BALI & ME
Take a leaf from the address books of Australia’s best-connected Bali insiders to discover the latest and greatest.
George Gorrow, co-owner of Canggu hotel The Slow, first visited Bali on a surf trip with his father when he was 14. “I remember walking down the longest, steepest paths to get to three or four tiny warungs in Uluwatu,” he recalls. “Now, you have superclubs like Omnia there.”
Janet DeNeefe, restaurant owner and founder of the Ubud Writers & Readers Festival, moved to Bali 30 years ago. “Bali is more exciting now than ever before,” she says. “Whether it’s with a beach-side cocktail, a mountain-climbing adventure or a more spiritual experience, you can retox or detox in your own sweet time.” As the island’s hotels, eateries and day clubs prepare for high season, these locals and lovers share their latest and greatest Balinese moments.
GEORGE AND CISCO GORROW The Slow
“We have so much history in Bali. We fell in love here, got engaged here and then married here, too. It’s so nice to now have a business here and be part of the change happening on the island. The new Black Cat Speak
Easy, owned by photographer Crille Rask, is the perfect synopsis of how Bali is progressing: intimate, wellconsidered spaces that would seem at home in any of the world’s biggest cities, but still with an undefinable island undertone. It’s hidden behind a mini-mart on the short cut between Berawa and Canggu. Hidden Beach
Bar, on the other hand, is where we go to tap into the old Bali we first fell in love with. It’s just a simple beach shack without too much of a crowd, a place to sip coconuts with lime and ice-cold beer.
“Our early mornings are usually spent at Quince.
The family behind it have an impeccable eye for detail – their adjoining homewares shop is beautiful – and you can see that wisdom in the kitchen, too. Plus, the coffee is smooth as velvet.
“A live DJ, kind staff and the lime and coconut body scrub put Spring a step ahead of other Canggu day spas. And for shopping, Potato Head’s boutique shop at hotel Katamama, Canaan, is great for jewellery and precious homewares from nearby islands. We picked up an old ikat there, a traditional woven textile from Sumba. The genuine ones are really rare so we treasure it immensely.” The Gorrows own The Slow, a hotel, restaurant and gallery in Canggu; theslow.id.
Black Cat Speak Easy, Next door to Pretty Poison, Jalan Subak Canggu, Canggu, Kuta Utara; Hidden Beach Bar,
Take the little dirt track opposite One Eyed Jack, Jalan Pantai Berawa C89; Quince, Jalan Raya Pantai Berawa 51, Berawa, Canggu; Spring, Jalan Raya Batu Bolong 83c, Canggu, Kuta Utara, Bading; springspa.com; Canaan,
Katamama, Jalan Petitenget 51b, Seminyak; canaanbali.com
Ubud Writers & Readers Festival
“I’m always blown away by the fact that I live in a place where artisanal crafts are alive and kicking; a place where you can order a bolt of hand-woven fabric or live in a cottage with hand-carved doors and designer-style lights that are made to order up the road. “I was lucky enough to host a pop-up dinner at
Gaya Ceramic last year, a supremely elegant store that showcases the creative genius of the Italian owners, Marcello Massoni and Michela Foppiani. Their ceramics are of the highest quality while also being surprisingly affordable, and you’d be truly hard-pressed to find work as exciting and beautiful as theirs.
“And then there’s the food. Ibu Susu Bar &
Kitchen is a refreshing addition to Ubud’s food scene. I go for the beef rendang and stay for the tamarind black cod. There’s also an interesting list of fizzies courtesy of Balinese owner Ketut Aprinawan, a cocktail-maker extraordinaire who honed his skills in Melbourne.
“When my skin looks a little worse for tropical wear, I go straight to Asian Prophecy. After an hour, your skin is left positively sparkling. I often run to Tandjung
Sari to chill and recharge, too. It’s been around since Mick Jagger was a mere lad but it’s still in dazzling condition and overflows with Old World charm.” DeNeefe is the founder and director of the Ubud Writers & Readers Festival (staged this year on 24-28 October) and the Ubud Food Festival. She also owns Casa Luna restaurant and cooking school and Indus in Ubud; ubudwritersfestival.com
Gaya Ceramic, Jalan Raya Sayan, Ubud; gayaceramic. com; Ibu Susu Bar & Kitchen, Jalan Monkey Forest Ubud, Gianyar; ibususu.com; Asian Prophecy, Jalan Raya Pengosekan, Mas, Ubud, Kabupaten Gianyar; asianprophecy.com; Tandjung Sari, Jalan Danau Tamblingan 41, Sanur, Denpasar; tandjungsarihotel.com
ANTHONY MCINERHENEY Deus Ex Machina Indonesia
“When I moved to Bali with my family 12 years ago, Seminyak was the place to be; now the centre of all that’s hip and happening has moved north along the coast to Canggu. Where will it be in five years? No one knows. Bali is changing at a rate of knots.
