It’s a difficult pursuit, finding a flaky, fresh croissant in Bali. It makes sense: croissants are not exactly indigenous cuisine and the foreign influence in Indonesia, where there’s any at all, is Dutch, not French. Yet some of us, usually with futile results, persist in trying…
And I succeeded at Cafe Moka. The island is home to a sprinkling of Cafe Mokas, where pastries are very much the forte. To date, their croissants are the best on the island I’ve found, which means if you’ve a hankering for a breakfast of Gallic kings, a Cafe Moka is where you want to head.
We’ve been to the one on the Bukit as well as the Ubud one before its latest renovation; but our usual is the one in Seminyak on Raya Basangkasa. It’s a local chain, yes; but not exactly at Starbucks’ saturation point.
The flaky, fresh plain croissants (8,000 rupiah) are served with butter and jam on the side, but you can also select from almond croissants (18,000), chocolatines (9,000), sacristain (11,000), apple chausson (12,000), muffins (11,000), cupcakes (11,000)… and a wonderful array of fancy sweet treats such as chocolate truffles (6,000).
They’ve a fab range of mini-treats such as mini lemon meringue pies, strawberry tarts, mini eclairs and vanilla slices — grab a box to take away when you’re done. Of course normal size versions are available as well, making this a good coffee pitstop while trawling the shops along Raya Basangkasa.
Sturdier meals are also on offer: sandwiches on crusty, chewy baguettes, brown bread, pita or croissants, alone with a good range of quiches, pastas, mornays and salads. Perhaps a terrine de legumes (42,000)? That’s actually just a vegetable mornay… but doesn’t everything sound better in French?
And the coffee! The coffee is good. The tea, alas, comes in bags in pots, one of my pet hates (it should be loose leaf and come with a delicate strainer).
The music is subdued, the atmosphere breezy and they even manage to pull off a sort of vague French bistro feel, with their wrought iron/woven chairs and lemon cushions. Cute, if not entirely practical, high chairs are on offer as well as well. Another downer is there’s no free WiFi, but that keeps the laptop brigade at bay so you can breath air devoid of electronic smog — and that can be a nice change, sometimes.
By Samantha Brown
Last updated on 14th April, 2015.