FROM FARM TO TA­BLE

NES­TLED ACROSS A RICE FIELD IN BAN­JAR KULUH SAYAN IN UBUD, MOKSA IS THE NEW HAVEN FOR HEALTHY DE­LIGHTS…

Bali & Beyond - - CONTENTS - By Risty Nur­raisa

Plant-based cui­sine at Moksa

It has only been a year and a half since Moksa Plant-Based Res­tau­rant & Per­ma­cul­ture Gar­den opened its doors, yet the res­tau­rant has be­come one of the top five Ubud des­ti­na­tions on TripAd­vi­sor. And among all the ve­gan restau­rants that are boom­ing in Ubud, Moksa still has the el­e­ment of sur­prise. The lo­ca­tion is quite hid­den, but the res­tau­rant is not that dif­fi­cult to find. Guests com­ing from Den­pasar will need to look for “Puskesmas II Ubud” sig­nage on the right side of the road af­ter pass­ing the Sayan Mar­ket. Turn right on that sig­nage, fol­low the road and veer to the right where a school and a clinic stand. Then, fol­low the road and make a right turn or sim­ply park the car near the clinic and walk to the res­tau­rant. On my visit to the res­tau­rant to­gether with a friend, I pre­fer the lat­ter as it was re­ally re­fresh­ing to walk by the rice field. And as soon as I ar­rived at the res­tau­rant, I could see why Moksa has be­come a fa­vorite among Ubu­di­ans and tourists alike.

GREEN BOOST­ERS

Moksa is born from a col­lab­o­ra­tion be­tween Mr. Made Ja­nur Yasa and Chef Made Ru­natha, both of whom have worked to­gether at a re­treat in Ubud that fo­cuses on the bal­ance of body, mind and soul and serves raw food. “Then we thought, why can’t we build one our­selves?” stated Mr. Yasa as my friend and I took a seat at their al­fresco res­tau­rant de­signed with wooden floor and fur­ni­ture. “We thought, as lo­cal Balinese, we have to dare to dream big. We con­sid­ered all the points that make us happy. Our busi­ness should in­volve com­mu­nity, sus­tain­abil­ity, shar­ing a re­cy­cling con­cept and qual­ity.”

Those are the ba­sic ideas that shaped Moksa to what it is to­day. “We of­fer plant-based food. We also have a per­ma­cul­ture gar­den where we grow as many plants as we can. We use th­ese plants as our in­gre­di­ents and serve them to our guests,” Mr. Ja­nur Yasa added. “But there are some parts of the plant that we can’t use for food, like the stems or the roots. We don’t put them to waste. We use them to make com­post for our gar­den. So, our con­cept is from farm to ta­ble

and back to farm again.”

Mr. Yasa then helped us with our or­der – we de­cided to start our culi­nary jour­ney with re­fresh­ing juices. Moksa has a lot of healthy con­coc­tions, from fresh juices to phar­macy shots and jamu to mock­tails, and each one of­fers a dif­fer­ent ben­e­fit to our health. I opted for the Anti-Ox­i­dant Booster made of pineap­ple, ap­ple, al­falfa sprouts, kale and wheat grass, while my friend or­dered the Flu Fighter & Im­mu­nity Booster that con­tains tan­ger­ine, car­rot, spinach, ap­ple and cel­ery.

When our drinks were served, we had a lit­tle bit of doubt as the juices had a bold green color. But one sip of the juice, then our doubts went out of the win­dow as the juices tasted noth­ing like veg­eta­bles – the pineap­ple and ap­ple gave a kick to the Anti-Ox­i­dant Booster while the tan­ger­ine and ap­ple gave a tangy fla­vor to the Flu Fighter & Im­mu­nity Booster. And with a view of the res­tau­rant’s per­ma­cul­ture gar­den, I think we’re off to a good start!

THE FOOD STORY

Cre­ated by Chef Made Ru­natha, who spent years in the USA to learn all about raw food and un­baked desserts and is claimed to be the world’s first In­done­sian plant-based cui­sine chef, each Moksa’s dish has its own story with el­e­ments that are made from scratch. “We want to present dishes that are not just tasty and ful­fill­ing but also nu­tri­tious,” stated Chef Made when he went to our ta­ble. Our first dish was The Hu­mus for ap­pe­tizer. Served with Kala­mata olives, av­o­cado-corn salsa and baby tomato salad, the zuc­chini hu­mus has a bold sa­vory fla­vor due to a pinch of Kusamba tra­di­tional sea salt and a twist of sweet­ness from slices of dragon fruit.