“The Lawn is one of the smaller day clubs around. As the name suggests, it’s centred on a big chunk of grass (although they recently replaced it with artificial turf because it was being trodden to death) and dotted with Balinese umbrellas, under which they’ve scattered small tables and ottomans. A pool takes up most of the beach frontage. It’s great for an arvo-unwind beer or glass of wine; they have a full cocktail list, but a cleansing ale is sometimes just what one needs.
“In quiet Umalas you’ll find the sweet little French bistro, O LaLa Bistronomy, which opened late last year. It’s funny how we seek out pockets of Western culture in Bali, and I use any friend who comes to visit as an excuse to eat here. The chef, Fabrice Capron, serves fantastic comfort food. Think duck à l’orange, lamb confit and, my favourite, parmentier de boeuf Bourguignon. Then there’s 40 Thieves, a real ➤
“Where will Bali be in five years? No one knows. It’s changing at a rate of knots.” Anthony McInerheney
cocktail bar. Hip-hop music plays to a mix of locals, expats and adventurers in the know, and behind the bar it’s the crème de la crème of mixology.
“In the land of black-sand beaches, an uncrowded white-sand beach with snorkelling, warungs selling the freshest seafood, cold drinks and assorted bric-a-brac provides welcome respite. And that’s Virgin Beach (its local name is Pantai Bias Putih). It’s a couple of hours’ drive from Canggu, so make it a weekend jaunt.
“When I yearn for greenery and misty mountain mornings, I head to D’Wan Tea Mountain Side, on Bali’s second-highest mountain, Gunung Batukaru. It’s the perfect base for travelling to waterfalls and Hindu temples, and the sun rises in the huge valley surrounded by mountains: Gunung Batukaru, Batur, Abang and, of course, Agung.” McInerheney is the special projects manager of motorbike, surf and skate specialist Deus ex Machina, with three outlets in Bali: The Warung of Simple Pleasures, The Temple of Enthusiasm, and at Potato Head in Petitenget; deuscustoms.com The Lawn, Jalan Pura Dalem, Balu
Balong, Canggu; thelawncanggu.com;
O LaLa Bistronomy, Jalan Bumbak
Anyar Kelod gang Carik 1, Umalas 2, Kerobokan, North Kuta, Badung; olalabali.com; 40 Thieves, Jalan Petitenget 7, Badung; Virgin Beach, Look for the signs in the village of Bugbug, five kilometres east of Candidasa; D’Wan Tea
Mountain Side, Jatiluwih, Penebel, Tabanan
LIA-BELLE KING AND LOTTE BARNES Worn Store
“Bali is where it all began for Worn, so it’s a very special place for us. And even though we don’t live there anymore, it still very much feels like home. Places like The Slow are inspiring. It’s a hotel first and foremost, but it has the best coffee in Bali and wonderful art, too. There’s a very Los Angeles vibe – think downtown meets modern Malibu. The tableware at the hotel’s restaurant, designed by co-founder Cisco Gorrow, is understated yet utterly modern, much like The Slow itself.
“For a thrilling dining experience, head to Mejekawi at Ku De Ta. The chefs, Australians Benjamin Cross and Stephen Moore, do an incredible tasting menu. It feels really special but not stuffy.
“One foot inside Bodyworks and you’d be forgiven for thinking you’d been transported to Morocco.
With burnt orange walls and terrazzo baths, it’s a true oasis amid the at-times frantic energy of Seminyak – it also offers the best mani-pedi on the island. As for shopping, Biasa is the epitome of island luxe. The hand-printed sarongs, locally made resin jewellery and easy-to-wear pieces in the softest Indian cotton are a little bit Bali, a little bit Italian and every bit desirable.” King and Barnes are co-founders of Worn, an Australian furniture, fashion and homewares label; wornstore.com.au
The Slow, Jalan Batu Bolong 97, Canggu; theslow.id; Mejekawi, Jalan Kayu Aya 9, Seminyak; kudeta.com; Bodyworks, Jalan Kayu Jati 2, Petitenget; bodyworksbali.com; Biasa, Jalan Raya Seminyak 34, Denpasar; biasagroup.com JAMES BROWN Mash
“I’ve been going to Bali since 2011. It sometimes gets a bad rap because of the rapid development, but the spirit remains. I love the people, and the place is equally special – I’m constantly reminded of that, whether riding a moto beside a rice paddy in the rain, coming across a wave or hunting for the best babi guling.
