A quick wrap of some favourites
Bali’s Seminyak is becoming more popular than ever for quick traveller getaways, whether coming from Australia for a week-long eat and shop trip or from Singapore for a weekend break from the city. We’ve covered some of Seminyak’s cheap restaurants, but here are some of our faves for when you want to enjoy a bit of a splurge. It’s of course by no means an exhaustive list, but these are the places we suggest our visiting friends try when they’re in town.
Let’s start with the most important meal of the day — no, not sunset drinks, silly! Though breakfast may be included at your hotel or villa, it’s almost a shame to skip the excellent offerings you’ll find around Seminyak. We are big fans of tucked-away Revolver, which serves arguably the best coffee in Bali. (One of their double macchiatos is fuelling the writing of this piece right now.) Pair a caffeine hit with slow-roasted tomatoes and mashed avocado on sourdough toast (the “Smith & Wesson”) and you’ll be ready to hit the waves for a few hours.
Sea Circus also works magic with avocados for breakfast and does a mean coffee — try the poached eggs with avocado and caramelised onions; or head up Laksmana to Cafe Bali, where the very affordable food is less gourmet (the coffee, not so great…), but the surrounds in an old joglo with a little splash pool are just lovely. For more of a splurge, seaside La Lucciola is a great spot for any meal of the day, but a little less pricey during for brunch and lunch, when you can also make the most of the ocean view.
For a healthy breakfast or lunch, Watercress on Batu Belig is a top choice, with fabulous salads in particular — and Revolver supplies their coffee, so you know they’re doing something right. Don’t forget long-time favourite Down to Earth, either, which has recently been refurbished and has a lovely atmosphere. If you need a non-healthy breakfast or lunch, you can’t go past babi guling, so check out one of our favourites.
For sunset drinks, Ku De Ta remains a Bali institution, but Potato Head and it’s endless pretty antique shutters most certainly gives it a run for its money. Relative newcomer Mozaic Beach Club Lounge is ever so slightly further afield, but worth making the effort to get to. Go a little earlier than sunset, snare a cabana and enjoy a swim in their pool (Potato Head also has one).
KuDeTa, Potato Head and Mozaic Beach Club all offer top-notch dinners, but we think you get slightly better value food off the beach. For Indonesian food done in both classic and modern styles, Merah Putih on Jalan Petitenget can’t be beat. Sip on a cocktail in the sleek bar before heading down to the main restaurant, set in a dramatic, glass-walled, cathedral-like building. Offerings are from around the archipelago so make a journey of your meal — try the Sulawesi prawn and snapper curry, the Lombok spring chicken and the Sumatran duck leg to cover just three of Indonesia’s 17,000 islands.
Like Merah Putih, Will Meyrick’s Mamasan is set off the beach, but the food and atmosphere is so buzzing you probably won’t even notice. With a bit more of a breezy, bistro feel than its equally successful elder sister restaurant Sarong, Mamasan serves up delicious food that traverses Asia. Sip on a cocktail in their elegant upstairs bar and take your time reading the enticing menu — Vietnamese grilled minced pork belly wrapped in betel leaves with nouc cham might get you started.
If you can’t get a table, or you’d prefer more relaxed but salubrious surrounds where you can settle in for a long evening of dining, check out Sarong instead. The menu here also offers modern takes on Asian cuisine — try the half-Sumatran crispy duck with sambal hijau matah and sambal bajak. A cheaper alternative for imaginative Asian food is Ginger Moon on Laksmana — the surroundings are not particular fancy, but the food is solid.
At lovely Petitenget, our good friend Simon Blaby serves up flavourful cuisine drawing on local flavours but executed with a Mediterranean feel. We are particular fans of the salads here, which pack a lot of taste punch, and if the goat’s cheese souffle is on the menu, order it. We often stop by late for the chocolate tart served with tamarillo sorbet and the decadent affogato.
Mexican is having a bit of a moment in Bali right now. If you can snare a table, Motel Mexicola is a fun and very colourful choice, with its theatrical tableaux of tequila bottles, candles and photographs; a bit less polished — in a good way — is Lacalaca on Drupadi.
For something more upscale, Teatro Gastroteque offers a wonderfully imaginative degustation menu — Indonesian executive chef Mandif M. Warokka makes no secret of the fact he wants his restaurant to win a Michelin star, and we reckon he’ll get it.
Other new places we’ve heard great things about but are yet to try include La Finca on Laksmana, and Mejekawi upstairs at Ku De Ta, which focuses on local produce with touches of molecular gastronomy.
Revolver Boutique Coffee House
Jalan Kayu Aya (Jalan Oberoi) #3, Seminyak
Behind This is a Love Song Concept Store and Home Store, or enter from the lane
T: (0361) 788 4968
22 Jalan Laksmana, Seminyak
T: (0361) 738 667
Jalan Laksmana, Seminyak
T: (0361) 736 484
Petitenget, Seminyak (next to the temple, to the left when facing the beach)
T: (0361) 730 838
Jalan Batu Belig 21A
T: (0361) 780 8030
Ku De Ta
Jalan Kayu Aya 9
T: (0361) 736 969
Mozaic Beach Club Lounge
Jalan Pantai Batu Belig, Kerobokan, Bali
T: (0361) 473 5796
Potato Head Bali
T: (0361) 473 7979
Jl Petitenget No.100x
T: (0361) 846 5950
Jl. Raya Kerobokan No. 135
T: (0361) 730436
Jl. Petitenget No, 19, Kerobokan
T: (0361) 4737 809
Jalan Laksmana No. 7
T: (0361) 734 533
Jalan Petitenget 40X, Seminyak
T: (0361) 473 3054
Jalan Petitenget 6
T: (0361) 737 888
Jalan Petitenget 21
T: (0361) 738 202;
Jalan Kayu Jati, No. 9X, Petitenget (behind the temple, opposite Bodyworks)
T: (0361) 736688
Jalan Drupadi 1, Seminyak
T: (0361) 736 733
T: (0361) 870 0078
By Stuart McDonald
Last updated on 27th February, 2015.