Bali’s Chef Secrets
They work in sumptuous surrounds, dream up gourmet menus and plate perfectly executed dishes. But where do these chefs go for their favorite local eats? By Samantha Brown
Published on Apr 18, 2011
+ WILL MEYRICK | Sarong
Will Meyrick, the Australian talent behind Seminyak’s salubrious Southeast Asian eatery Sarong (sarongbali.com), is famous for his menus inspired by the region's street food. It’s no surprise, then, that he favors local Javanese joint Kolega (Jalan Petitenget, Seminyak; +62 852 3794 9778; lunch for two Rp50,000). “It’s an East-meets-West type of place, where the patrons range from office workers to local expats getting their rendang fixes,” he says. His dish of choice? The perkedel, or Indonesian croquettes, made of potato and beef or fish dipped in egg white, then deep-fried to achieve a crispy skin; he even serves up his own take, using Wagyu beef, at Sarong.
+ BRANDON HUISMAN | The Balé & The Amala
Brandon Huisman, the Cordon Bleu–trained executive chef of The Balé (thebale.com) in Nusa Dua and The Amala (theamala.com) in Seminyak, winds down at Warung Puri Boga (Permata Nusa Dua Block G7, Siligita; +62 361 771 729; dinner for two with drinks Rp100,000), a converted house in the neighborhood where he lives. “It’s very peaceful and charming,” he says of the husband-and-wife-run operation. Try the pork satay, which Huisman labels the best on the island. “The owner adds terasi or shrimp paste to the marinade,” he says. “On its own it’s not palatable, but as a flavor enhancer for local dishes it’s fantastic.” When an Italian craving strikes, Huisman drops by Nusa Dua Pizza (Bypass Nusa Dua 57x1; +62 361 806 6616; dinner for two with drinks Rp200,000), where he’ll order the bacon and blue cheese pizza. “I usually request some sliced fresh chili on top to add a bit of a kick,” he says.
+ ENRICO WAHL | The Oberoi
Warung Batavia (Jalan Raya Kerobokan, Seminyak, Bali, Indonesia; +62 361 731 641; lunch or dinner with drinks for two around Rp150,000) boasts great food and a home-style atmosphere that together often entice Enrico Wahl, executive chef at The Oberoi (oberoihotels.com). Go for the mie kuah, or noodle soup with dumplings, he urges. “It’s just really well prepared and there are no surprises,” he says. Their version of the Indonesian standard gado gado is made fresh to order and another must-have dish. German-born Wahl also recommends Chinese restaurant Feyloon (Jalan Raya Kuta No. 98; +62 361 766 308; dinner for two with drinks Rp600,000). “Chinese food is so complex I would not step into cooking it myself—many try to copy it and cannot,” says Wahl, who prefers instead to tuck into Feyloon’s hot-and-sour soup and classic takes on jellyfish and sea cucumber.
+ AMANDA GALE | COMO
At Naughty Nuri’s Warung (Jalan Raya Sanggingnan, Ubud; +62 361 977 547; cocktails and dinner for two Rp450,000), New Yorker Brian Aldinger creates a welcoming, buzzy atmosphere while his wife, Nuri Suryatmi, oversees a kitchen famed for its delectable, melt-off-the-bone pork ribs. It’s a combination that Amanda Gale, executive chef of the COMO Group based at COMO Shambala Estate (como.bz), highly recommends savoring in combination with their margaritas—“Two being the limit!” she warns. “Make sure you ask for extra barbecue sambal sauce and if you want to be really naughty, order the fried potato chips with kecap manis and chili sauce.” Puteri Minang (Jalan Raya Ubud, Ubud; +62 361 975 577; dinner for two with drinks Rp100,000), a bustling nasi padang joint, serves a range of cuisine from Sumatra, and is another of Gale’s favorites. Her suggested dishes include the chicken rendang, jackfruit and choko curry, boiled cassava leaf, green chili sambal and corn cakes.
+ CHRIS SALANS | Mozaic
Babi guling is probably Bali’s most fabulous gastronomic creation and visitors wanting to sample it should put themselves in the safe hands of Ibu Oka, reckons Chris Salans from award-scooping Mozaic (mozaic-bali.com). The eponymous Ubud warung (Jalan Suweta/Tegal Sari No. 2, Ubud; +62 361 976 345; lunch for two Rp100,000) might be crowded, with dogs loitering as people jostle for a spot at low-slung tables and wait a long time to be served, “but when it finally comes, it all becomes worth it,” Salans says. A standard plate includes generous slices of the roasted, spiced pork, crackling, blood sausage, coconut vegetables and rice. Another of Salan’s favored regular haunts is Japanese restaurant Ryoshi (Jalan Danau Tamblingan, Sanur; +62 361 288 473; dinner for two with drinks Rp200,000). “From cold appetizers to hot mains, sushi, sashimi, noodles and lots of other dishes, nothing disappoints,” he says.
Photographed by JOHANNES P. CRISTO