You’d be forgiven for thinking lately, that I’ve been living the ridiculous life of an International jetsetter… Well yes, I will admit, I’ve scored some pretty sweet gigs lately, however my recent trip to Bali wasn’t work, it was more of a non negotiable by-product of my MKR win.
Let me explain…
Firstly, being the super traditionalists we are, Cory and I decided to have a baby first (actually, fate decided this one…) then get married, therefore dissolving any possibility of an actual honeymoon.
Secondly, Cory and I spent half of last year living apart, in separate Australian states.
This type of absence was pretty tough to take, so we felt the time was nigh to leave our beautiful babies for a week with their beloved grandmother, and skip town on a Balinese, man and wife R&R Vay-kay.
Kicking up our collective holiday heels consists of two very important aspects for Cory and I… Eating and Drinking.
Now, I would love to tell you, that we go to Bali and ingest nothing but Indonesian cuisine, but it would be a big, fat lie.
No, what I truly love about Bali, is that thanks to all the expats, the dining options there are like a meeting of the UN, and dependent on your mood, you can devour anything from fine dining BBQ to Organic Vegan and then top off every evening with a cocktail, in any number of bars that would rival the world’s best.
Do not get me wrong, I adore Indonesian cuisine.
At our wedding Cory and I treated our guests to Babi Guling and a traditional Balinese Rijsttafel.
I love to eat local food when I’m in Bali, but I also like to eat Mexican too… Sorry!!
And, because Bali has become such a food lovers mecca, and because we were only there for 6 days, Cory and I decided early on that the only way to explore all the new restaurants we wanted to dine at, and revisit our old faithfuls at the same time, was to eat progressively.
We rarely ate our fill in one establishment, instead preferring to have entrée, main and dessert in separate eateries… for every meal.
Now, this dining exercise wasn’t as difficult as one might think. All you require are two things… a scooter, and a serious appetite.
We travelled from restaurant to restaurant, sharing dishes and eating more food than what is socially acceptable, but feeling no remorse… That is, until I got home and weighed myself.
I put on 2kgs in a week… But, yes, it was worth it.
I’m also not gonna lie, there are certainly cheaper ways to do Bali, however we were both of the mindset, we’re here for a good time, not a long time… Second honeymoon and all that…
Anyhoo, I’m not going to spend this post telling you about all the tried and true Balinese Hot Spots, because quite frankly they are all well documented and you’ve no doubt tested them personally or already have them on your wishlist…
Yes, Espresso Martini’s at Potato Head are among the best I’ve ever tasted and for that matter, we all know Ku De Ta will never let you down in the food and drink stakes either.
Pizza and Pasta at Ultimo in Seminyak is not only super cheap but totes delish… everytime.
Nomad in Ubud, Ginger Moon, Sardine… Dear God give me more!
No, instead, I’m just going to give you the 3 dining highlights of our trip.
These are places you may, or may not already know about. They are three gorgeous gems, that were new to me and will forever more be on our Bali repertoire.
So without further ado…
Note To everybody: Please forgive my shizen night photography… I have no excuse, I just suck.
1. The most ridonculous chargrilled BBQ ever… Pika Tapas in Nusa Dua.
Five glorious years ago, when Cory and I tied the knot, a large number of our guests (and all of them serious foodies) dined at this restaurant and everybody raved.
We’ve been back to Bali a couple of times since, but Nusa Dua always seemed like too much of a mission for just one meal, so we never made the trip to dine there ourselves… How foolish we have been.
Pika Tapas is nestled away in Bali Collection, a Nusa Dua shopping mall (This is a shame, because this restaurant would equal perfection if it was on the beach somewhere…). I have to say, ordinarily eating at a mall would be an absolute deal breaker for me (and therefore I will deduct a point), but then I’d be missing out… and so would you.
Upon arrival, they have a massive charcoal BBQ set up out the front with all manner of tasty beasts (and pineapple and corn…how darling!) on gigantic skewers. The smell is mesmerizing.
You are then seated with a little buzzer on your table. You ring a bell, and from all corners of the restaurant staff come running with the skewers, so they can freshly carve the meat straight onto your plate.
