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

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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