LOVE AT FIRST BITE
Check out Bali’s newest dining hits
Bali has become known as somewhat of a pioneer for its phenomenal food and sparkly cocktail spots but, over the past six months, the island has really stepped up its game.
With a slew of recent openings, from the much-anticipated Mrs Sippy spin-off to a little-known latenight speakeasy, Bali is stamping out a food and bar scene that’s on par with those in some of the most selfassured cities in the world.
Whether it’s craft cocktails, a Michelin quality tasting menu or secret parties, here’s our insider’s guide to the island’s hottest new hangouts, and where to find some of the time-tested gems.
MRS SIPPY BALI
Retaining all the style and swagger of its sister venue, the tropical outpost of this buzzy Double Bay drinking hole is a lot bigger and a little more laid back. Tucked away on a backstreet off Jalan Petitenget, one of Bali’s hippest strips, this sprawling pool club has nailed the Miami party vibe. Decked out in ultra white and natural timber, with poolside cabanas, sand, palm trees and all-day tunes, this spot has forged a chic oasis in the heart of bustling Seminyak.
Partial to the odd flop, the 5m diving platform makes for nailbiting entertainment and the food is some of the best value we’ve come across in this area.
Whether it’s woodfired pizzas (less than $14 each), cooked by the Naples-sourced, on-site pizzaiolo, the zesty crab salad or the icy-cold watermelon mules with house ginger beer, this Sydney export doesn’t miss a beat.
Naturally, the harder something is to find, the more alluring it is.
At least that’s the theory at this dark and dingy Bali speakeasy on Jalan Petitenget.
A master at playing hard to get, this late-night stake-out specialises in craft cocktails and artisanal spirits from a stealth spot above a ramen restaurant in Seminyak.
A favourite of Bali expats, it has no signage whatsoever and relies on word of mouth, which is all part of the attraction. Walk to the back of Mad Ronin restaurant, turn left through the curtains and up the bunker-like stairs where, on Fridays, you’ll find a DJ dropping disco and 2-for-1 cocktails with names like Spiced Gimlet from 10pm until late. Strewn with Prohibition-era-style gang memorabilia such as rifles, old maps and leather upholstery, this is one bad boy watering hole and it’s one of Bali’s best kept secrets.
EAT & DRINK AT THE SLOW
There’s plenty of competition when it comes to nuanced eateries in ultra hip Canggu, but this all-day grazing spot is in a league of its own.
One facet of luxury island stay The Slow, a collaboration between Ksubi co-founders George Gorrow and Gareth Moody (along with Gorrow’s wife and model Cisco Tschurtschenthaler), this eatery has a unique aesthetic, a share-plate concept and non-cliche cocktails.
Gorrow’s personal art collection adorns the walls and the beverages are all pre-batched on-site.
From the eclectic playlist courtesy of the couple’s pals at LA-based Reverberation Radio, to artworks by friend Kate Bellm, and Gorrow’s childhood buddy and former COMO Hotels’ chef Shannon Moran fronting the kitchen, The Slow has brought the band back together, so to speak.
In June, they launched The Slow Sound Bite Sunday brunches every second weekend, and vinyl nights every second Friday.
Seminyak’s sassiest new dining spot opened with a whisper.
But it’s bold approach to food has already secured its status among Bali’s culinary elite.
‘U Look Hot In Bikini’ beams in pink neon from the restaurant’s facade while, inside, hot pink spray paint has been blown up the back wall with a fire extinguisher to create a striking focal point.
With marble tables, black cutlery and cocktail foam printed with red lips, this stylish Miami-inspired, shared-food, fine-dining concept is sexy and it knows it.
Michelin-quality creations such as foie gras cigars with black ash butter and Sobrasada bruschetta with romesco and smoked capsicum show both skill in technique and a theatrical approach that many here try and attempt, but few master.
Australian-owned, with Kiwi chef Jethro Vincent at the helm, Bikini offers up slick service, memorable food and inventive cocktails.
At just $49 a head, the tasting menu should be high on your Bali bucket list.
THIS IS ONE BAD BOY WATERING HOLE AND IT’S ONE OF BALI’S BEST KEPT SECRETS
This famed sunset and coconut-sipping spot next to Old Man’s in Canggu was once nothing more than a patch of grass serviced by a drinks truck. But having recently undergone a fancy refurb, The Lawn has emerged all grown up.
Now a full-blown beach lounge, complete with a small infinity pool overlooking Batu Bolong Beach, this seaside restaurant offers both lazy lawn seating and a covered dining area on raised timber decking.
