Guide to Eating & Drinking in Seminyak Bali 2014 – Jo Bayley

Having been in Seminyak just one year ago, I was curious to see how much could change, and, are there any new hot spots that are a must to check out.

First of all the new international airport in Denpasar has opened.

This is much more comfortable, but the queue to obtain an on arrival visa is still as long and as painful as ever. We decided to use the fast track visa again.

You can either pre book prior to arriving, or you may be approached when you are inside the terminal. We had booked, but our contact was not there to meet us.

We were approached by another man who helped us through.

It does cost an extra USD$50 on top of your USD$25 per person visa on arrival, but it takes less than 10 minutes instead of up to an hour wait on a busy day.

We did ask to see the gentleman’s official credentials, which I would highly recommend. Also, have the correct money as no change is given.

Once through customs, we found our driver Eddie, who was pre arranged via the villa we had chosen to stay in.

A pick up always makes things easier, especially after a long flight. If one is not already organised, it is usually easy to email and arrange a driver for a small sum.

This year we chose to stay on Jalan Petitenget at Villa Allira. A stunning one bedroom residence with soaring ceilings, private pool and sumptuous stone bathtub. This property is easy living luxury, and the location spot on.

Basically a few doors down from our favourite bar, Potato Head Beach Club, we thought it only fitting to toast our first night in Bali with sunset drinks at this stunning location.

We loved it last year, and this year was no different! Watching the sun go down here is truly gorgeous, a blaze of pinks, oranges and reds. Facing west it never disappoints.

We decided to pre-book a few of our restaurants before coming, which I would recommend.

Many of the popular places are full, or as we found out, closing for renovation before the high season.

We had wanted to dine at MamaSan last time but it was booked out, so we made it our first choice.

A beauty of two story proportions, MamaSan has a more casual feel compared to it’s big sister, the glamorous Sarong.

Arriving a little early, we were taken upstairs to a seat at the bar, where it was hard to choose a pre prandial from the solid beverage list.

Downstairs, it’s a leather chesterfield banquette, “World of Suzi Wong” style mural and a mouthwatering menu.

We found it hard to settle on our selection, as we could have ordered everything on this delectable menu!

In the end, snapper dumplings, Peking duck and minced pork in betel leaves as starters were the winning trifecta, followed by lemongrass crispy skin chicken, rice and stir fried asian vegetables as mains.

We loved it so much we rebooked for our last night. Let me tell you, it was just as fabulous.

This time we chose the pork belly and a tantalising beef stir-fry, neither disappoints.

Sarong the following night, was as wonderful as we remembered from two previous visits.

We had booked this too, which was fortuitous.

They were closing 2 nights later for renovations.

The only disappointment I had this year, was that they had taken my favourite cocktail off their list, no “Rupiah Billionare”.

First world problem!

My husband still rates it as one of his favourite restaurants in the world, amazing food, fab service, Sarong has WOW factor 5000!

I can’t wait to get back home and download “Inspirations”, the Asian foodie bible by head chef Will Meyrick.

As he says, “in a few easy clicks you’ll be chopping, simmering and serving your favourite Sarong signature faster than you can say Penang beef cheek curry”!

Vin is a restaurant, wine bar and retail located on Jalan Kayu Jati.

Supplying wines from all over the globe, it’s where to get your vino fix.

Another new kid on the block is Barbacao. Opposite Sardine, it is an impressive room.

High ceilings and a fabulous tiled floor make way to a larger dining room and soon to be revealed upstairs Tequila bar.

It’s definitely worth a look.

An entree of empanadas were very tasty so was the squid and sides of potatoes and vegetables.

The Asado (we had pork), which is the house specialty, had solid flavours, but to be brutally honest, was expensive for the portion size.

Also, they only cooked the lamb asado on the weekends, which, to quote Maggie Smith’s character on Downton Abbey “What is a weekend?” when you’re on holidays!

I’ll be interested to see how this place fares.

Sea Circus is still a fave of mine, serving shared plates and a great value wine list (literally unheard of in Bali). It was also lovely to see a familiar face, in our friendly waitress, who had served us the previous year. Just like a local!

[email protected] Head was tasty too! Try a four set of entrees for *AUD$19.50, then add a main, rice and asian greens, for two people, just right. An amuse bouche` of pomelo and tiny shrimp tantalised the taste buds!

Just opened “The Salty Seagull” a fish and chipper on Jalan Petitenget, is a nod to retro drive-in ramshackled revelry.

Housing a great outdoor area filled with picnic tables and flanked by a large screen showing pipeline classics, I think these guys are on a winner.

With items on the menu such as a bucket of prawns with house cocktail sauce to share for* AUD$20, bib’n’ baby back pork ribs for *AUD$9 or the the “salty’s fish & chipper”.

Fish of the day, grilled, crumbed or fried and triple cooked hand cut chips, house pickles, tatare sauce and a soft white roll, all yours for the cheeky sum of *AUD$8.50.

Add a “salty chocolate nemesis”, choc brownie, choc ice cream and salted caramel & almond praline for *AUD$5.50, and you’re ready to be tipped over and rolled home. Happy days!

We couldn’t go past lunch at Zucchini.

Gone are the yellow and white striped awnings, but staying, delicious food and buzzy atmosphere.

Go early before they run out of your favourite choices of salad.

We also went back to The Junction at Seminyak Square, and while it was good, I felt it had lost a little of it’s lustre.

Practically next door is newbie “Sisterfields”. With outdoor seating and a glasshouse feel, it will be one to watch.

Biku was delicious.

Set in a traditional room, it specialises in a mix of western favourites and Indonesian fare. The nasi goring was excellent, as was the grilled chicken with sambal accompaniments.

Biku is famous for its high teas and tarot readings. Make sure you book ahead for the latter, as it is often booked out.

We also took a trip to Canguu, north of Seminyak. If you’re into surfing, then this is the spot for you.

So, can I say Seminyak has changed in a year? Yes and no.

Still full of old favourites and definitely some new bright young things to add to the showgirl image.

Extra feathers in the boa, so to speak!

CiaoJo Bayley, Fashion Editor, The Culture Concept Circle, 2014

*all prices approximate at time of publishing.


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