It wasn’t only the markets that had me hooked in Ubud, the real surprise was in the number and variety of amazing places to eat. I could have spent the whole seven days that I was there eating. What I did discover though is that Bali does not do iced coffee. Now I know that when we travel to places foreign we should be prepared to eat and drink the local food, not expect them to pamper to our sometimes outlandish requests. But iced coffee – come on, just one indulgence. The first time I ordered it, at a resort in Kuta, I was given a glass of cold black coffee with a small jug of sugar syrup, so I was reluctant to try again. It was the photo on the menu card at Bar Luna in Ubud though that convinced me that ordering an iced coffee was worth another try, and this time I wasn’t disappointed. Tucked away behind the market, on Jalan Gootama, in Ubud, Bar Luna is one of three eateries in Ubud owned by Australian Janet De Neefe. As its website http://www.casalunabali.com/ announces, this is ‘the local hot spot for literary musing, tasty tapas, cocktails and more’. For the best iced coffee in Ubud, and possibly the whole of Bali, you can’t go past it.
Another of Janet De Neefe’s creations, at the other end of the scale, is Indus, a well known restaurant, just a few minutes from the centre of Ubud. With stunning views over the Tjampuhan River this reataurant offers a mix of Indonesian and Western dishes. You can relax on Balinese lounges, heaped with colourful cushions, positioned around low tables or choose a table on the deck overhanging the river gorge. A Margareta in hand, a Balinese sunset and a breathtaking view, what more could you ask for?
Ubud does views well, and if you can sip on a cold drink while you take in the view all the better. Within walking distance of the Ubud market, if you’re not too footsore after the shopping, Bridges, a terraced restaurant overlooking the lush green of the river bank, offers casual fine dining and another one of those views (http://bridgesbali.com/). Whatever you are after in the way of food or drink, this place can do it. Not only breakfast, lunch and dinner but nibbles, cocktails, afternoon tea, even ice cream is available at any time of the day. What struck me about Bridges was their willingness to accommodate. Fourteen of us turned up there at around 9.00pm with no booking. We walked in anticipating a few issues. Some of us wanted dinner, others just dessert, some wanted coffee and cake while others were looking forward to a glass of wine or
possibly a cocktail. The first question, did they have room for a party that large, was answered in minutes. The French manager was summoned from somewhere, under his direction tables were pushed together on the terrace and, hey presto, we were seated. No fuss. Next question, could we have separate bills? Again, not a problem, they simply took each of our names with our orders. The manager himself took many of the orders and they arrived promptly and with a smile and friendly conversation. Nothing was too much trouble for these friendly, smiling staff. Young Australian chef Nicolas Lazzaroni presides over the kitchen and, on our second visit for a farewell dinner, even made the time to come out and say hello.
Other eateries well worth a visit in Ubud would be Casa Luna, also a Janet De Neefe establishment, the Lotus Café ( http://cafelotusubud.com/), upmarket Mozaic ( http://www.mozaic-bali.com/) and Minami, if you’re after Japanese ( http://www.minami-bali.com/entrance/entreetest.html)
This list comes nowhere near being an indication of the variety and choice available when it comes to eating in Ubud. There are only so many meals you can eat on one visit though so take the time to look around, you may be pleasantly surprised by what you find.
Added snippet of information:
For those interested in everything literary, Bar Luna will be hosting the 9th annual Ubud Writers and Readers Festival from 3rd – 7th October 2012. This international festival holds book launches, workshops and performances, with writers and readers attending from around the world. For further information check out http://www.ubudwritersfestival.com/