The Taste of Purity
Embun translates as morning dew and this new café has a freshness and purity worthy of it’s name. Built almost entirely of bamboo the open air structures rises like a wave poised to break over the surrounding rice paddys. The healthy, imaginative and largely organic menu is of the kind more commonly associated with Ubud, but the reasonable prices, casual ambience and cooling sea breeze are reflective of its southern location (on the road to Caggu Beach Club.)
A flourishing garden filled with herbs, vegetables and tropical flowers encircles the building, and views stretch over the verdant rice fields. Embun is very much a concept café, promoting awareness of organic farming, recycling, sustainable development and fair trade. The bamboo comes from a village near Ubud, produce is sourced locally, and the sofas and day beds are made with recycled tyre strips woven into the bamboo, then scattered with cushions. The tables are particularly unusual, thick slabs of glass atop lengths of split bamboo that have been filled with alternating black and white sand and sea shells.
It is obvious that a lot of love, creativity and imagination went into the design and furnishings, and the same can also be said of the menu which offers nutritious and tasty organic western fusion. The list of healthy drinks is extensive and enticing. If you are wilting from the heat, the Super Energy Cocktail is the perfect revitaliser with its mix of ginger, citrus fruits, lemongrass and cucumber. I really enjoy the Lady in Red a deep pinkish red mix of beetroot, apple, strawberry and honey, creating a unique mix of different kinds of sweetness. I also recommend the Carnival a smoothy that includes soft creamy mango, banana, a hint of cashew, and the crunchy pulp of passion fruit.
Moving on to appetizers we order Spinach Otak Otak Fish Cakes an Indonesian inspired, western presented dish. Tasty fish cakes topped with wilted spinach, and accompanied by a superb, crunchy delicately flavored peanut sauce and baby potatoes coated in herbs. The Grilled Chicken Tofu Mini Sandwich features small triangles of marinated, grilled chicken and tofu layered with a delightful homemade pesto. There is nothing contrived or overpowering in the dishes presented – the emphasis sits squarely on natural flavors simply enhanced with herbs. The Shrimp/ Calamari Salad is a generous and colourful creation, with grilled seafood poised on a bed of mixed leaves, scattered with diced peppers, cherry tomatoes and a subtle mango/dill dressing. Other innovative salads on the menu include Beet Bangkuan and Rambutan, and Sweet Potato, Cassava and Tofu. Main courses include variations on Indonesian dishes, as well as pasta and sandwiches. I opt for the Tropical Pizza a highly unusual but very tasty pizza with a crunchy whole wheat base decked out with chicken, pineapple, mozzarella, a mild tomato curry sauce, and the surprise addition of starfruit creating an interesting twist.
It is always exciting to discover new taste sensations, or reinventions of traditional dishes, and our enjoyment continues unabated with dessert, Chocolate Blueberry Dome an ambrosial concoction of blueberries and dark chocolate mousse encased in a white chocolate dome, and a Green Tea Chocolate Cake with layers of sponge, and mouse, accompanied by passion fruit pulp.
Embun provides the antithesis of fast food; this is ‘slow food’ where everything is prepared lovingly from scratch. The food, the views and the ambience deserve to be savored so when you plan your visit allow some time.
Embun Life Café, Jl Kayu Putih/ Subak Sari 77 Caggu