rice, red and black rice, mung beans, red lentils, cashew nuts, pumpkin and sunflower seeds, hijiki and spinach for 55,000 rupiah — did someone say healthy?
Other light offers include a range of Japanese tapas — choose three for 60,000 rupiah or six for 115,000 rupiah from a list that includes grilled shitake, home-made tofu hiyayakko and fried gyoza. Or three pieces of a range of tempura will set you back 45,000 rupiah — we tried the chicken and camembert cheese (fish and cheese, shrimp and ohba were among the other choices) and were expecting something like a snack, but what emerged was really a decent meal.
If you need your carbs, a small selection of hot and cold noodles are on offer, such as yakisoba for 80,000 rupiah, along with a range of sushi rolls, some of which are quite imaginative — the cheesy bonita includes daikon pickrus, cream cheese and katsuo bushi (65,000).
Hot or cold green tea is 30,000 rupiah, a saketini 100,000. A couple of dessert choices, included green tea ice cream for 30,000 rupiah.
All prices include service and tax, and they had a 20% off food promotion when we visited. Drinks seem to come from the attached Segara Village however — I forgot to check whether they did incur 21% service and tax as it said on the menu.
Though the lighting sets a lovely ambiance at night, I’d recommend Minami for a breezy lunch on the beach.
To get to Minami: Head down Jalan Pantai Sindhu off Danau Tamblingan, take a left when you hit the beach and Minami is about 50m on your left, just past the Segara Village).
Kokoya meanwhile is a little hole in the wall, festooned with red lanterns, that punches above its weight with a great range of dishes on offer (there’s also a branch in Seminyak). Sit in the balmy outdoors next to the grill or in air-con inside — fold up your legs and slide under a table if you’re feeling acrobatic.
Among their specialities is a range of toro (fatty tuna) dishes, such as the toro special roll, a sushi roll with fatty tuna, egg omelette, cucumber and crab stick.
Sip on a small Bintang (22,000 rupiah) and whatever the free little appetiser is — I had a few pieces of chicken and vegetable curry — while you peruse the lengthy menu. Browse through the variety of nabemono (one pot dishes) at 48,000 rupiah, a very decent range of sashimi and sushi (10 pieces of sushi at 58,000 rupiah, a six-piece teriyaki chicken roll is 34,000 rupiah and a six-piece fiery spicy tuna roll is also 34,000), deep-fried dishes like spareribs in original sauce (58,000 rupiah) and an endless range of noodle and rice dishes including chicken katsu curry (48,000 rupiah). A scoop of green tea ice cream is 13,000 rupiah.
A bottle of Two Islands wine is just 240,000 rupiah (this will set you back about 180,000 in a bottle shop — see here for some background on alcohol in Bali); happy hour runs from 15:00 to 18:00 daily and gets you a free small Bintang with every one bought.
Recommended for a quick but delicious dinner when you’ve got a huge appetite.
Jalan Danau Tamblingan 178, Sanur
T: (0361) 289 252
Open daily 11:30-midnight
By Samantha Brown
Last updated on 27th February, 2015.