The Jack Fruit Taco is also a unique starter. The young jack fruit re­places meat, and is served to­gether with red onions and bell pep­pers as well as oregano, tomato salsa, green salad and co­conut sour cream. But what makes this dish stand out is the taco shells. Moksa cre­ates them from scratch with blended corn that is dried for about six hours, then shaped into taco shells. And the tacos still have a twist of spicy fla­vor with a slice of jalapeno on top. Another ap­pe­tizer worth a try is the Co­conut Mush­room that is rich with fla­vor as three kinds of mush­rooms are cooked with galan­gal, car­rot, baby toma­toes and lemon­grass co­conut milk.

Moksa’s main cour­ses are just as in­ter­est­ing with the Tem­peh Ribs as one of the stars of the menu. The tem­peh are cut in big sizes and mar­i­nated with home­made bar­beque sauce be­fore they are grilled to per­fec­tion. This dish is even more ful­fill­ing with mashed sweet pota­toes, mixed greens and grilled tomato on the side. The Chef’s Bowl is another sur­prise. The dish is rich with fla­vor as the curry rice, tofu, mixed greens and mush­rooms are per­fectly blend with eg­g­plant ren­dang, kim­chi and thinly sliced tem­peh re­sem­bling ba­con.

The Farmer’s Triple Decker is also a unique choice as it pre­sents Moksa’s in­ter­pre­ta­tion of sim­ple club sand­wich. Us­ing sim­i­lar meth­ods to mak­ing their taco shells, Moksa dries car­rot dregs – which they col­lect from car­rot juice – for about six hours and turn them into “bread” with a soft tex­ture, much like wheat bread. The “bread” is then filled with toma­toes, av­o­ca­does and grilled eg­g­plant and served with slices of ji­cama on the side to re­place French fries.

Still, we had some room for dessert. The Sweet Sym­phony was truly a sweet clo­sure to our culi­nary jour­ney, com­prised of a lemon pie, a mango tart, a jack berry cake and a choco­late cof­fee ice cream. Each com­po­nent in their dessert is also home­made us­ing nat­u­ral sweets like honey and palm nec­tar with­out any use of dairy prod­ucts, flour, or preser­va­tives.

GROW THE GAR­DEN

Af­ter hav­ing an ex­cel­lent culi­nary jour­ney, we took a tour around the res­tau­rant. Moksa has two gar­dens,

the first one is on the same level with the din­ing venue, while the other one sits be­low the al­fresco res­tau­rant, mak­ing won­der­ful scenery to look at.

“Be­low this floor,” Mr. Ja­nur Yasa stomped on the res­tau­rant’s wooden floor, “is a wa­ter catch­ment. It col­lects rain wa­ter that flows to the re­stroom to flush the toi­let.” He then guided us to the gar­den next to the res­tau­rant where another wa­ter catch­ment stood to re­cy­cle wa­ter from the re­stroom. “All the plants in this gar­den lean on this re­cy­cled wa­ter.”

Next to the sec­ond wa­ter catch­ment was a big box where the team make their own com­post for the plants. A con­struc­tion pro­ject is also un­der­way at the gar­den. “We are build­ing a multi-pur­pose build­ing for a yoga class and cook­ing class,” ex­plained Mr. Ja­nur Yasa as he led us to the next gar­den be­low the res­tau­rant; the per­ma­cul­ture gar­den. Here, Moksa team plants corn, green salad, cas­sava, toma­toes, cel­ery and more. Wa­ter for the per­ma­cul­ture gar­den flows from a nearby river. The res­tau­rant also has a spe­cial place where they grow the seeds.

Clearly, Moksa leaves al­most noth­ing to waste. The res­tau­rant is not just a place to in­dulge in some home­made plant-based dishes, but also a sim­ple get­away to ease our mind, body and soul.

Moksa Plant-Based Res­tau­rant & Per­ma­cul­ture Gar­den Ban­jar Ku­tuh Sayan (turn right on “Puskesmas II Ubud” sig­nage), Ubud 0813-3977-4787 www.mok­saubud.com

The al­fresco din­ing venue sur­rounded by green­ery.

The Tem­peh Ribs with home­made bar­be­cue sauce.

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