Classics by the river
Tucked neatly alongside Ubud’s famed Campuhan bridges, Bridges overlooks the tumbling river through lush greenery — whatever you do, book ahead to get a front row seat to enjoy the view. The food is modern international, with local dishes thrown into the mixed, presented in a fairly formal way.
We found the decor of white tablecloths and upholstered wooden chairs a touch old-style, and there’s a thread of classic dishes on the menu, but there’s enough here to keep more adventurous eaters interested. This is a place to perhaps bring your mum and dad if they’ve joined you on your travels for a special lunch.
A good choice we reckon if you’re going for the Indonesian starters is to choose a selection as tapas — 3 for 110,000 rupiah, or 6 for 195,000. These include rolled sesame tofu, or “Sosis Solo”, or spiced minced beef wrapped in an egg crepe with soy dipping sauce and vegetable salad.
We went Western for ours though on our most recent visit, trying the seared eggplant dumplings served along ginger-infused pumpkin puree (70,000) and the goat’s chevre-beetroot brulee (110,000 rupiah). We’ve had this dish three times over the past few years — we came the second time to Bridges just to have the dish again. Comprising roasted beetroots with melted goat’s cheese inside, served with pecan-chive polenta, roasted beetroot puree and crisp prosciutto, it’s a really well executed dish.
As a main we tried the “brongkos”, beef cooked in spicy coconut milk curry with an urap (Balinese salad), with yellow rice and a peanut cracker and sambal (95,000 rupiah) — done just as well as it should have been — as well as another appetiser of cured-lemon baby octopus salad with chilli, tomatoes and rucola, served with roasted potatoes and olive tapenade (130,000 rupiah). This dish didn’t quite work for us and seemed a touch dated in style.
International dishes roam the globe and combine in some surprising ways — expect pastas, soups, salads and meaty dishes. Mains are around the 150,000 to 260,000 rupiah mark; a good range of wines by the glass come in at 110,000 rupiah.
There’s a lengthy dessert list, but we’ve not yet tried them: think steamed sweet-corn custard, lemon-scented pavlova or Cointreau chocolate mousse — conventional, with a few little twists. There’s also a good range of cheeses to combine as you like on a plate. Desserts are around the 65,000 to 95,000 mark.
While dinner brings on a lovely candlelit atmosphere, we’d prefer to come here for a semi-special occasion lunch than for an evening, when the view isn’t as clear.
Overall we’d say for a truly special occasion, Mozaic is where you’d have to head for a degustation menu, while if you’re interested in exploring how chefs are pushing the envelope in Ubud, you’ll need to call ahead to Locavore to snare a table at. But if you’d like some imaginative, competently executed dishes in very classic surrounds, with impeccable service, Bridges ticks the right boxes.