Meeting Mr Murray

Murray Knowles is the Kiwi front of house face at Barbacoa. MinYak caught up with him to talk food, surf, and why his venue is set to top the restaurant world in Bali.

Hi Murray, let’s get to it. When did you join Barbacoa?

That would be October 2014.

 What were you doing previously and what was your skill set?

I was GM for a 20 villa island resort in Fiji. It was very remote so you had to be very organised in advance, know how to fix everything with whatever you had at your disposal in order to keep the place running. If you were out of anything it took two days to get it, if it was available.

With guests paying huge money per night, one request missed could be a huge mistake with, for instance, a $3,000 plane flight for a bunch of flowers or a certain bottle wine. Never happened thanks to beautiful lady we called ‘aunty’ whose job it was just to look after that side of things.

First thoughts on arriving to Bali?

It has a peaceful vibe about it even in all the madness of the traffic etc, damn shame about the plastic and pollution in the ocean

Any change in those thoughts?

I discovered ‘old’ Bali on a few road trips and it’s more amazing than I ever expected. Still a damn shame about the plastic and pollution in the ocean but like Tahiti and other places in the Pacific when i first traveled there, it is very possible to make a change. I have seen it happen.


You’ve been an advocate of surf most of your life, so let’s go brands:

Hurley, Billabong wet suits, not that they are needed here but in NZ it’s cold. Chilli, Channel Island . . .

Best brand of board?


Best off the peg surf gear?

Hurley to surf in, Lost In Paradise out of the water.

Best shoes that are not for the beach?

Kind of uncool but Ecco is the shoe for when you’re  eight to 13hrs on your feet every day.

Best rashy?

Ha . . . I’ve never owned one. Just a T-shirt for me.

Breed of dog/cat?

Dog, Japanese Akita all the way.

Earliest childhood memory?

Family sailing trips in NZ. Great times.

Your favourite getaway spot in Bali?

Balian and another is secret . . . Can’t say, sorry.

You have 24 hours in Bali, splice them up into what you would do/where you would go in the time.

Wow ok. Surf Uluwatu, free dive Ahmed, jungle moto-x ride up to Bedugul, chill and surf Balian. If that’s all possible.

You have 30 seconds:  “Barbacoa tops other spots in Bali because…”

Our food is non-pretentious and is made and served with pride. My team here are the best I have ever worked with anywhere in the world, always happy and love working here, and that is passed on to everyone that enters the front door. For the future, with our new training programs for 2016, I expect the food and wine knowledge of our floor staff will take Barbacoa to a new level.

Many thanks for your time Murray.


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