Sarah Douglas celebrates six of Bali’s best original dream venues for great food.
The Oberoi Bali
The original complex which is now. The Oberoi Bali was built in 1972, making it the island’s oldest luxury hotel, but it wasn’t initially designed as a hotel, but rather a cluster of luxury villas. The first Bali resort designed by Australian architect Peter Muller, this was an eye opener for many in the industry, reflecting classical Balinese architecture and traditional elements. Built on the sands of Seminyak beach long before it was a tourist destination, it sits on sacred land and has an incredible, colourful history that includes being overtaken by hippies in the ‘70’s. The Oberoi today is every bit as luxurious and inviting as it was designed to be. With 74 luxurious villas built across the seafront, surrounded by walls for privacy, it is also a destination for food lovers. The restaurant is famed for its Indian and Indonesian dishes and rightfully so; authentic, delicious and refined they reflect the traditions of the island and the Oberoi group. Long-term executive Chef Enrico Wahl has a lot more in his culinary arsenal however and guests who choose the Chef’s menu are in for a fine dining experience that challenges the very best Bali restaurants. Mentor to many of today’s shining stars on Bali’s dining scene, Wahl is a craftsman who embraces modern techniques and classic cooking. Sitting in the open-air wantilan-style dining room, overlooking the gardens and the ocean beyond, really is one of Bali’s most memorable dining experiences.
Tel: +62361730361 www.oberoihotels.com Yak Map O.9
Architect Peter Muller had refined his Balinese aesthetic by 1989 when he designed the Amandari, the second Aman property to open and the first in Indonesia. With the classic hallmarks of Balinese resort architecture, pathways lead to private walled villas, classic gateways and sculptural elements form the perfect antidote to Ubud’s busy streets and the location captures Bali at its most beautiful. Its restaurant set a new tone for Ubud, serving refined dishes inspired by Indonesian cuisine; it was long regarded as the finest dining room in Ubud. Today a new league of chefs continues to redefine Indonesian food alongside a sophisticated western menu and a fine list of wines and cocktails. Sitting at their dining room, overlooking the moonlit pool that overlooks the stunning Sayan gorge is still a celebration of Bali, fine dining and warm, genuine hospitality. Expect a very personal artisanal experience, whether you stop in for afternoon tea or stay for dinner.
Tel: +62361975333 www.amandari.com
“My hotel is my living room, my guests are my friends,’ said Tandjung Sari’s founder Wija Wawo-Runtu, a man who would become world famous for his guest list. In its day it played host to some of the biggest celebrities on the planet, including Mick Jagger and David Bowie, who were regular guests. Tandjung Sari is Sanur’s graceful queen in a legacy that marks Sanur as Bali’s first luxury tourist destination. Opened in 1962, paying homage to its Indonesian roots, the hotel is a step back in time yet still beautifully maintained. It is still owned and managed by the Wawo-Runtu family and these roots run deep. Elegant lunches overlooking Sanur beach are a mainstay for many local residents, and starlit dinners offer some of the island’s most authentic theme nights. Beautifully executed Indonesian dishes rule this menu and highlights include the chance to enjoy the multi-course rijstaffel, Balinese banquet menus and live wok nights. Stunning performances accompany many dinners, from Keroncong orchestras to soulful Legong dances and Jazz performances. To dine at Tandjung Sari is to say you have joined the generations who have embraced Balinese culture and Indonesia’s culinary traditions. You have dined with stars.
Tel: +62361288441 www.tandjungsarihotel.com
It began as a roadside food stall and spawned an empire that went beyond the humble warung’s expectations. Made’s Warung is credited with being the first to begin serving western dishes to satisfy the army of surfers who discovered Kuta Beach in the late 1960s and ‘70s. It became a landmark; a meeting place and it grew to feed generations of tourists who arrived in the white wash of the early surf community. Today the original Kuta site is a classic warung with staggered seats and an Indo/Western menu. When Made married Peter, a Dutch national, the warung became a restaurant and continues to grow in popularity. The Seminyak restaurant opened 10 years ago. A large emporium and sprawling restaurant, the second location cemented its fame and welcomed the second generation of the family, with the third now in the wings. It still serves one of the island’s best nasi campur, the classic soto ayam sings with flavour, pork ribs to steaks and seafood are spiced in numerous ways and the vast menu offers something for everyone, from comfort food to Indonesian classics. From breakfast to lunch and dinner, Made’s is an institution in Bali that is well worth a visit. I pay special homage to their pancakes, anything but humble, and the staff, many of who have worked at Made’s for decades.
Tel: +62361732130 www.madeswarung.com Yak Map V.11
Warisan meets Metis
When Warisan first opened on Jl. Raya Kerobokan, many thought it was a long way from anywhere. Nevertheless we went, for the parties and the fabulous Italian menu. The partners, owners of Warisan furniture, created a space filled with beautiful antiques, a long bar and a pretty open garden. Moving forward a dynamic duo, Said, front of house, and Chef DouDou, arrived and the open-air venue morphed into an elegant French restaurant. As with many good things, the partnership with Warisan came to an end and the boys made the move to new premises and set up Metis restaurant around the corner. In Jl. Petitenget In the huge growth cycle that is Bali, Warisan and Metis are now located on two of Bali’s busiest streets. In the last few years Warisan has struggled with its culinary identity but the arrival of a second-generation expat from the family behind iconic venues like SIP and The Living Room has welcomed a new crowd with the speakeasy-style Rebenga Lounge and Kitchen concept. At Metis, many of the classics from the previous Warisan menu remain, including one of my personal all-time favourites, their pan-fried foie gras with apple and raspberry vinaigrette. The DNA of both these venues speaks of Bali’s formative years, when a good glass of wine was hard to find and both the expat community and visitors would travel far for fine food.
Tel: +623614737888 www.metisbali.com Yak Map U.3
It may be a more recent addition, built in the mid ‘90s, but there is little doubt that La Lucciola changed the way we dined in Seminyak. The lofty, two-storey open building on Seminyak’s beachfront was built at the end of a dusty gravel track when Seminyak was still an outer suburb, its only neighbor The Oberoi Hotel. With the opening of La Lucciola, breakfast became a thing, a meal you went out for. Suddenly we had great coffee, immaculate service, a modern Italian menu and best of all, a thoughtful wine list. When two friends, Stephen and Jeremy conceived this iconic Bali restaurant they clearly had an inkling that change was coming; that Seminyak would become a hot spot, that diners would be in search of more sophisticated dining options, while a wide sea view sealed the deal. La Lucciola is still on the list for most Bali expats and a must visit for many visitors. It holds its own in so many ways, for breakfast, brunch, long lunches, casual coffee mornings, dining under the stars and special celebrations. It’s a classic for all the right reasons and judging by the steady stream of visitors, that is unlikely to change. The beautiful open-air restaurant is as stylish today as the day it was opened and the standards of food, service and drinks continue to challenge all newcomers.
Tel: +62361730838 Yak Map N.7
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