“A lot of the time in Bali, I crave an air-conditioned icebox. That’s Da Maria for me, albeit one with clam gnocchi and cotoletta. My favourite dish is the arrosticini – the super salty skewers remind me of being in the backstreets of an Italian village with a bundle of them doused in lemon and wrapped in newspaper. At
Clear Café, meanwhile, it’s all about juices – this place has the best juices, elixirs and shakes on the planet. The Cajun fish sandwich with pineapple is also a must.
“Tropicola Beach Club, my latest project, is scheduled to open this month on Batu Belig Beach. Without spoiling the surprise, it’s as if this place existed in another time and place: coconut oil melting in the sun, sizzling shellfish over woodfire. Think Ettore Sottsass meets Slim Aarons on a Bali beach.
“Deus Ex Machina were onto something when they opened The Temple of Enthusiasm. It gave the world’s
best shapers a place to stay and make a few very swish boards. These days they host exhibitions for locals and rolling stones. There’s a skate ramp out the back, and Sunday nights are real fun for a feed and a boogie.
“There are 17,508 islands in the Indonesian archipelago and Bali is just one of them, so you don’t need to throw the stone far to reach an undeveloped nirvana. Bali Diving can take you diving with manta rays on Nusa Penida. I’ve been three times and seen lots of big and friendly rays every time. It’s epic. If you aren’t into diving, drive around Bali. It only takes eight hours and it’s breathtaking.” Brown is a co-director of Mash, an Adelaide-based design studio, known for its interior design of Adelaide restaurant Africola and Motel Mexicola in Seminyak. Its latest project, Tropicola Beach Club, opens soon; mashdesign.com.au Da Maria Bali, Jalan Petitenget 170, Denpasar; damariabali.com; Clear Café, Jalan Hanoman 8, Ubud, Kabupaten Gianyar; clearcafebali.com; Tropicola Beach
Club, Batu Belig Beach; tropicola.info; The Temple of
Enthusiasm, Jalan Batu Mejan 8, Canggu; deuscustoms. com; Bali Diving, Jalan By Pass Ngurah Rai, 46e Blanjong, Sanur; balidiving.com
R e s t a u r a t e u r, D a M a r i a B a l i
“I’ve been going to Bali for more than 25 years, but it changes so rapidly. I’m sure if I went next week there’d be 200 new restaurants. Farine Sourdough Bakery is a relaxing start to the day. I honestly think they’re showing not only Bali but also the world how to bake bread. Farine’s chef, Steven Skelly, is the executive chef at Da Maria. He’s a legend at passing on knowledge to the ever-growing Balinese hospitality community.
“We produced our fashion label, Ten Pieces, in Bali for quite some time because of the amazing street culture. That laid-back surf, punk and rock ’n’ roll scene provides so much inspiration and is really blossoming. Recently we made a pair of slides with a company called
Indosole, which makes shoes locally out of recycled tyres. I’m really intrigued by Bali’s urbanisation. It’s pretty raw, but I love being able to participate in its growth.
“For quiet time, I like The Oberoi. The drinks might not be the newest or hottest in town, but the old-school hospitality is second to none. All those beautiful old waiters have been working there for about 40 years.
“Bella Rowell was my general manager when we opened Da Maria; she’s an industry veteran and has now opened Fishbone Local. A lot of menus overwork things, but not this one. A piece of sustainable fish on the grill with nothing but a salad and a slice of lemon – that’s what I want to eat in the heat. And, as a bonus, they’re the only ones in Bali to stock our Goldy Gin.” Terzini is the restaurateur behind Icebergs Dining Room & Bar, The Dolphin Hotel, Da Orazio and Bondi Beach Public Bar in Sydney. His Bali restaurant, Da Maria Bali, opened in 2016; damariabali.com Farine Sourdough Bakery, Jalan Raya Pantai Berawa
23, Tibubeneng, Kabupaten Badung; farine-sourdough-bakery. business.site; Indosole, indosole.com; The Oberoi, Seminyak Beach, Jalan Kayu Aya, Denpasar; oberoihotels.com; Fishbone
Local, 117x Batu Bolong, Canggu; fishbonelocal.com ● G O U R M E T T R AV E L L E R
Clockwise:The Lawn; Gaya Ceramic; Spring; Ibu Susu Bar & Kitchen.
Clockwise from top left: Quince; Mejekawi; 40 Thieves; The Slow owners Cisco and George Gorrow; Farine Sourdough Bakery; gnocchi, with clams, fermented chilli and parsley at Da Maria.