Green Ginger, Bali

 

Finally my detox is over and I am dying to go out for dinner, but still want to keep things healthy so I meet up with a friend in one of our favourite catch-up spots – the garden of Green Ginger.   One of the first cafes to spring up in Berawa, Green Ginger is  a collaboration between Britta Boyer, a designer with a penchant for vintage, and Jonathan Russel, well known on the island as DJ Rock Solid.  You can still find him mixing it up at Ku de ta, but these days you are more likely to find him indulging in his passion for creating good food that is also good for you.

A hotch potch of styles and influences are at play, creating a unique space. Food is firmly of the Asian vegetarian persuasion; the vibe is quaint tea house – think ornate china tea pots, floral wall paper and tiered cake stands; while  retro beaded lamps and bird-themed art work create an antique feel. Much of the bric a brac, including the stamp collections, second hand books, and funky furnishings are also for sale.  The enchanted garden out back is filled with dappled sunlight, frangipani, scatter cushions, hanging plants and tinkering chimes, definitely a place for lingering. The picturesque Balinese temple that looms over the garden provides a fitting backdrop.

The vibe

What Green Ginger lacks in space, it makes up for in spirit. This is a cafe with soul! As Jonathon explains, he hopes to add “Positive energy as well as fresh flavours to the local food scene.” The cafe certainly isn’t going to change the world, but does act as an inspiration to others with its thoughtful environmental practices. Apart from Italian coffee, almost everything is sourced locally, and all dishes (including sauces and curry pastes) are made from scratch. A keen gardener, Jono has also been known to put together field trips to visit suppliers in Bedugul so visitors can learn about organic farming. He is also committed to recycling, sustainability and minimal impact, encouraging customers to bring their own containers for take away. In the spirit of community, local Balinese receive hefty discounts, and weekly free Indonesian classes help teach foreigners the lingo.

The Food

Good ethics aside, Green Ginger also served up fabulous food. I have been hooked on the Laksa since I first discovered the cafe a couple of years ago. Prepared Singapore style, this deeply aromatic coconut curry soup is thoroughly intoxicating, served with just a hint of chilli, wedges of tasty tofu, wilted bokchoy and sprigs of fresh dill. Big, fat Rice Paper Rolls are equally moreish packed with fresh vegetables and just a hint of mint, dipping sauces include a light and fragrant homemade peanut sauce. Tofu Puffs are delightfully fluffy, while Crunchy Corn Fritters are made with the plumpest corn kernels that really do burst with flavour, and are lovingly enhanced with thick homemade chilli jam. Salads include Yasai Sarada, a Japanese vegetable salad with seaweed, and the Mango Avocado Salad combining greens with the sweetness of mango and the crunch of snow peas and bean spouts.  For dessert we split a  Coffee, Cardamom and Ginger cake – it is truly extraordinary, even better when enjoyed with a pot of authentic chai.

Aside from Green Ginger, Jono also operates, Zucchini on Oberoi (famed for its salad bar) and the newly opened  Elephant inn Ubud (Will check it out soon.)

Green Ginger Noodle House

Jl Pantain Berawa 46

+62 3618446640

Bali Detox: Bali Buddha

During my detox Bali Buddha has been a great source of food, from organic ingredients to jamu kunyit, and supplements.  I live in Canggu so visit the Jalan Raya Semer store, but below is a review I wrote about their Ubud branch.

Bali Buddha Ubud

The founders of Bali Buddha spearheaded the organic movement in Bali when they opened this quirky and colourful café in Ubud in 1994, with a vision of supporting a healthy lifestyle for themselves, their families and their customers. Cosy corners are filled with bright purple cushions,  vibrant Buddha prints adorn the walls, magazines and well-being books fill the shelves, and a play area keep the little ones entertained. Western and Indonesian home style food is predominantly vegetarian, as well as being wholesome, nutritious, MSG free and seriously tasty. Organic produce is sourced from local farms and they promote and support recycling, fair trade and a number of social and environmental programs throughout Bali. You could say it’s a cafe with a conscience.These days Bali Buddha is a one stop holistic shop, also selling a range of bakery items, as well as natural food, beauty and household products, which are packed into bags made from recycled newspapers.