Yes, they have a delightful salad bar, but WHY would you waste your stomach space on salad, when you have ribs so tender, you just suck the meat clean off the bones.
It’s a carnivorous paradise.
They also serve À la carte, but I didn’t even look at the menu. I was all about colon clogging churrasqueria, and LOTS of it.
Bree’s Verdict… Overall, it was inexpensive, memorable and truly worth the subsequent meat coma… 8/10
2. Crabs n’ more at the Crab Bar on Jalan Batubelig
Now let me start by saying, that in all the years that I’ve been travelling to Bali, I’ve always held a firm conviction that if my feet aren’t in the sand at Jimbaran then I’m not prepared to entertain a seafood meal.
I think now, that my belief system is a little outdated, because this restaurant is an unlikely shellfish hero, and it’s nowhere near the beach…
Cory was on a solo Seminyak scoot when he stumbled across this place. He came back to me with tales of Yabbie’s in Garlic Butter and Louisiana Crawfish Boils, and we made the immediate decision to return.
Local mud crab, yabbie’s and prawns all boiled together in a bag with a butter of your choice, then laid out in front of you with a hammer and a bib.
It was like a sacrificial offering. It would appease even the angriest of Gods.
We all still had full beers after eating, because nobody could stop shoveling food into their mouths for long enough to drink. We even resorted to licking butter from the table itself… true story.
The Crab Bar is another restaurant that would benefit from a more centralized location, as I fear their out of the way locale is probably detrimental to their business. I pray they are still there when we go back next year with the kiddies, because I will dream of those butter drenched Yabbies until we return.
Bree’s Verdict… Not the cheapest of Balinese establishments, but so worth it. Do yourself a serious favour and get this absolutely finger licken’ shellfish into your gluttonous gob… 9/10
3. Sate on the street in Seminyak
I don’t think I need to tell you, that street food in Bali is like Russian roulette. Perhaps this is the reason why the restaurant culture is so strong over there.
We’ve all heard stories of the seasoned travellers who can eat yaks feces in Tibet, but dine off a food cart in Ubud and spend the next week in hospital battling for survival.
Bali is notorious for poisoning its patrons (Bali Belly anyone…), so if you are out for some seriously cheap nosh, you need to know exactly where to go.
We were in Bali with two of our very good friends, Johnny and Dem. John has a mate with a Balinese partner, who put John onto, what he described as Bali’s best sates.
After trying them myself, this outrageous claim isn’t such a stretch.
The cart has no name, all I can do is tell you where it is, every single night from 7pm.
Off Jalan Raya Seminyak, almost directly across from Pantarei Greek restaurant, in a little alleyway between the Rip Curl and Billabong shops.
There will probably only be locals present. You can dine in, on the plastic tables they’ve set up, or takeaway a precious little parcel (as we did).
It’s 20’000 Rupiah for 10 chargrilled sates (equates to less than AU$2) and a choice between lamb or chicken. And, trust me there is no dog or cat here, unless it tastes like chicken and lamb…
Cory and I chose 10 of each, and I can’t tell you which I loved more.
All I know is that now, a Bali trip for us will not be complete without a visit to this cart. They are quite simply, divinely delicious. I am now forever indebted to Johns friend, for sharing his sate secret.
Bree’s verdict… Don’t think about it, just do it… 10/10
Lastly, I must give a notable mention to Chandi for their Soft Shell Crab Wrap in homemade Roti. Cory and I demolished this AU$5.50 dream in less time than it takes, to actually say Soft Shell Crab Wrap. They also serve a mean lunch time cocktail. Delicious.
So, there you have it. Bali on any budget peeps.
And, I will attest, that for the foreseeable future at least, my Aussie feet will now be firmly planted on local ground…
Until Friday xxx
For more delicious details on where to eat and what to do in Bali please visit the following link… http://www.thebalibible.com/
PICA TAPAS BAR & CHURRASQUERIA
Bali Collection, Kawasan BTDC
Bali – Indonesia
CRAB BAR BALI
Jalan Batu Belig No. 106
Seminyak, Bali 80361
Tel:+62 361 8499 316
Email: firstname.lastname@example.org or email@example.com