The Lawn is, essentially, Canggu’s answer to Seminyak’s iconic Ku De Ta, and almost as pricey.
Sip sangria as you watch the sets roll in or refuel after a surf session with a selection of Med-inspired bar bites including tuna ceviche, shell crab bao buns and truffled four cheese mac ‘n’ cheese balls.
There’s a minimum spend for the sun loungers and it gets busy at sunset, but the live jazz tunes (Wednesday, Saturday and Sunday) and ocean vistas are worth it.
DA MARIA BALI
Bondi Icebergs restaurateur Maurice Terzini has transplanted a slice of scene-y Sydney in Seminyak with this unapologetically cool Capri-inspired hangout on Jalan Petitenget. Light and airy, with a 60s Italian osteria vibe that errs on the right side of retro, the interior features trickling fountains and Roman Pantheon-inspired skylights complemented by an Amalfi-feel colour theme of tonal blues, yellow and white.
The chic design, the work of Roman architects Lazzarini Pickering, is best admired from a table facing the open kitchen where you can tuck into simple Italian dishes, including braised lamb ravioli, Tuscan seafood stew, woodfired pizza and granita.
The bar heaves on a Friday, with regulars carving up the dance floor between sips of boozy Aperol Spritz and Negroni concoctions.
But the party never slows during the week, with a DJ set and late-night disco and pizza offered from 10pm every day.
Even in Bali, with development on
the rise, open space is a precious commodity and a no-fuss dinner spot with oodles of ambience can be hard to find.
All the more reason why this relaxed food-stand park in Canggu hits the spot.
Located in Berawa, this hip venue features an open grass area with beanbags, picnic tables and food stands offering a range of casual bites, including Thai, Balinese, burgers and even dessert crepes.
Unpretentious and atmospheric, it has the type of community vibe you might find at a market but, unlike food festivals, it’s free of queues and the food is cheap and tasty.
Order and pay at the stands, but then kick back and relax until your meal is delivered to your table.
Don’t miss the live acoustic sessions Tuesday, Thursday and Saturday nights to experience the venue in all its glory.
COMING SOON ... ATTARINE BEACH HOUSE
The latest offering from Indonesia’s savvy Potato Head Family (responsible for Bali’s Potato Head Beach Club and adjoining Katamama Hotel), is due to open in Canggu’s emerging beachside boho-surf area of Berawa later this year. If it’s anything like the Jakarta branch, expect Mediterranean-driven fare in a tropical setting with a subtle, urban design.
They may not be brand new, but these little-known, time-tested Bali hangouts get our seal of approval.
BAKER STREET SOCIAL
Bali’s first late-night speak-easy opened in Seminyak at the end of 2015, but it’s still very much a secret. Keep your eyes peeled for the tiny door between Nostimo Greek restaurant and Tiffin Indian-Inspired Kitchen on Jalan Petitenget, follow the stairs up to the moody low-lit space, where you’ll find a small bar to one end. Skilful staff here whip up cocktails according to your preferences, be it sweet or savoury.
A skate-bowl-bar sounds like the perfect disaster but this spot in Canggu combines booze and boardriding with finesse. Aussie-owned, Pretty Poison couldn’t be more hip if it tried, with inked-up millenials gathering around a backyard-style concrete bowl most nights to watch locals shred, sip Bintangs, listen to live music and get tattooed all under the one roof, and all responsibly so. It’s on the back road known only as the Shortcut.
Every Friday night, this leafy Italian restaurant in Umalas lets its alter ego out, hosting an impromptu bash with drinks tokens, a DJ and fun vibe.
In a quiet street, Jalan Umalas, between Canggu and Seminyak, those with insider knowledge flock here to finish the night. Parties only take place once a week; blink and you’ll miss it.
THE NAKED COCONUT
This colourful no-frills beach bar in Canggu is one of the island’s best hidden gems and can be found at the end of a jungle track off Jalan Pantai Berawa. With fresh coconuts, cheap Bintangs, bean bags and hammocks, there are few better places to watch the sun set over the Indian Ocean.
Shhh don’t tell.
PARTIES HERE ONLY TAKE PLACE ONCE A WEEK; BLINK AND YOU’LL MISS IT
Cool, Capri-inspired Da Maria restaurant highlights its food prowess by introducing simple Italo dining to Petitenget’s high street.
BAKER STREET SOCIAL
MRS SIPPY Whether it’s a Michelin quality tasting menu, craft cocktails or a secret party, the hottest hangouts are in Bali. But you’ll need this guide to find them.