Bali Food Diaries – What’s new on the menu this December/January

We created the Balifood Diaries to put the spotlight on our favourite new restaurants, new menus, and cocktails that tingle with good times and tropical flavours. Join our team as we travel island-wide to seek out the best.

Café Del Mar launches seaside dining.

The most anticipated beach club opening of the year, bringing one of the world’s most famous brands to the beachfront in Berawa is committed to ensuring every single person who walks in the door has a good time. That’s a big promise with capacity this big, but there’s a lot more to Café Del Mar Bali than just the beach club, the music, and the drinks, they have also launched with a serious team of chefs determined to make the beach club a great place to dine as well. With a bistro offering beach club classics with attitude, guests can enjoy it all without leaving their day beds. More formal diners can now choose to eat in the airy seaside restaurant where sharing menus offer the chance to delve a little deeper into the cuisine. Made for long lunches and leisurely dinners overlooking the ocean, British Chef Graeme Palmer, straight from the kitchen of Scully by Ottolenghi in London is charged with making this menu dance with personality and great flavours. Joining him is Australian pastry chef, Lani Greenhalgh (Fleet, Cutler & Co, Estelle) who is in full pursuit of desserts that shine with tropical elements. Two talented local chefs I Gede Ariwijaya (ex Mejekawi Restaurant) and Wirya Purnama ( ex Potato Head/Katamama) bring a wealth of local knowledge and international experience. The dining room is a vision in white, with a glass frontage and a walk-in wine room and spectacular ocean views framed by signature arches, that promises that festive feasts will be incredible.

Chefs Ari, Lani, Wirya and Graeme at Cafe Del Mar.

Karma Barbecues in Jimbaran.

Firmly challenging the notion that Jimbaran is sleepy after dark, The Bay Bar & Grill at Karma Jimbaran is now hosting a Saturday Sundowner party with live DJs playing funk, soul and disco classics. Throw in an ‘all-you-can-eat’ barbecue for just IDR 350,000++ and let the good times roll. Fridays are not forgotten either – with Karma Live Fridays showcasing live acoustic music of the soulful persuasion with soulful Duo Moana Band, accompanied with a special grill barbecue from IDR 299,000++.

Karmas fish bbq Jimbaran.
Karmas fish bbq Jimbaran.

Global Explorer Sunday Brunch in Nusa Dua.

The new Global Explorer Sunday Brunch at The Laguna Resort & Spa happens right on the beach, just meters from the sparkling sea and is great fun for all the family – kids will love their own buffet, not to mention the treasure hunt. Indulge in the freshest seafood, mouth-watering pastries, sublime salads, and Asian faves, including sushi and sashimi, then finish with a selection of decadent desserts. Add free-flow cocktail packages to really make a day of it, and don’t forget your swimmers as brunch includes access to the gorgeous lagoon style-swimming pools of the resort.

The Laguna buffet.

Uni finds its sweet spot in Berawa.

Bali is crying out for great seafood, cocktails designed to beat the heat, lively kitchen theatrics, thoughtful wine selections and a stunning, light-filled restaurant and bar to enjoy it in. And along comes Uni, and ticks all our boxes. For Chef Steven Skelley and creative Food and Beverage Manager, Nicolas Lento, Uni in Berawa is all about playing to their strengths, one is a creative master with seafood, the other is committed to creative cocktails and fabulous wine pairings. They first worked together at Urchin in Seminyak, Uni is the follow on after a string of twists and turns for the two of them. Skelley is currently Executive Chef of the Mexicola Group (Da Maria, Motel Mexicola and Luigi’s pizza) and Nicolas is the F&B Director of the group. Think beautifully prepared seafood, raw, cured, tossed in a series of delicious pasta dishes or simply grilled to perfection, match this with wine pairings that are thoughtful and quite fabulous and finish with some of the best desserts we’ve tried in a long time – the pannacotta with vinegar, sea salt and bee pollen is on my list of favourite things ever! Degustation menus and a la carte are on offer, and try one of the short-listed cocktails on arrival, the little bar is a bit of a secret hangout in Berawa.

The restaurant Uni
The restaurant Uni.

Plant-based menus worth celebrating.

Just because you won’t be ordering ham or turkey this Christmas, doesn’t mean vegan and vegetarians will miss out. We’ve sampled some of our favourite menus and they are absolutely worth celebrating.

At Essential in Batubolong, Brazilian mixologist, Fabio Leite blends fragrant cocktails – think Mango and Cucumber Daiquiri and Passionfruit and Chilli Caipiroska – with hearty vegan tapas. We loved the asparagus tempura and the tempeh croquettes, not to mention the rustic chic vibe and very cool soundtrack.

Colorful food at Essentials.
Colorful food at Essentials.

In other vegan news, Vinny’s Warung now has two locations, in Berawa and Batubolong, and is serving up nutritious breakfasts – including Acai bowls with homemade sugar free granola, and organic, vegan nasi campur for lunch – at a very affordable price. While you’re there stock up on some products to take home from Vinny’s pantry – all home-made and delicious.

Breakfast at Vinny’s Warung.

