Top-notch sunset spot
T: (0361) 737 979
Potato Head Beach Club is one of the best sunset spots in Bali’s busy Seminyak, offering a sublime beachfront setting, comprehensive array of cocktails, a large swimming pool with a swim-up bar and several great options for dining into the evening.
Has a building ever made you smile? The striking facade here may be the first architectural feature to put a grin on your face. The semi-circular construction by architect Andra Martin comprising old louvred, mismatched shutters from Java is a mixture of whimsy and cleverness; try seeing it and not marvelling at how creative people can be. It’s a modern take on the Coliseum, with a dramatic entrance into the amphitheatre inside from behind the facade. You’ll walk up a narrow sort-of hallway, which opens onto a large circle of green lawn, with restaurants arching to the left and right and the foam of Seminyak beach’s waves frothing just metres away from the infinity-edge pool.
We’ve eaten a few times at the beachside restaurant, both during the day and at night, and on daybed/lounges as well as at the dining and lounge tables. On our most recent visit, we spied new daybeds skirting the beach in front of the pool that were about to be unveiled for use. They struck us as a rather special spot to enjoy a sunset cocktail or three.
We made do with the comfy retro lounge chairs instead right by the pool, where a few staff members constantly mopped up the tiles after swimmers padded out. The menu for lunch at the bistro is mostly, well, bistro-style fare, but probably leaning more towards gastro-pub style than anything French — you’ll have to head upstairs to the French restaurant Tapping Shoes for that.
The cocktail list is comprehensive and compelling, with some great signature offerings — the Big Bang (110,000++) is spiced rum, passionfruit syrup, lime, mango and guava juice plus orange candy, for instance, and the Indus Nesos (130,000++) of vanilla vodka, apricot liqueur, lychee juice and coconut cream both sounded great, though we didn’t try any on our last visit. A long list of standard cocktails goes for around 110,000 to 130,000++.
We did eat, however. The chef’s salad (110,000++) was a generous serving and interesting mix of flavours — chicken, eggs, lots of cherry tomatoes, hunks of blue cheese, poached pears and avocado — there were supposed to be walnuts in there somewhere too. The wagyu beef burger at 155,000++ was decent but not amazing, while the beer-battered fish and chips were quite average — the chips are fast-food style rather than a chunky hand-cut version. That may sound like we’re a bit overly picky, but everything about the fabulous surrounds leads you to think you’re going to consistently get something really special on your plate, you know?
While kids miss out on a dedicated menu, a few items on the normal menu will appeal to fussier young ‘uns, like the burgers and fish and chips — though adult prices will be attached. Also be warned that children under 10 are not permitted to use the adult pool according to a sign, but this rule appears to be flouted on Sunday mornings when most people here are families. A smaller children’s pool is available to the side of Lilin, the third on-site restaurant, which offers a tapas selection with a Southeast Asian flavour as well as live seafood on large communal wooden tables. (You don’t have to be eating here to use that pool.)
We found the service last Sunday to be excellent, despite it being pretty much a full house in the lounge/bar area by the time we left early afternoon.
Potato Head Beach Club is a big undertaking: a bar, three-restaurants-in-one, plus a shop, which you are made to exit through, sort of like Sydney airport’s duty-free, only even more expensive. A busy party schedule is on offer over the July-August and Christmas holiday seasons as well.
If you’re on a budget, but willing to splurge a little for a special experience, you can make Potato Head work for you. Come early, grab a daybed, have a coffee, a swim, another coffee then a grazing lunch — avoid the alcohol and you’ll probably not spend too much but have a memorable day at one of Bali’s top locations. (Though do remember there are plenty of other beautiful beaches in Bali where you can enjoy a drink and meal for next to nothing.)
Check ahead of time to see if there is a minimum spend on the daybeds when you are visiting.
Our overall assessment? Definitely go just to savour the architecture, which may be simple in its execution, but is quite ingenious in conception. Have just a coffee or a light meal if you’re on a tight budget; if you’ve got more money to spend, then Potato Head’s beachside restaurant is fine value for its ilk on the island.