LOVE AT FIRST BITE

Check out Bali’s new­est din­ing hits

The Sunday Telegraph (Sydney) - Escape - - COVER STORY - JENNY HEWETT

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.

40 THIEVES

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.

BIKINI

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

THE LAWN

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.

BERAWA KITCHEN

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.

HID­DEN GEMS

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.

PRETTY POI­SON

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.

JUN­GLE

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

PIC­TURE: SUP­PLIED

Cool, Capri-in­spired Da Maria res­tau­rant high­lights its food prow­ess by in­tro­duc­ing sim­ple Italo din­ing to Petitenget’s high street.

BAKER STREET SO­CIAL

THE LAWN

BIKINI

FORTY THIEVES

THE LAWN

PIC­TURES: SUP­PLIED, FACE­BOOK, THELAWNCANGGU.COM

BIKINI

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.

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