We visit the flagship cafe in Ubud, which sits on a quirky side street just off Jalan Raya Ubud. A purple staircase leads up to the split level cafe. The first floor provides a cosy intimate setting with sofas set into alcoves, a great place to curl up with a book from their small library or a newspaper, while the main dining floor overlooks a temple compound on one side, and the sidewalk below.

The menu features breakfasts, soups, salads, snacks, pastas, Indonesian dishes, sandwiches, burgers and a raw vegan food section. We start with a selection of health drinks. There is a deep green Super food Smoothy with spirulina and ginseng; a bright yellow Jelly Belly made with aloe vera and a hint of turmeric; a very orange Blast and Last, high in vitamin C with orange, carrot and banana; and my favourite, the Superberry a purple, powerful antioxidant mix of berries.

Our Garden Salad arrives in a huge bowl brimming with fresh crunchy vegetables, seeds and edible flowers, topped with alfalfa sprouts and a slightly sweet red wine vinaigrette. We try the Nasi Campur next, and this Indonesian staple never looked so good, or tasted so healthy. Organic red rice, crunchy soy beans, grilled shredded coconut,  tofu and tempe, and green veggies served on a bed of leaves.

The Mediterranean plate provides a very different taste sensation and is colourful and thoughtfully presented with thick and creamy hummus and babaganoush served in banana-leaf bowls. Tasty marinated feta, tabouli, and fluffy pita bread complete the dish. The Tropical living fruit pie comes from the raw vegan food menu and is a sublime multi-layered concoction with a date and nut crust, ripe and sweet tropical fruit, and a creamy cashew nut topping sprinkled with coconut and almonds.

We round off our meal with some desserts, including the Most delicious carrot ever carrot cake which is dense and moist and lives up to its name; and a nutty, chewy Cashew Cardamom and Orange power ball. Our lunch has been so healthy we figure we deserve something a bit naughty and the smooth and rich chocolate mousse cake fits the bill perfectly.

Portions are generous and the prices are incredibly low considering the quality of the food and the fact that much of it is organic. If you are feeling too lazy to go out, Bali Buddha also offers a convenient home delivery service in Ubud and Kerobokan.

Bali Buddha is a place of sanctuary where ex-pats meet with friends, tourists take a break from their sightseeing, and increasing numbers of locals embrace the health food trend. We really enjoy the background music: a mix of blues, Indian, easy listening and soft jazz: and the ambience, which is overwhelmingly peaceful and relaxing, even as the restaurant fills with a lunchtime crowd. The focus here is on the food and sharing conversation, and Brenda describes the Bali Buddha experience as one of “Eating with presence.”

Green Credentials

Organic produce sourced from local farms and cottage industries.

90% of waste composted or recycled

Supporters of ‘Say No to Plastic’ and ‘Recycling Eco Bali/ABC.’

 www.balibuddha.biz

Bali Buddha, l Jembawan #1 Ubud +62 361 976324

Jl Banjar Anyar #24 Kerobokan  T 0361 8445936

Kayun restaurant: Heart Touch

Translating into something akin to ‘heart touch’ the founding philosophy of Kayun is that “Anything created with a heart will bring happiness, inner peace and positive energy.”

Unless you are lucky enough to be invited to a ceremonial meal in a village, finding a traditional Balinese dining experience can be surprisingly difficult. A visit to the Kayun Restaurant and Lounge in Mas gives a rare insight into the relationship between food and the divine. The setting is utterly enchanting, thatched berugas and a main dining pavilion set amidst a natural garden. Many of the products used at Kayun are homemade, from the brem (rice wine) to coconut oil to soy sauce, and you can watch women at work in the traditional open air kitchen fuelled by a log fire.

Our welcome drink is a rather potent Brem Mojito and we follow with some traditional jamus, including a Loloh Kayun Turmeric, a dark orange concoction made with turmeric, ginger and lemon, and a grassy green Loloh Kayun Saraswati sweetened with honey from Singaraja.

