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The best new restaurants in Bali | Insight Guides Blog

The best new restaurants in Bali

Amid its recent full-throttle development boom, Bali has (finally) evolved as a seriously good culinary destination for South-east Asia, with hot new restaurants and cafés popping up on a startling basis. Luckily, expert and foodie Samantha Coomber is here to take us through the island's best new eateries...
Interior of MyWarung restaurant. Photo: Press release
Interior of MyWarung restaurant. Photo: Press release


Bali’s increasingly sophisticated dining scene has in turn, lured a growing swell of world-class chefs – notably, a strong Antipodean presence – passionately inspired by the Indonesian archipelago’s tropical produce and launching gourmet dining establishments with an innovative hybrid of flavours and techniques. Seminyak and Petitenget still shine as Bali’s culinary epicentres and pioneers of progressive, top-notch dishes, but Canggu, a rice-growing, surfer community has evolved as Bali’s new hipster's paradise, and Ubud, the poster boy for healthy, farm-to-table cuisine, is hot on their heels. Amongst Bali’s latest offerings, these six offer extra “bite” and tales to tell...

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Bikini

Miraculously slipped into a spare land plot in Seminyak, Bikini is the latest venture from Australian 8 Degree Projects, along with their others – BO$$ MAN, Expat Roasters and Sisterfields Café – clumped together along the same street.  Blending perfectly into Seminyak’s hedonistic mindset, playful Bikini, “fuses the urban flair of a New York warehouse with the energy and vibe of a Miami beach party,” coming out to play post-5pm for sunset cocktails at their street side Front Bar. Curated mixologist cocktails present innovative modern twists on classics with infused spirits. Try the Espresso Martini, which incorporates freshly-ground coffee beans and house-made salted caramel syrup, which is then shaken over ice.  Amidst ultra-contemporary interiors, Bikini’s fun, shared plate concept is spot-on for groups; whimsical creations inspired by Balinese produce with sensuous taste and texture contrasts are courtesy of Kiwi-born, Creative Culinary Director, Jethro Vincent.  Inventive “mouthfuls” include foie gras parfait and quince cigar rolls, decadently spread over a bed of blackened bread crumbs.

Mains from IDR63800 [USD5]. Daily 5pm to midnight.

#6 Jalan Kayu Cendana, Seminyak, tel: +62 361 738454/ www.ulookhotinbikini.com

Bikini restaurant cocktail preparation. Photo: Bikini restaurantBikini restaurant cocktail preparation. Photo: Press release


MyWarung

Canggu’s rapid development has led to an onslaught of impossibly cool cafés. MyWarung however stands out: taking the concept of a Balinese warung (a family-owned, humble eaterie with budget pricing) and turning it into a casual, contemporary café-cum-restaurant with a classically trained, prolific French-Canadian chef creating a menu of delicious yet simple home cooking, incorporating flavours from the east and west.  Eclectic dishes cover Canggu’s trademark surfer-friendly Smoothie Bowls (topped with house-made granola, shredded coconut and banana), lunches like “Healthy Goodies” salad (spinach, kale, quinoa, tabuleh, sun-dried tomatoes and hummus toast) and dinners with signature coconut charcoal grilled meats. Even the smooth but fiendishly robust house-blend coffees justify chilling-out here, or at the Canggu Echo Beach sister branch.

Mains from RP52000 [USD4]. Daily 8am to 11pm.

#80 Jalan Subak Sari, Canggu, tel: +62 82 339 120 880, www.mywarung.com

 

Saigon Street

It’s always been challenging to find a decent (if any) Vietnamese restaurant in Bali. Although Saigon Street doesn’t quite replicate bonafide Vietnamese street food (who can?), it adequately fills the gap for Vietnamese novices and aficionados alike. This “not quite fine-dining, more fun dining” restaurant delivers traditional regional Vietnamese dishes with contemporary twists and fusion reinterpretations inspired by Bali. The menu, overseen by Consultant Executive Chef, Australian Geoff Lindsay (owner-chef of acclaimed Melbourne Vietnamese restaurant, Dandelion), dishes-up beloved street food like bun cha (like other meats, barbecued on a street side grill) and some, like rice paper rolls, getting sophisticated makeovers, such as the coconut-roasted lobster roll with Thai basil.  Viet-Bali hybrids excel however, like the signature blue swimmer crab, with shredded fresh coconut, chilli and kaffir lime, scooped up with coconut crackers, washed down with contemporary, Viet-influenced cocktails blended with exotic seasonal fruits – try the Vietpolitan, with triple sec, vodka, mint leaves, cranberry and fresh dragon fruit juice served Martini-style.   

