Refined but fresh and affordable
Jalan Raya Sanggingan, Ubud (opposite Neka Museum)
T: (0361) 970 013
The smokey lure of the ribs nearby can be hard to resist, but if you’re keen on something healthier than Naughty Nuri’s barbecued treats, Minami serves up elegant, fresh Japanese cuisine in pleasant surrounds at very reasonable prices considering the fantastic quality on offer.
Decor is simple and neutral — perhaps a touch dated — but the garden-side setting is serene and pretty. You don’t get the views of somewhere like Indus, but you feel like you’ve retreated to a bit of a secluded haven away from the hectic traffic you’ll find elsewhere in Ubud.
We were presented with a complimentary starter tray, impeccably arranged, of flavourful Fugu salt imported from Japan, served with a bowl of hot silky tofu and seaweed-wrapped noodles. It’s all very refined and calming.
The menu traverses a range of Japanese favourites. Kick off your meal properly perhaps with a miso soup with tofu and seaweed (20,000 rupiah++) or spicy tuna sashimi (55,000++). Dishes cover sushi, sashimi and gyoza through to curries, beef tartar, basil chicken and grilled fish Japanese style. Expect to pay around 120,000++ for one of the more sizeable mains; a Tasmanian salmon salad is 55,000++ while a plate of steamed organic veggies and dressing is 45,000 rupiah (++)
We sampled the tuna salad, large hunks of melt-in-the-mouth fish with finely chopped vegetables and a delicious sesame dressing followed by Minami’s cold noodle special. Organic veggies and assorted crispy tempura (145,000++) came again arranged gorgeously on an array of plates. Freshly toasted sesame seeds ground in a mortar and pestle at the table was an exotic touch and really released the scent of the sesame. The waiter explained exactly how to eat the meal, another nice touch for those not confident when it comes to knowing exactly what to put where in Japanese dining.
We haven’t stopped by to see what it’s like but we love their “pay it forward” concept, where you can come and eat for free on a designated day each month, paying only for your drinks, so long as you promise to “do something big value” for three people afterwards. Yes, it’s straight from the movie and it’s kind of nice to know ripples from it are still being felt somewhere in the world.
We didn’t try any dessert here, but we’re pretty sure that even though it is likely to be good, you are so close to Will Goldfarb’s new Room4Dessert that you’re going to want to check that out instead. (In fact, if you’re planning on dessert there, we’d suggest a light meal at Minami ahead of the heavier stuff on offer at Nuri’s.)
If you’re staying in Sanur, there’s a beachside, newer branch of Minami there also worth checking out.