Food is beautifully presented, the Nasi Saraswati comes on a lotus leaf, topped with eight dishes woven from banana leaf. Each is an offering and pays tribute to the ocean, the river, trees, earth and sky, with turmeric rice, dry salty fish, river shrimp, grated coconut, crunchy soya beans, sambal and spicy chicken. The Lotus Rice is decoratively wrapped in a lotus leaf tied in a bundle. It’s a little like opening a birthday present to reveal rice that is slightly sweet and just a little spicy rice with pumpkin, carrot and tossed in coconut oil. The Vegetable Bamboo comes packed into a bamboo stem, blending the earthy goodness of cassava leaf with tofu and tempe and Balinese spice. While the Yuyu Crab is a fresh river crab soup beautifully served in a coconut. Other traditional dishes include Crispy Duck, Soto Ayam and Bubur Rempah, herb porridge made with red rice, star anise, sweet corn, cinnamon and chicken stock, and a Natural Daluman Pudding that takes its green colour from the dalaman leaf.

Mas is famed across Indonesia for its wood carving. As legend has it, in the 16th century, a monk named Danhyannirarta placed a wooden twig in the ground, which miraculously became a living tree filled with golden flowers. He took this as a sign that the people should put down their roots in this place, and call it Mas, meaning gold; and declared that the people who settled here would create their life from wood. As well as a restaurant, Kayun creates stunning works of art and sculptures lovingly carved from single tree trunks, so make sure to take a peek in the Bidadari Gallery at the entrance to the restaurant.

Little Green

In the three years that it has been open The Little Green Cafe has built a loyal following thanks to a fresh salad bar, friendly vibe, and delicious healthy desserts. With its relocation last year to a bigger space (just across the road from the original spot,) Little Green has blossomed –  quite literally – into the cafe it was always meant to be. Vines dangle in the vibrant garden, aloe vera spills out of  terracotta pots; basil and coriander thrive amidst the Buddha statues, and there are colourful garlands of flowers everywhere. Simple outdoor furniture is punctuated by sunbrellas, heart-shaped napkin holders and woven placemats.

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Little Green has always been a  gathering place, somewhere to sit down with friends and enjoy a good healthy meal in atmospheric, welcoming  surrounds.  Now there is room to breath, and the garden creates a true sanctuary –  its hard to believe we are just meters  from busy Jalan Mertanadi.  The concept remains the  same – home style whole foods, with daily changing salads and bakes, vegan burgers, healthy juicy elixirs. However, the menu, like the premises has expanded, with a recent shift  towards more raw vegan foods – including a huge range of delicious and nutritious desserts.  

 

We start with a Raw Mexican Platter, a new addition featuring  crunchy, locally made tortilla chips, home baked chilli beans, a sharp, piquant tomato sambal, fresh salsa and a creamy tahina and peanut sauce. I follow with the bake of the day – a light and tasty vegan Vegetable Lasagne made with eggless pasta, lashings of fresh vegetables and spinach. The rich creaminess coming from a cashew nut cheese and totally renders béchamel sauce obsolete!  I choose two side salads, Pumpkin & Pineapple, with rucola, lemongrass, cranberries and a hint of chilli, and Fennel, Beetroot Coleslaw, a bright, cheery and very red salad madewith lots of peppers, cabbage and beetroot.

 

I really enjoy the desserts which have a natural and earthy goodness. The moist and sticky Vegan Chocolate Cake is textured and flavoured with organic raw cacao and cashews, and sweetened with dates. While the Raw Vegan Strawberry Cheesecake is made with creamed cashews, vanilla, honey, almonds and dates set in a macadamia nut crust.  

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Drinks range from Young Coconut, to Aloe Vera, Orange and Apple and Green Juice, and there is also a small selection of nuts and pulses, teas and organic products for sale in the shop front. For those looking for a healthy kick start to the day The Little Green breakfast beckons with Cranberry Almond Porridge,  Apple, Date and Cinnamon Porridge.

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The Little Green Café  Jl Bidadari No 1. (off Jalan Mertanadi)

 

P +62 361  2752125  Open 9am – 6pm

 

Kopi Kultur

A number of charismatic warungs and cafes have sprung up in Kerobokan lately.  Kopi Kultur is one of them, and turns out to be the most wonderful of discoveries.

