Where can you go for some fab European fare? Livingstone I presume … writes Ondy Sweeting. Photos: Lucky 8.
RESTAURANTS and cafés seem to spring up across southern Bali like so many weeds. While some flower and fall, others blossom.
Livingstone Café and Bakery is an interesting collaboration between Anthony Pridubi and pastry chef Herdi Giri.
Livingstone is a delight to walk into as a purpose built cafe and bistro with parking and large verandas for al fresco dining. Vaulted ceilings and massive glass walls complete the picture of a stylish outfit that welcomes all with its timber, concrete and steel accents. Plus its cute little birdie logo.
Already the space has been recognised by Bali’s many wedding planners and party people and has been hired as a venue. It has hosted product launches, birthday parties, wedding and even a baby shower.
The natty area upstairs is tipped to fall into the hands of some Dutch folk looking to open a concept store plus a unique lounge for specialised coffee connoisseurs.
One corner of the large Petitenget warehouse-style building is given over to breads that range from hearty cereal loaves to long baguettes and baskets of croissants and pain au chocolat.
Livingstone opened just last year by two men who have long held loves for coffee and food, with a philosophy that everything is made from scratch and from thefinest ingredients.
“I only like to work with high quality products and we make sure that our stores are filled constantly, so we are well prepared to cater for crowds,” Herdi says.
A quick quiz reveals that Herdi hoards elite brands of flour from Belgium for the sweet line while the bread is made solely from flour sourced in Germany. The chocolate is Valhrona from France while the butter is Belgian.
These amazing morsels find themselves mixed and stirred into a startling array of cake store goodies including macrons, lamingtons, crème brulee cheesecake and a chocolate dome with mango inside. There is a welcome nod to French classics in the cool cabinet. Chef Giri also produces wonderful cakes for special occasions plus a range of seasonal treaties such as stollen and mince pies for Christmas.
“With Livingstone I have aim to transfer all of the standards that I learned while working in Europe,” Giri says.
Given that the bread is regularly sold out by 11am, clearly those standards are being well received by locals.
Livingstone is open for breakfast, lunch and dinner and sometimes the duo will put on some cool live jazz for a leisurely Sunday brunch while other days you can kick back to some Indie tunes.
Livingstone tries to please all palettes, particularly since its concept is to be family and friends orientated.
“We have a lot of space here with great parking so its is good for larger groups. We keep the vibe mellow which has also attracted people to use our lounge as a workspace too,” founder, Anthony says.
The menu reflects its three-meals-a-day service with pancakes, fruits and a full English breakfast available early, then to sandwiches, soups and salads for lunch. Dinner has a light touch with roasted salmon on a crunchy asparagus salad or some life sustaining fish and chips. There is also an All Day menu that includes plates of breads and dips, chunky potato wedges, battered quid and bruschetta.
Killer milkshakes and healthy juice blends keep the kids quiet while a wonderful range of teas makes this a convenient pit stop for an afternoon energy boost. “I lived in Sydney for ten years and really adopted that café lifestyle that is so prevalent there. I wanted to bring that to Bali,” Anthony says.
During one family visit to the island Anthony was introduced to Giri through his uncle who knew of his hunger to establish a café in sassy Seminyak.
“After meeting Chef Giri, I went back to Sydney thought about it for a week then we started talking. I came back and we got moving on the plan to open a large-scale café and bakery. It just made sense to put both of our passions into food and coffee and opening a restaurant,” Anthony says.
The name Livingstone is not the sort of random idea that a café owner might fall upon. “We thought that Cornerstore would be good originally but someone else had already taken it. I started to think about the explorer David Livingstone and that just seemed to resonate for us. We had our name before we opened the doors,” Anthony says.
Dreaming small is not in Anthony’s genes and he is already considering opening Livingstone’s in Surabaya, Singapore and Sydney. “Big dreams don’t start small.”