Mantra

What we say: 3.5 stars

With its mismatched furniture, burnished antique lamps and shabby chic vibe, relatively new Mantra on Seminyak’s Petitenget loop — just a short hop from Potato Head, away from the beach — has quickly turned into the place to be seen for dinner or late night drinks in this corner of the world.

One for you, one for me.

One for you, one for me.

The feel is a sort of Bohemian-meets-Bali-chic. Think lounges (as well as tables), tea light candles, colourful flowers in jars, local art adorning the walls and a generally very friendly vibe. A small outdoor patio becomes more inviting the later the night gets as the crowd gets thick. Depending on what’s on, the tables might get shoved aside to create a dance floor — the last time we went around midnight it was going off, with a big crowd jumping around a laptop playing rather good tunes.

Twas a dark and stormy night and I has only an iPhone to record it.

Twas a dark and stormy night and I has only an iPhone to record it.

Go earlier and you can have a quiet meal or at least a drink and nibble. Watch out for the signature cocktail, which comes with a circle of wasabi-infused something or other around the glass’s lip; let’s just say we ordered it without reading the fine print and got something of a fiery surprise.

Note to self, pack a a flash.

Note to self, pack a a flash.

Bar snacks include edamame with sea salt, zucchini fritters with cumin yoghurt and baked sweet potato wedges (all 20,000 rupiah). The main menu focuses on seafood and vegetarian dishes, with an emphasis on fresh and flavourful; start with say a pumpkin and butter bean pot (35,000 rupiah) or a fish and tomato chowder (48,000 rupiah) and continue with maybe the lentils, caramelised pumpkin, goat’s cheese and rocket salad (45,000 rupiah) or roast veggies, baby greens and feta (45,000 rupiah). The dessert list is also short and sweet — the espresso creme brulee with chocolate ganache and watermelon, rosemary and lemon shaved ice (30,000 rupiah) give a sense of the offerings.

Their website doesn’t have much on it — just contact details — so keep your eyes peeled elsewhere for what’s on, as Mantra hosts various DJs and art exhibitions; last week they hosted an exhibition by death row inmate Myuran Sukamaran. But even without an event, Mantra is a solid choice for a meal or a spot of late-night people watching.

Contact details
Jalan Petitenget77x, Bali
T: (0361) 473 7681
http://www.mantrabali.com
About the author
Stuart McDonald co-founded Travelfish.org with Samantha Brown in 2004. He has lived in Thailand, Cambodia and Indonesia, where he worked as an under-paid, under-skilled language teacher, an embassy staffer, a newspaper web-site developer, freelancing and various other stuff. His favourite read is The Art of Travel by Alain de Botton.

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Mantra
Jalan Petitenget77x, Bali
T: (0361) 473 7681

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