 

The rustic cafe is housed in a sloping bamboo structure and is part of the Wisnu Open Space which incorporates a gallery, a library and  headquarters for the Wisnu foundation. Set up to empower local communities, the Balinese foundation has a  range of initiatives including eco tourism that promotes traditional villages and their natural attractions, such as rice fields, organic coffee plantations and customary rituals.

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Ayip Budiman a communications expert, and one of the founders of Kopi Kultur explains that, “The cafe is a showcase, but the real story is what lies behind.” This is the perfect example of a group of  people with very different backgrounds but similar social values who ar. The four include Ayip, along with  I Made Suarnatha who created the Wisnu foundation, Dicky Lopulalan – a facilitations expert, and Rai Bangsawan of ‘Bali Exotic Beans’ a farming and agricultural consultant who works directly with farmers to implement sustainable, fair trade practices.

 

While coffee is a specialty, there is also  Indonesian food, homemade cakes, pies, baguettes and a range of products on sale such as organic coffee, palm sugar and 9 grain rice – all supplied directly from small local businesses. Rai expertly prepares us Bali Arabica coffee in an elegant glass siphon right at the table, and we sip the resulting smooth rich brew from dainty glasses. He makes a great Cappuccino too, and there is also coffee from Ache, Timor and Papua, as well as  Bali Rustica and Bali Peabody, all of which can be spiced up with the addition of cloves, cinnamon, ginger or cardamom.  

 

The menu offers Indonesian favourites such as Campur and Rendang as well as grills and a couple of pasta dishes. The Nasi Bamboo Kopi Kultur is impressive – rice and vegetables steamed in a piece of bamboo more than a meter long. The bamboo is split open at the table releasing a wonderful aroma. Half is filled with nutty nine grain rice, the other a light and fragrant mix of colourful vegetables, fish and chicken. The pies are also good – especially the Apple with lots of cinnamon.  

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The gallery currently has an interesting exhibition by the Eco defenders #Kudamacan, a local cyclist group who are passionate about protecting the environment, while the library shelves are filled with titles in Bahasa Indonesian, English and other languages. Set up as a space for the community, Wisnu Open Space has developed into quite a gathering place, a true melting pot of musicians and artists including locals, expats, and increasing numbers of tourists who are looking for cultural insight. We are also in luck as the Black Valentine community events gets underway just after sunset and some great local bands take to the outdoor stage to belt out some good old fashioned rock n roll.

 

What started as a simple restaurant review turned into an inspirational experience, marked by excellent coffee, interesting people, good music and a genuine sense of community.

 

Kopi Kultur   Jalan Pengubengan Kauh 94    P +62 361 798 3222

 

Kreole Kitchen

 

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The food alone is enough of a reason to stop at Kreole Kitchen, but the retro ‘old school’ Melbourne vibe creates a wonderful sense of nostalgia that has me  reminiscing about the carefree days of my childhood in Australia.

Lime green Tupperware, pots shaped like pineapples, vinyl album art and lamp shades made from tea towels printed with kangaroos and kookaburras evoke the 70’s.  A black board lists homemade pies, and a glass cabinet is filled with the kind of sweets I used to bake with my mum – like peppermint slices, crumbly short bread and chocolate crackles, while I could swear the vintage crockery and framed teaspoon collection came from my grandma. However the rice field views from the breakfast counter at the back don’t let me forget that I am in Bali.

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Annick,who formerly worked in the design industry started the cafe in 2012 and  now spends her days cooking and playing gracious host to her many regular guests. “I am living my dream,” she says with a smile, “I feel blessed.”  While her heritage is Mauritian Creole, she grew up in Melbourne, and the menu and the paraphernalia reflect both.The space is nurturing and comforting, heavy on the human touch, with a dose of spirituality thrown into the mix. Paintings of three female deities preside over the open  kitchen to “bless the food,” and the counter has wooden  boxes marked with ‘magic bits’ and ‘fairy dust.’ “We sprinkle it on all the food,” she tells me with a smile. Whether its magic or just good old-fashioned home-style cooking techniques,  the food is delicious.

