Desa Seni translates as art village and this extraordinarily pretty boutique wellness resort in Canggu has been set up in the style of an Indonesian village. Antique wooden joglo houses create atmospheric accommodation and a range of dining options. Co founder Tom describes a vision that incorporated “Farming, yoga, unlimited potential for creativity and integration with the local community.” And slowly but surely, in a true labor of love Desa Seni rose from the rice fields.
The resort is small, intimate and friendly and visitors are welcome to drop by for an inspiring yoga class in the soaring open air pavilion, be pampered at the Merapu spa and enjoy creatively healthy food in one of three joglos, Rumah Uma (communal house) Ruma Makan (eating house), Rumah Bendi or in the privacy of a pool side bale.
We follow a winding, flower filled pathway that leads us through the resort and into Rumah Uma, a quaint teak joglo brought over from East Java. Bamboo floors, antique furnishings and views over the flourishing gardens add to its charm. The organic vegetable gardens were one of the first projects and local farmers were brought in to oversee the planting, tending and harvesting. These now produce 80% of the fruit and vegetables served up in an array of healthy, unique and tasty dishes. Tom, a seasoned and imaginative chef describes the menu as “Having its own identity,” imbued with an “artistic and creative flair that melds western, Mediterranean, Asian and Indonesian cuisine.”
Elixirs include the Anti Anxiety Blood Cleanser a dense green blend of fruit, spinach, celery and coconut, and pure extractions such as Carrot and Beetroot filled with naturally sweet goodness. The Rehydrator a refreshing blend of watermelon and mint does its job admirably. Thankfully the ‘health’ tag doesn’t preclude alcohol, so a selection of wines and champagnes can be enjoyed with a meal.
The wholesome Raw Garden Salad comes just the way I like a salad, with clearly delineated colourful piles of grated carrots, beets, broccoli and cauliflower florets, cabbage, walnuts and juicy raisins, with a lemon vinaigrette on the side. The vegetables have been picked young and have that unmistakable, fresh from the garden crunchiness. The Desa Seni Pizza is deservedly popular and features a thin slightly chewy base stacked with feta and more of those wonderful vegetables – this time marinated in olive oil, shallots, garden herbs and sea salt, and roasted to sweet perfection. This has to be the most nutritious pizza on the island, and health factors aside – it’s totally delicious. We also have a Pasta Primavera with penne pasta and sautéed vegetables doused in white wine, olive oil and a touch of capers. Organic free range chicken, sourced from the north of Bali turns up in the Ayam Kelapa Sandwich, Balinese Chicken Salad on flat bread, while Jimbaran fishermen provide the fish and seafood in dishes such as Fresh Calamari with green papaya, mint and peanut dressing and Udang Maluku (grilled shrimp served with a lentil and date salad.)
You certainly won’t find anything ordinary on the menu, but that’s hardly a surprise because there is nothing ordinary about Desa Seni. Drop in for a meal, a yoga class, a massage, or stay for a few days and enjoy the innate sense of wellness that comes from just being here.