bali belly

A de­cid­edly non-bali person goes in search of din­ner

ELLE (Australia) - - Contents -

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

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