It shames me that I managed to pass eight weeks in one of Indonesia’s most renowned culinary locations and didn’t manage to post a single blog. I blame the hedonistic lifestyle of Ubud, how you can flit from one café to the next sampling organic, vegan or just straight-up delicious delights without a second thought or even second’s walk away. Not to let the opportunity go unchecked, however, I’ve decided to compile some of my best picks into a single blog, the ultimate cheat-sheet for visiting foodies who are lucky enough to stop by.
Brunches, cafes and coffee
There are three standouts in this category for the late-riser, someone who enjoys whiling the morning away with a newspaper, magazine or, let’s be realistic, smart-phone in hand. For the weekend brunch lover, try The Elephant Café on Jl Raya Singgingan, which serves up a feast of vegetarian delights including a smoky eggplant toasty and a green-vegetable fry-up, topped with a silky poached egg. The coffee is good, too, with your choice of soy, almond or plain old cows milk, sipped overlooking Campuhan Ridge. For those who prefer streetscape over mountains, or are perhaps more inclined to brunch with hi-speed wifi, then Rio Helmi Café is the perfect stop on Jl Suweta. Framed by stunning photographs from across the globe shot by Rio himself, the café is simple and unassuming, featuring some gorgeous Mediterranean-style breakfast delights, including a sesame salt that will change your life. Lastly, if it’s a sweet tooth you’re catering for, then be sure to pop in to Ubud’s famous Casa Luna, owned by celebrated foodie Janet DeNeefe. Look no further than the fridge of sweets that face the bustling Jl Raya Ubud, packed with lime tart, cinnamon scrolls, donuts and chocolate croissants.
Lunches and something light
With so many places to lunch available, it’s hard to wheedle a list of favourites down. I’ve blogged about Sari Organic already, which if you’ve got the time to wander through rice paddies for half an hour or so, ends with a delicious plate of food picked straight from the garden that surrounds you. Company aside, KAFE makes some excellent lunch dishes, including a pan seared tuna salad with green beans that just about blew my mind. Find a spot on the loungers upstairs, where you can sit overlooking the popular tourist strip, Jl Hanoman. For something local, pop into Warung Garasi on Monkey Forest road, where you can be served up a plate of fried egg, tofu, beansprouts and a dollop of peanut sauce for just RP15,000.
Dinner and dessert
As my favourite meal of the day, dinner has the difficult task of filling me up without making me feel unable to do anything except roll straight into bed, especially on a Friday night. It couldn’t be my most visited restaurant in Ubud without topping the list, so Taco Casa wins the ultimate seal of approval for their black bean beef tacos and cheesy quesadillas. Even better is that they home deliver – right down to their potent margaritas. If you’re not in the mood for Mexican, then you can stroll across Jl Raya Pengosekan to Mamma Mia’s italian, where their food fire pizzas are served quickly and with generous dollops of sauce, cheese and topping. For those in search of a more romantic night out, Kebun is a French-inspired bistro with an impressive choice of wines, buttery seared fish and juicy red meats. Satisfy your sweet tooth by popping past Semua Jean on Jl Bisma, where their specials include a deep-fried apple spring roll topped with ice-cream and fresh strawberries, or getting a take away scoop for Gelato Secrets, who are always experimenting with new and locally inspired flavours.