The popular Kreole Platter releases a fragrant aroma as it is set on the table – a thali tray with a thick yellow dhal; a light, yet fully flavoured okra and vegetable curry, creamy raita; tasty Mauritian-inspired coconut chutney, chapati and a mix of red and white rice. Aussie-style pies are also a crowd favourite and include Chunky Beef Pie  encased in golden pastry, a hearty mashed potato-topped Shepherd’s Pie and real, homemade Sausage Rolls,soft flaky pastry filled with chicken, beef, carrot and just a hint of apple. The mini Spinach and Feta Borek are excellent – I cook good borek myself – and although it kills me to admit it,these are better.

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There are no sugary soft drinks on the menu, instead  fresh juices, young coconut, herbal teas and homemade cordials like Rosella and Vanilla Bean and Ginger and Lime mixed with soda water. Annick also stocks the rather  hard-to-find, but very good Bali Cider and organic F.R.E.A.K(Fresh Roasted Enak  Arabica from Kintamani) coffee  which is cold-pressed, smooth and full bodied. It is  the perfect accompaniment to Chocolate and Peanut Hedgehog a crunchy chocolate nutty slice, a Lemon Slice and  a Melting Moment – shortbread that really does melt in the mouth.

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Kreole Kitchen

JalanDrupardi 11 no.56

P +62 361 738514

Bungalow

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Bungalow

Just minutes from Seminyak, the pretty seaside village of Berawa is developing quite a cafe scene.  Bungalow is the newest addition, combining  gorgeous homeware with a tasty home-style menu. Balinese-born musician Donald, and his Australian wife Giovanna, have drawn inspiration from their global travels to bring a touch of the exotic to this charming store/cafe, where everything has been hand-picked to create a wonderful homey atmosphere.  “We wanted to make a cosy sanctuary with good music…..a place to smell the flowers, the coffee and the incense, ”says Donald. 

A colonial-style wooden bungalow with distressed timber, exposed brick walls and quaint shutters sets the scene. Ornate bird cages dangle above the shady terrace where shelves are stacked with hand painted watering cans and fresh potted herbs (for sale) in bright flower pots. The air-conditioned interior is brimming with retro style furnishings and antiques, many in soft hues of green – chosen, says Donald, “To create a soothing, natural ambience.” All homewares are for sale, from four poster bed, to chunky dining table, brass hurricane lamps, woven place mats, crocheted quilts and floral cushions. A veritable treasure trove, Bungalow is ideal for gift shopping with its own line of bath products and candles, antique toys and inspirational books, with titles like ‘Thank you’ ‘I Believe’ ‘Joy’ and ‘Love.’  Cafe tables are scattered amidst the antiques and there is a lovely cushion filled alcove under a wall of clocks.  

A cabinet displays an enticing arrange of cakes, big glass jars are filled with cookies and fresh herbs, and baskets are piled with almond croissants, blueberry muffins, and French apple pie. The menu is listed on blackboards and includes a healthy range of juices, smoothies, baguettes, open sandwiches on sourdough, and salads. Tofu is blended with red peppers and walnuts, flavoured with herbs and mustard then baked into patties and served in a sesame seed bun with rocket, tomato, cheese, and homemade mayo to create a wholesome and tasty Tofu Burger. The Daily Salad is a fresh and springy mix of rocket, mixed leaves, pumpkin and fetta, while Baguettes come with a selection of fillings, like smoked salmon, rocket and cream cheese. Refreshing drinks include an invigorating Ginger Lime Cooler blending crushed ginger root with Bali lime, fresh-picked mint and ginger ale, while the Berry Delight is a luscious, dark pink  treat of mixed berries.

A good range of coffees make a perfect accompaniment to rich Chocolate Cake, Blueberry Cheese Cake,Carrot and Walnut Cake and my choice – Italian Meringue Pie a creamy, lemony concoction with the softest sweetest meringue.

 Bungalow home/books/music/coffee 

Jalan Pantai Berawa

T+62 361 8446567

Open 8.30am – 6pm  Mon – Sat