|Cafe Bali: entrance (L), bar area (R)
Jalan Oberoi (Laksmana) is known to be Bali’s “eat street” and rightly so. It’s on this narrow to-lane road that snakes through Seminyak that there is the most concentration of high-end restaurants and boutiques on the island. Cafe Bali is right smack in the center of this bustling street and you can’t miss the white Colonial building with a shaded porch and a long line of motorcycles permanently parked out front.
We went for lunch recently on Idul Fitri (Lebaran) and arrived at noon to a half-filled restaurant. The all-white interior of this Joglo-type wooden house is bright and airy. The place was furnished with white tables and chairs, cushy sofas and armchairs while off to one side is a small area with antique-tiled flooring and a wooden bar taking up most of the room. The plastic flower-themed table covers and the hammered tin bowls filled with fresh flower petals added a nice touch too.
|From upper left: flowers on the table, greek salad, pumpkin gnocchi, beef satay, chicken curry
We settled in one of the outdoor tables on the porch, underneath the whirring fans and overlooking the street. The menu is a mix of continental, Dutch and Asian cuisine with some salads and starters, some pastas, and Asian dishes. Greek salad to start then the pumpkin gnocchi for A, beef satay for J (a bargain for Seminyak at 28,000 IDR or about US$3) and the Indian chicken curry for me and large lemon iced teas for everyone.
While waiting, we enjoyed the people watching – mostly expats sitting around and chatting or having a coffee and enjoying the free WiFi. The food was served not long afterwards: the greek salad came with lots of crumbled Feta on tomatoes, black olives, cucumbers and red and yellow peppers (strangely, there were a few stray capers in it as well, not sure if that was deliberate or just a mistake). A declared his pumpkin gnocchi delicious and finished it rather quickly. As we often do, J and I shared our dishes – the Indian chicken curry was spicy and came with saffron-flavored onion rice, a piece of chapati and some lentils while the beef satay was properly char-grilled and came with rice, prawn crackers, acar (pickled cucumbers) and peanut sauce (sadly, the only letdown of the meal as it was too smooth and not peanut-y enough). We weren’t expecting much from Cafe Bali and since we were pleasantly surprised at how our lunch turned out, we decided to order some dessert as well. Chocolate mousse which came in a cup, bittersweet and thick enough you could stand a spoon in it and profiteroles, one of our favorites, which was the usual three choux-pastry balls filled with good-quality vanilla ice cream and lots of dark chocolate sauce. Yes, portions are on the small side and the service was a bit choppy but all in all, Cafe Bali is a good choice for a cheap and cheerful meal, something that’s quite hard to come by in Seminyak.
Jalan Oberoi (Laksmana)
Tel: +62 361 736 484
Open daily, from 7 a.m. till late