Set­tle down for some tasty vit­tles.

O come thou weary, thirsty trav­el­ers to one of Ubud’s finest eater­ies.

The Jakarta Post - Magazine - - Contents - Words I Wayan Ju­niartha

Yes, looks can in­deed be de­ceiv­ing. But here in No­mad looks shall never de­ceive. A gor­geous tuna fil­let steak is not only a sight for sore eyes but also a heavenly rem­edy for the scream­ing stom­ach.

It tastes as fine as it looks. It is crafted with 200 grams of freshly caught tuna, pan seared to per­fec­tion with crusted co­rian­der on the top. The beau­ti­ful tuna slice is then placed on a bed of stir fried veg­eta­bles and on the bot­tom of this mouth-wa­ter­ing struc­ture is a roasted gar­lic po­tato cake.

The crown of this culi­nary of­fer­ing is sam­bal matah, a tra­di­tional Ba­li­nese spicy condi­ment made of shred­ded raw shal­lots, gar­lic and chili with co­conut oil dress­ing. Sweet basil leaves add more fresh color to the steak.

De­vour­ing this steak is as much a culi­nary ex­pe­ri­ence as a cul­tural jour­ney. The top part of the steak presents a Ba­li­nese epi­curean de­light, while the bot­tom part will un­doubt­edly bring mem­o­ries of the way the French cook their fish.

More­over, the com­bined power of sam­bal matah, sweet basil and that sub­tle mango sauce cre­ate a strange,

yet ad­dic­tive fla­vor, which will make you thank your­self for vis­it­ing No­mad.

The tuna steak is a fa­vorite main course for No­mad’s loyal pa­trons. It is also the per­fect em­bod­i­ment of the fu­sion food phi­los­o­phy that the es­tab­lish­ment and its restau­ra­teurs have faith­fully up­held since its hum­ble be­gin­ning in 1979.

It was founded by Ny­oman Sarma, a flam­boy­ant and widely loved fig­ure in Ubud, who passed away re­cently. The first page of No­mad’s menu fea­tures his smil­ing pic­ture that un­der­lines his rugged hand­some­ness.

It also nar­rates his life story, the way he had to move from place to place to study and work, an ex­pe­ri­ence that nur­tured the no­madic spirit within him. That’s why he called his restau­rant No­mad. “Ny­oman opened No­mad not think­ing so much of busi­ness, but more of a meet­ing place to con­tact the wan­der­ers of the world,” the page reads.

Sarma’s no­madic spirit and his love for the col­or­ful cul­tures of the world found its phys­i­cal man­i­fes­ta­tion in the foods served in his restau­rant.

Ital­ian tagli­atelle shares space with Mid­dle East­ern ke­babs, Ja­panese Amer­i­can burg­ers and Ja­vanese

I Gusti Ny­oman Suteja, who started work­ing at No­mad 32 years ago as an er­rand boy and now heads its kitchen, re­called that one of the first items on the No­mad menu was beef ke­bab. It is still on the cur­rent menu.

The restau­rant now is man­aged by Made Su­darma, Sarma’s nephew who has ex­ten­sive ex­pe­ri­ence in the hos­pi­tal­ity in­dus­try in Bali and abroad. The soft-spo­ken young man idol­ized his late un­cle and has no in­ten­tion of re­vis­ing the No­mad spirit.

“Ev­ery year we change the menu, yet the un­der­ly­ing no­madic spirit, the fu­sion food phi­los­o­phy, will al­ways be there,” he said, adding that the restau­rant now makes a se­ri­ous ef­fort to be or­ganic by main­tain­ing two or­ganic farms in Juwuk­ma­nis, Ubud, and Tit­i­galar, Ba­tu­riti.

No­mad also of­fers the best arak (palm wine) and arak- based cock­tails in vUbud. It gets its sup­ply from a tra­di­tional arak­maker, who is very pas­sion­ate about main­tain­ing the qual­ity of the liquor.

“Most of our pa­trons are re­peat cus­tomers and they can iden­tify the slight­est change in the qual­ity of our food and, in par­tic­u­lar, our arak, and they are not the kind of peo­ple who hold back their crit­i­cism,” Su­darma grinned.

There are at least seven arak­based cock­tails on No­mad’s menu, any one of which will give a thirsty trav­eler the spirit boost he needs

Ev­ery year we change the menu, yet the un­der­ly­ing no­madic spirit, the fu­sion food phi­los­o­phy

with­out a ter­ri­ble hang­over the fol­low­ing morn­ing.

The restau­rant lies in the busiest sec­tion of Ubud, just sev­eral dozen me­ters east of Ubud mar­ket. Don’t worry about get­ting a park­ing spot, as No­mad staff will take care of it for you so that you can con­cen­trate on a more im­por­tant af­fair: or­der­ing that bliss­ful punch of arak brem.

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