A decidedly non-bali person goes in search of dinner
More than just a surfing and shopping hotspot, the Indonesian island offers some pretty amazing food as well.
There are few things I feel impartial about; I’m a love-it-or-leave-it kind of girl. Right now, I love Cole Sprouse in Riverdale and gaudy hoop earrings. I can’t stand eggplant and Katy Perry’s bleached buzz cut (though I remain a deeply devoted Katycat). Until very recently, I had also decreed Bali was most certainly pas pour
moi. Alas, this is the point where I’m forced to take back everything I said (and it only took three days of uninterrupted eating in the name of research).
It’s ironic that a destination so synonymous with upset stomachs is suddenly offering world-class gastronomy. Australians have always had a soft spot for the Indonesian island, but lately there’s been a special buzz about the place – particularly in the fashionable Seminyak area – thanks to the continuing evolution of the expat-led restaurant scene. Launched in January, Bikini is a contemporary restaurant focusing on share plates and local, seasonal produce, from Aussie entrepreneur Adam Mcasey. The chic space taps into the millennial obsession with pink and blends “the urban flair of a New York warehouse with the energy and vibe of a Miami beach party”. Melbourne artist Ash Keating was enlisted to create a custom mural for the space (which, fittingly, had a past life as an art gallery); Keating filled fire extinguishers with pink paint and let them loose on the feature wall.
Bikini’s creative culinary director Jethro Vincent is Bali’s own Willy Wonka, dreaming up dishes like foie gras parfait cigars with bread and butter ash, and elderflower-pickled beetroot and goat’s cheese ravioli (which is almost too pretty to eat). There’s an open deck area out the front where casual seating and a wellstocked bar draw in passers-by; if you’re not ready for dinner, it’s worth popping in for an espresso martini, made with Expat Roasters coffee. Speaking of, Expat – which is owned by the same team behind Bikini – has the best coffee in town.
Other new openings include Mrs Sippy – a Mykonos-meets-double Bay hotspot designed by Kelvin Ho (the go-to architect for Aussie fashion retailers) – and Da Maria – Icebergs restaurateur Maurice Terzini’s Amalfi Coast-inspired venture. But it’s not just Sydney staples getting in on the action. The in-house restaurant at hipster hangout Katamama is Melbourne’s Movida. Adapting the meat-heavy Spanish tapas menu for the island lifestyle, you’ll find raw and cured seafood alongside patatas bravas and charcuterie. It’s proof that even for self-proclaimed haters like me, there’s much more to Bali than meets the stereotype (as long as you bring your appetite).
FEAST FOR THE SENSES Bikini’s interior is as sophisticated as its food, with a pink feature wall (top) adding a playful touch