Finally, if you are in the mood for a burger, and the recent fires in the Amazon are making you think about reducing your beef intake, head to Balibola on Jl Petitenget for a big fat juicy plant protein burger with the works, served on a charcoal bun. This fun new cafe is flexitarian so can have your burger with or without fried eggs and opt for regular or vegan cheese. Keep the comfort food rolling with a vegan ‘nice’ cream sundae with chocolate brownie or a simple coconut ‘nice cream’ cone. It’s all very Instagram friendly too, if that’s your thing.

Showing how much demand there is for plant-friendly dishes, The Plumber’s Arms, the little local pub in Banjar Semer, Umulas, has added a mushroom and nut roast to their Sunday menu. It’s available every Sunday which means vegan and vegetarians can continue the tradition of home-made Sunday roasts.

The vegan burger at Balibola.

Samik opens in Seminyak.

Nic Phillips is a chef who has worked in various Bali restaurants including the stunning Indigo resort in Seminyak. He’s finally branched out on his own with a modern Australian/Mediterranean-inspired bar and eating house on the Seminyak site made famous by Warung Ocha. The casual eatery will offer all day dining with a salad bar, spit roasts, burgers, wraps, dips and the type of food the chef himself is happy to eat all day long, “tasty, no fuss’” he explains. Expect the bar to follow suit with long cool drinks including infused gin and tonics, healthy juices, creative mocktails and cold beer! Eat in the restaurant with its open kitchen or sit in the leafy garden.

The best meatballs at Samik
The best meatballs at Samik.

Ijen puts sustainable seafood in the spotlight.

Ijen launched over a year ago with a menu styled around sustainability. The open-air restaurant has now adapted the menu for seafood lovers with an eye to lighter, healthier dishes. Indonesian spices and sauces have been replaced with lighter, tropical flavours, just in time for the opening of the fabulous new Desa Potato Head which will see the beach club doubled in size, a lofty new hotel and cultural centre and more options to dine, play and enjoy one of the island’s best views.

Seafood at Patato head.

John Hardy brings the long lunch to Seminyak.

In the tradition created many years ago at the gorgeous John Hardy Workshop in the Balinese village of Abiensamal near Ubud, the new architecturally marvellous John Hardy Emporium in Seminyak has launched with a dining space that recreates the famous long table lunches. Entering the street level shopping gallery is a journey devoted to traditional and modern Balinese craftsmanship that encompasses much more than the signature jewellery. Lofty architecture, open spaces, fabrics, ceramics and serene music combine with an outdoor terrace and a jamu bar to invoke a sense of place. Take the stairs to the lower level and discover the long table set and ready for lunch. Menus are based on traditional Indonesian dishes, prepared with organic ingredients, simply prepared by a team of committed cooks, using timeless cooking methods. The space overlooks a Balinese garden and temple, creating a sense of serenity and well being. It’s an incredible space to simply sit and enjoy the beauty inspired by Bali.

John Hardy brings the long lunch to Seminyak.


Bali’s first underwater restaurant opened at the monumental Apruva Kempinski Resort to woo the jaded diner with delicious food and an immersive aquarium experience. The first aquarium restaurant to open in Bali, taking the stairs down to Koral is to lose yourself in an underwater world of colour and movement. The menu has a strong focus on seafood with a small but delicious French bistro menu offered as well. Kempinski has managed to add yet another memorable dining experience to a menu that is simply overflowing with great choices.

Koral underwater restaurant
Koral underwater restaurant.

Kaza Seminyak – putting the stars into Seminyak dining.

When a Michelin-starred restaurant chef arrives on our doorstep, we pay attention. The youthful French Chef, Cyril Boulais arrives in Bali from the 2 Michelin-starred restaurant, Seagrill in Brussels. Charged with opening a new dining room at the stylish boutique resort, Kanvaz in Jl Petitenget, a sparkling open kitchen is his new office. French is the flavour at Kaza but the chef has wasted no time seeking out quality suppliers to compliment a gourmet selection of imported produce. With its own entrance on the busy Petitenget strip, the restaurant is large, open and air-conditioned, choose from set menus to a la carte selections, there’s a private dining room, an excellent wine list and loads of skill and personality on the menu.

Delicious dinner at Kaza Seminyak.
Delicious dinner at Kaza Seminyak.

KAZA at Kanvaz Village Resort, Jl Petitenget No. 188, Seminyak, p +62 361 2090 818, e. Open daily.

Cocktails at The Slow.

Design-driven Canggu boutique hotel, The Slow, has earned its place on the Batu Bolong strip for it’s exciting cocktail of music, art, uber-cool accommodation and a kitchen and bar that punches above its weight. With the arrival of chef Daniel Medcalfe, formerly of Bondi’s Icebergs and the Dolphin Hotel in Sydney’s Surry Hills, things have gone from great to wow. In tune with the tropical brutalism vibe, master mixologist Antonello Arzedi, has overhauled the cocktail menu to create 8 signature cocktails that sing a song of summer. The Sardinian bartender who made his name at Icebergs and Scout Sydney, has taken to the abundance of nature to create cocktails that are, “super fresh and taste even more like a summer holiday”. Combining seasonality, sustainability and sane eating, The Slow brings out the best in Canggu and is without doubt one of the coolest spots to get your dose of art, surf culture, design and a menu that is fresh and fabulous.



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