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If I ever had a little wooden seaside cottage, I’d be asking Cafe Bali who did their decorating and getting their number. I love this place: it’s cute but not sickly sweet, a breezy blend of sophisticated and serene right bang in the middle of the disaster-construction zone that is Jalan Laksmana in Seminyak.
Think whitewashed wood, an eclectic collection of mirrors, some of the most creative light fittings you’ll see on the island (done by Robert Nollet and co), a Moroccan-inspired lounge area with mags and newspapers, flower petals in silver bowls and lovely loos as well. The light fittings range from pretty white-painted overturned baskets on the roadside veranda through to, well, a red antler chandelier.
This (or nearby Zuttion — another post) are probably two of the best places to stop, revive and survive while shopping the boutiques along Laksmana in the heat of the day. Personally, I hang out here many mornings to get stuff done online, as the WiFi is free (and sans silly bits of paper with passwords on them — I’m looking at you, Bali Bakery!), the breakfasts yummy and cheap, and the staff friendly but not pushy, so you feel like you can sit around a while.
The menu? It’s eclectic, with a small range of light-ish Western and Asian dishes done well. I’ve done a dinner here with a large crowd that was very affordable and decent. It’s not as upmarket as say Chandi (another post…) a few doors away but it’s good value and there’s always a convivial buzz going on at night. Breakfasts are what I’ve done the most of though — eggs florentine with smoked salmon is 45,000 rupiah, but I usually go for the poached eggs on toast for 15,000 rupiah. Fruit salad with yoghurt is 23,000 rupiah. Pineapple juice is 20,000 rupiah, a latte is 18,000 (all plus 10% tax, 5% service). I’ve found the coffee to be a bit hit and miss, but the tea is of the real, loose leaf variety. Most civilised.
If you happen to have your own transport, there’s valet parking. At night someone’s always there to grab the car, but during the day you can just nip down the little alley next to Ultimo’s and take a left into the vacant lot, which is where they park cars at night.
What would I change aside from better coffee? The plastic tablecloths! They don’t look so bad as far as plastic tablecloths go, but when you’re typing on a laptop and it’s a typical sweaty Bali day, they kind of stick to the underside of your forearms. Ugh.
And I’d like to know whether we’re allowed to swim in the little pool at the back? It would be rather neat to cool off there, but in lieu of that, dash upstairs, past the lovely draped baby blue curtain, to the air-conditioned loos to chill down a little.
By Samantha Brown
Last updated on 6th December, 2014.