Mains from RP76000 [USD6]. Daily 11am to 1am.  

77X Jalan Petitenget, Petitenget, tel: +62 361 8974007, www.saigonstreetbali.com

 

Kaum Bali

Kaum Bali goes way further (literally) than any restaurant to deliver authentic tastes from across the Indonesian archipelago.  Their culinary team have meticulously researched the diverse culinary heritage and recipes of the 600-plus ethnic groups and indigenous tribes spread across Indonesia’s far-flung islands and micro-provinces, and work closely with independent, sustainable farmers and remote communities to hand-select premium produce and indigenous heirloom ingredients, such as Balinese jatiluwih Rice. Located in Petitenget’s hip Potato Head Beach Club, expect a rare, culinary odyssey, where flavour-packed, almost forgotten dishes, showcase generations-old recipes, cooking techniques and native ingredients (including spear-caught ocean fish) that exactly match the island’s tribal and regional cultural traditions.  Gulai udang Aceh, an Arab-influenced, spicy dish from Aceh, North Sumatra, features slow-simmered prawn tails, okra and plantain flavoured with fresh curry leaves plucked from Aceh, while eye-watering, freshly-pounded sambals (hot sauces) include obscure varieties like sambal kluwek, starring Kalimantan-sourced, black kluwek nuts.

Mains from RP130,000 [USD10]. Daily noon to midnight

Potato Head Beach Club, 51B Jalan Petitenget, Petitenget, tel: +62 361 3007990, www.kaum.com

Kaum Bali food. Photo: Press releaseKaum Bali food. Photo: Press release


JI at Bale Sutra

Unusually, JI at Bale Sutra presents a new bar-restaurant ensconced within one of Canggu’s oldest stars: Hotel Tugu Bali, an award-winning museum-hotel celebrating Java and Bali’s cultural heritage, art and traditions. JI’s stunning red-themed chamber Bale Sutra, a reconstructed, timbered 1706 Chinese Kang Xi period temple, has been transformed into a glamorous dining room and bar, lavished with ancient art works and carvings originating from Japan, China and Indonesia.  Artful dishes reflect this cultural fusion:  inspired by centuries-old Japanese culinary traditions and subtly fused with East Asian delicate flavours and local ingredients with a focus on freshly-made Sushi’s, like global-inspired Nigiris and Maki Rolls. Entered via a four-metre-high Gate of Hell, an adjoining front bar comes riotously decorated in traditional Japanese Kabuki-style, with two upper floor, semi-open terraces revealing bay views. JI boasts an exclusive collection of Japanese Sakes and whips-up contemporary, Asian-inspired cocktails brimming with home-made spirits, liquour infusions and exotic Asian ingredients: the divine Coco Sexo is served Tikki-style, disgorging steam to evoke Indonesia’s smouldering volcanoes.  

Mains from RP58,000 [USD4]. Daily from 5pm until midnight.

Hotel Tugu Bali, Jalan Pantai Batu Bolong, Canggu, tel: +62 361 4731701, http://jiatbalesutra.com 

 

Da Maria

Australian restauranteur Maurice Terzini (the visionary behind Sydney’s iconic Iceberg Dining Room) launches his first international restaurant, Da Maria, in Petitenget: a modern Italian dining concept – part osteria, pizzeria and bar – with a fun, informal vibe and glamour-puss, 1960s La Dolce Vita feelEven the colossal interiors are evocative of an Amalfi Coast courtyard restaurant –with fountains, geometrically-styled, blue and white palette and al fresco patio.  Here, authentic, regional Italian and simple classic flavours get boldly interpreted with a modern approach and tropical setting.  Signatures include scrumptious Neapolitan-inspired pizzas –prosciutto, with rocket, roasted pear and fior de latte –  hand-crafted with 24-hour fermented dough bases baked in lava-stone ovens and house-made pappardelle, smothered with braised beef shin ragu and parmesan. Dining seamlessly shifts from la famiglia lunches and cool dinner dates to post-10pm late night pizza, drinking and dancing. The buzzy, front-entrance bar recreates classic Mediterranean tastes, mixing curated liquors and Campari-based blends with local fruits and citrus; try the aromatic, house Negroni.

Mains from RP117,000 [USD9].

Daily lunch 12pm to 3pm; Dinner, 5pm to 10pm; Late Night Pizza+ Disco, 10pm to 1am.

#170 Jalan Petitenget, Petitenget, tel: +62 361 3021299, www.damariabali.com

 

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