For tea lovers, and more
Jl Raya Petitenget 888, Seminyak
T: (0361) 8570888
Beautiful Biku has practically become a Bali institution for those seeking a relaxing retreat where you can sip on the best teas on the island. The food menu is top-notch as well and affordable — this is the sort of place you can go with a group and not panic about how much your portion of the bill is going to come to at the end of the night.
Run by Australian Jero Asri Kerthyasa — who was Jane Gillespie before she married a Balinese prince in the 1970s — and housed in a 150-year-old renovated joglo, Biku is a must-stop for tea lovers. The more than 20 tea selections from around Asia are selected by Asri’s elder son, a tea master who originally got her enthused about the brew. Tea is Biku’s raison d’etre: “You just couldn’t find a decent cup of tea in Bali,” she told me during an interview once, referring to the dire tea situation before Biku opened. “Also, I’m just a high tea fanatic.” (Coffee lovers don’t panic — there’s still very good coffee here.)
High tea would be raison d’etre number two. A traditional afternoon tea comprises your choice of tea, plus scones with jam and cream, finger sandwiches of cucumber, salmon and cream cheese, and ham and mustard, mini quiches and a few sweeter treats, for 105,000 per person. The Asian high tea is 190,000 rupiah for two people and includes samosas, spring rolls, date scones, curried egg sandwiches, Moroccan orange cake and more.
The food is styled as being “tropical comfort” and we can see why, with a good range of Balinese and Indonesian dishes as well as Western favourites. While this may sound alarm bells at other restaurants, we’ve tried plenty of dishes here and they’ve all been authentic renditions living up to their name. The Indian lamb curry is a top choice, coming with dhal, pappadum, raita, rice and mango chutney (74,000++); the pumpkin brown rice salad (47,000++) is a good lighter option.
Breakfast offerings are solid — we like the twist on the eggs Florentine, served over cheddar and chive buttermilk scones (30,000 rupiah). The Biku breakfast sandwich (45,000 rupiah) of scrambled eggs, mushrooms, bacon and tomato in a warm baguette is another good start to the day.
Biku is child-friendly, with a decent children’s menu with dishes 33,000 rupiah or under — peanut butter sandwich, spaghetti bolognese, calamari and chips, chicken satay with rice, for instance. Ask for a colouring in sheet and some pencils if you have little ones in tow.
If you’d like to peer into your future, book ahead (on their website) for a tarot card reading, offered 13:00-17:00 daily, and priced at 150,000 rupiah for a 15-minute reading. We haven’t yet tried this.
Antiques and other little treasures are for sale around the outskirts of the restaurant — it’s worth a browse, with lovely ceramics and cempaka perfume among the offerings. A branch of the excellent Ganesha Bookshop is nestled into a corner of the joglo as well, so you can browse in between courses.
Note: Prices rose a little February 1, and our visits to Biku occurred before this date, so the prices listed above may have gone up a tad (a knock on effect of Indonesian petrol price rises a few months ago).