|| home-style steaks; to crepes
and tingling Thai curries. Japanese, Indian, French, Mediterranean,
Classical European, Italian, Swiss, Mexican, Spanish,
Moroccan, even Brazilian restaurants are also well represented
among local eateries.
The comprehensive, opinionated and one-of-a-kind restaurant
review website Bali Eats (www.balieats.com)
maintains detailed listings and reviews of over forty
food and dining categories, including ethnic restaurants
as wildly diverse as Cuban, Irish and Turkish!
Visiting a restaurant in most western cities often results
in having to endure very ordinary food at excessive prices.
In Bali we are indeed privileged. Even at the island’s
very best dining establishments, the cost of dining is
a fraction of what you would pay in any major city.
The stunning views and serene settings are thrown in for
A Moveable Feast of Venues
Between Candidasa in the far-east and Tabanan in the west,
from the southern coastal strip to Lovina in the far north,
Bali offers a mind-stupefying variety of settings that
will hold the interest of convention attendees and make
for indelible travel memories.
Bali boasts continental-style, fully enclosed air-conditioned
boutique restaurants with leather-bound menus; smoky,
convivial, grilled seafood cafes within sound of the sea;
dining venues in the mountains under a towering bamboo
groves; or a meal on the edge of a spectacular river gorge.
Several are designed after the décor of a Balinese
court or Javanese style private home, with distinctive
tempoe doeloe colonial furnishings and intimate, formally
dressed tables with crisp white tablecloths surrounded
by lagoons and waterfalls. Restaurants may be located
at the bottom of a cliff face down a long zigzagging stairway
or at the end of a 40-metre-long ironwood quay with outriggers
outlined against the sky.
The Ultimate in Fusion Cuisine
Bali is a microcosm of Indonesia’s great cornucopia
of island cooking traditions. As well as Balinese cuisine,
expect to sample Javanese, Sumatran (Padang), Sumatran
(Sundanese) as well as superb Chinese food. But in terms
of subtlety, variety and creativity - the Balinese use
of spices in the kitchen holds a high rank among Indonesia’s
varied cuisines. It’s also becoming much easier
to find Western-oriented Balinese food. Where else but
Bali would you encounter soups made from green papayas
or banana stems?
It’s also common for restaurants to include a choice
of vegetarian items on their menus. Chinese-style dishes,
in particular, are quite adaptable and can easily be ordered
without meat. The majority of restaurants have tofu and
high protein tempe (fermented soybean cake) in the kitchen
which they can prepare in very tasty ways.
Bali even has its own enthusiastic and enterprising winemaker
which uses only locally grown grapes from the vineyards
of north Bali.
A Host of Options
Bali’s stand-alone and hotel restaurants are well
experienced in hosting groups of almost any size. A different
theme is on offer each night of the week, often accompanied
by lively theatre or dance troupes that will enhance the
business phase of any gathering and turn the evening into
a total dining-out experience.
Meeting venues range from a simple beach
repast to a more vibrant and worldly new generation of
ethnic restaurants. For special events and meetings, the
setting could be as modest as a stylish café or
as opulent as a regally appointed raja’s court.
|| A culinary
event that has great appeal to innovative event planners
is an evening centred on the famed Rijstaffel, literally
“rice table,” an Indonesian smorgasbord made
of spiced regional dishes. This dining experience-cum-
cultural event is a legacy of Dutch colonial times when
pomp and ceremony were the order of the day. |
A Nice Place to Unwind
New visitors are quick to discover that there is an exciting
nightlife in the coastal resorts of southern Bali where
they can find anything from ultra-casual jazz cafes and
upscale hotel lounges with private air-conditioned VIP
rooms, to laid-back outdoor all-day cafes facing a sandy
beach crowded with yoga practitioners, to sun worshippers
and rowdy groups of volleyball and soccer players.
For the more reflective, what more awesome place to linger
over drinks than one of the dining venues on the edge
of the mammoth Batur volcanic crater?
Bali also has no shortage of straight-to-the-beer places
just to kick back and relax. For some serious non-stop
revelry, the busiest “party” streets are vibrant
Jalan Abimanyu and Jalan Double Six in stylish Seminyak,
a short drive up the road from Kuta, where new cocktail
bars and futuristic music clubs seem to be popping up
every month. Hipsters gather at the lively jazz clubs
of Sanur and Ubud.
Before the evening really kicks in, roadside stalls are
gathering points for taking in all the visual and auditory
activity of the street. Atmospheric hotel bars and fantasy
garden cafes with candlelit tables, where casual dress
is a given and soft dreamy music perfectly suits the mood,
are also popular end-of-day meeting venues for martinis
or a nice bottle of red from Chile, Australia or France.
But if you really want to be in the thick of things Kuta’s
after-dark singles crowd heads for one of the island’s
off-beat discothèques or boisterous dance bars
pulsating with neon, high tech lighting and kinetic energy.
Bali Unplugged & Laid Back
No matter what kind of band music you’re craving,
Bali’s live music venues have something for everyone:
dynamic hip hop, soulful reggae, laid back world beat,
gritty R & R and punk rock, spicy salsa or smooth
house music playing the old soft rock classics.
On the other hand, if a quiet game of pool or darts, a
pint of ale, traditional Irish music and some hearty company
are in order, there’s an authentic Irish pub in
Tuban. For virtually any kind of music there’s a
Bali venue that will arrange a special event with live
As an added bonus when meeting with friends and colleagues,
Bali’s music venues and relaxed cafes are peerless
places for people-watching, front row seats on the island’s
vibrant and entertaining international tourist culture.
On Bali, where the atmosphere means as much as the meal
and the patrons themselves are very much part of the décor,
come savour a whole world of dining and entertainment
pleasure on one island. On the ‘island of the gods’,
the night is always young.
Selamat makan! Selamat menikmati!