Friday, March 23, 2012

Taste of Bali, God I love the place!

Jo and I travelled for our fifth time together to Bali in late February – March staying at a beautiful resort Kamandalu in Ubud for five nights, followed with a seven night stay at the Royal Beach Resort Seminyak.
Tasting plates Nomad's Ubud
Our trips to Bali are as much about eating as it is relaxing by a pool or visiting interesting places, and in previous years we have favoured some top notch restaurants such as Ku De Ta, La Lucciolla and Ultimos with a smaller traditional warung thrown in here or there.  In 2012 we decided, or maybe it was me? That we would like to try a bit more authentic Indonesian food and I was so glad we did, Indonesian food is bloody awesome!  We did have one night at a long time favourite, Ultimo in Seminyak, but I was disappointed, it may have been the fact it rained so hard we had to wait 30 minutes just to cross the road, and then when we did it was by being escorted across by the parking dude with an umbrella.  Then once seated inside we were on the edge of the restaurant and still had rain coming in a bit, it made things a tad uncomfortable, but the Italian food that has so excited me on so many occasions at this great restaurant, just seemed a little bland when compared to some of the wonderful soups and curries we had been eating.
We found a few good places to eat in Ubud, being the first time we stayed here we were a bit unsure of where to go so for the first couple of days just went with the look of a place and judged by how many people where eating there, or how nice a view we had.

For our five nights in UBud, there was only one meal that was less than satisfactory and that was when we were too tired to go out, so we ate at the restaurant in the hotel, we had eaten here before and I was really impressed with their Indonesian styled seafood, one dish in particular BBQ scallops with watermelon salad was fantastic.  This night though, I had a Western dish and it was woeful at best, the steamed vegetables had sand in them and the meat was like leather.  But on the bright side, we had a fantastic lunch at a place called Clear Café, this is a real greenies joint, just about everything was organic and they did not serve alcohol, which was fine as we had had some big days!  The place was really interesting inside, all the tables were different, some were chunks of threes , others slabs of stone and a real multi cultural mix when it came to the cliental, absolutely loved this place and I haven’t mentioned the food yet!  The food was hands down the best within the township of Ubud of all that we tried, that does not include our day at Lobong of course!  The Thai curry soup I had was the best Thai curry soup I have had anywhere, I followed up with a Tuna Steak with Garlic Mash and a Daikon Salad, this was also a great dish, the sauce on the fish looked like it was straight out of a bottle, but it did not taste that way, it was yum, though the tuna could have been a little rarer for my liking, but I loved the meal.  We had read some reviews about this place and people were complaining about the price, I could not believe it for a three course lunch for two with a YUM YUM smoothie was less than 30 bucks and the food was awesome!

Another place we found walking down the main drag, I spied a beautiful garden whilst peaking over a fence and then found a few meters along the road a gate with a sign inviting us in to have a look, it was a water lily pond out the front of a beautiful temple, absolutely gorgeous it was.  After walking around taking 327 photos we noticed a café off to the side, it was early, but it was so hot I heard a Bintang calling, a couple of large ones later I had become so impressed by the place we came back that night for dinner.  The Temple had one of them dances on with all the bells and men screeching, if you wanted to pay 80,000Rp each you could have a table out the front, I got a table at the back, to get as far away from the bells as I could, we could still see the dance and I threw the 160K we saved into a bottle of plonk for Jo Girl, a bottle of Jacobs Creek.

It was a good choice for dinner, the food was great I started with a Soto Ayam soup, another new favourite, and followed up with an Indonesian Fish Curry in banana leaves and rice, and a fresh fruit salad with vanilla ice cream for dessert.  Funny thing was Jo found it hard to finish the wine off, this has never happened before, but since I introduced her to vodka orange and soda she had no hankering for her vino!!!  Not sure if that is a good thing or not, probably not after trying to swim in our pool villa when we didn’t have a pool, one rainy afternoon!
Nasi Goreng - Me'Nu Seminyak

Bintnag's by the pool


Bintang anytime!
Babi Guling, BBQ at the beach

Beef Rendang, lunch by the pool, horny looking chilli!
Nasi Goreng, lunch by the pool

Mud Crab, @ 9 bucks an awesome meal
even if it does get messy!
Sishimi - Dhana Seminyak

Tempura Seafood and Veg - Dhana Seminyak

After walking around Ubud back country, I reckon it is a good thing the Indo’s love their rice, there is so much of the bloody stuff planted, every nook and cranny seemed like it had a puddle with a rice plant in it, I miss it though, looking back through some photos to jog my memory whilst I write this makes me sad, makes me want to be there, to wake up to the hustle and bustle of Melatsi Street being drowned out by them bloody bells, the humidity and heat, the smells, the cold Bintangs, the cool pools, the daily massage, the food, glorious food, take me back , take me back!!!

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