Over the last few years Bali has experienced a dining revolution with the opening of a number of organic ‘lifestyle’ restaurants that challenge the ‘hippy’ connotations of health food. Clear Café, Ubud provides an excellent example of this trend with enticing gourmet cuisine served in stylish surroundings.
The entrance is masked by a stately row of green bamboo trees. Duck behind the trees to find a magnificent carved Balinese door opening in to an impressive space that blends sleek contemporary lines with plenty of traditional Balinese elements. Clear manages to be elegant but comfortable in equal measure, and while it looks expensive, surprisingly it’s not!
The beauty of Clear is that there is something for everyone, thanks to an eclectic mix of design, décor, music, food and beverages. Wealthy guests from Ubud’s fanciest resorts sit alongside dreadlocked travellers, tourist families and locals. Vegans, vegetarians, non vegetarians and fans of raw food will all find something tempting from an exciting menu that provides snippets from various cuisines; Indonesian, Mexican, Arabic, Italian are all represented. Food is prepared consciously and thoughtfully with an emphasis on flavorful, organic local ingredients. Nut mylk (from local cashews) is made on the property and substitutes dairy in drinks such as the Chocolate Matrix, mixed with chocolate, mint, gingko and spirulina. The result is nutty, delicious and instantly energizing. The drink list is enticing with evocative names such as Strawberry Dream, Chocolate Town, Papua Papaya, Glittery Gold. We settle on an Eletroberry with fresh strawberries, mulberries, lemon and ginger, and a Tropical Twister, a juicy extravaganza of orange pineapple and passion fruit, with just a touch of beetroot.
The food menu is equally appealing and contains an intriguing array of main courses, salads, burgers and pasta. I want to try everything, but for now start with the Bali Tataki, a justifiably popular dish featuring slices of cocoa cayenne seared tuna, topped with an alluring fan of dragon fruit. The tuna is really something special, soft in flavor and in texture and complimented by an interesting blend of earthy daikon, sweet shredded beets and a tropical mangostein sauce.
The Hint of India is like a designer thali, with different tastings served on an elongated glass platter. Mild spices and authentic flavors imbue a wonderful lentil bean salad, a creamy raita served in a carved orange, spinach cooked in coconut cream and an excellent chili laced coconut mango chutney. The Living Tower of Pisa is a tasty raw food offering with tomato, mushroom and homemade pesto stacked in layers. The Chocolate Dream Pie is also raw, not to mention extremely gratifying, with distinctive flavors of Toraja coffee, raw cacao and real vanilla (extracted from a pod and not poured from a bottle.) The absence of dairy creates a light dessert that is invigorating and not at all heavy, (even though I have devoured a huge slab.)
Clear is fun and fresh, a comfortable place to settle for a few hours, with great music, a friendly upbeat atmosphere and enjoyable food served up in an alcohol and smoke free zone.
Clear Cafe, Jalan Hanoman No. 8