1. SOLEIL AT THE MULIA
here are two brunch packages to choose from – one with juices, coffees and teas (IDR 539,000 or around USD 39) and another with wine and cocktails (IDR 879,000 or around USD 64). Soleil has a good selection of New World wines, including Paul Cluver of South Africa, Astrolabe from New Zealand and Chilean Concha Y Torro, while Soleil’s own signature cocktails to try include the Arancia Piccante Martini, a spicy chili-infused take on the Orange-Tini. Both the buffet line and a la carte menu feature a good mix of dishes – there are also selections with clearly Indonesian, Vietnamese and Thai influences, such as a variety of juicy satay selections representing different origins in Indonesia (Madura, Bali, Marangi and Cilacap), ‘gado gado’ vegetable salads, tom yum and Vietnamese spring rolls. Wine prices in Indonesia can be crazily high; the free-flow wine package is a great deal for connoisseurs. Following the success of its brunch offerings, Soleil introduced its Weekend Dinner highlight, also with free-flow wine options (IDR 899,000 or around USD 65 per person). Premium meats, grilled seafood, an all-inclusive a la carte menu with daily Chef’s selections are included.
Highlights from the first course menu include the Piovra alla Brace, grilled octopus with capers, lemon and rocket salad, which was a wonderful balance between freshness and textures, Pancetta Fresca grilled Kurobuta pork belly with pickled vegetables and balsamic dressing, Spaghetti Frutti di Mare with clams, shrimps, crab and squid, and Soupe au Pistou or Riviera style vegetable soup with pesto. For the main course, go for something meaty, such as the Pollo al’Aceto roast chicken doused in a white wine sauce and scented with Italian vinegar and thyme or Steak Frites, grilled hanger steak with mushroom sauce, fried potatoes and classical Fourme d’Ambert French cheese. In between, the buffet line is there whenever you like, with more tempting morsels – from savouries, salads, cheese and meats… but do save some space for dessert. We eventually made our final round to the expansive dessert buffet, with a towering chocolate fountain and an amazing variety of confections to conclude dinner.
2. ROCK BAR AYANA
Getting to the Rock Bar itself is an experience. Past Ayana’s green cliff-top lawns you’ll notice two ways to descend, and both provide spectacular bird’s eye views. First is the ‘hard way’ down the extended flight of stairs that leads you to the Kisik Bar & Grill, which serves fine seafood under a thatched roof restaurant and at the tables on the sand. Continuing to the Rock Bar, you stroll along the cliff base causeway around Ayana’s free-form ocean beach pool. The second access is an effortless option, by means of a funicular ride down. However, expect queues, especially moments before sunset time. Queues are divided into two, one of which is a ‘fast lane’ reserved for hotel guests – one of the perks of staying at the Ayana. If you have the energy, we’d recommend going the ‘hard way’ as there are several stops along the descent that provide you memorable scenic and photographic moments of the seascape and horizon, the beach and cliff base, and most of all, the Rock Bar.
Among the favourites are the Rock Bar’s martinis, comprising quirkily-named blends such as Punch Rock, Rockberry Martini and Spa on the Rock, the latter comprising vodka, blackcurrant liqueur, blueberry and cranberry juice. Spa on the Rock is also the name of Ayana’s equally dramatic spa option located on the resort’s southern coastline. The cocktails were designed by international bar consultant Sebastien Bonnefoi, using imported liquors blended with local fruits, herbs and spices to complement the natural setting. Simple bites include a tray of crispy calamari served with stone bowls of spicy tomato sauce, prawn spring rolls with chilli sauce, and chicken popcorn served in a spiral cone stand with herbed olive oil and spiced Egyptian duqqa dip. Besides resident music director Martin East leading a stellar DJ line-up spinning Mediterranean beats, Nu-disco, deep house, and chill outs every sunset and late night weekends, international Ibiza and Indonesian guest DJs have also ‘rocked’ the Rock, such as Jez Colin and Jakarta DJ Riri Mestica, spinning tunes from a special booth carved into the rock face. Eleventh-hour schedules include international bands playing exceptional unplugged sessions, such as previous gigs that featured Stephan Jenkins and his band Third Eye Blind, Alma Desnuda, blues king Jim Larkin, and other acts from Down Under and the States.
3. EL KARBON
El Kabron Cliff Club is a Spanish restaurant and cliff club overlooking the Indian Ocean on the cliffs of Pecatu, near Uluwatu. You can also enjoy a great selection of signature cocktails while soaking in its gorgeous free-form infinity pool. Its borderless edge overlook some of Bali’s most favourite surf breaks. While regular surfers will know the area like the back of their boards, the site is quite a search for first-timers. From the main Jalan Uluwatu heading toward Padang Padang, El Kabron Cliff Club is at the end of a long and winding limestone and dirt road. The search, nevertheless, is really worth the view and the vibes.
The Mediterranean styling of El Kabron Cliff Club shows in its all-white and rustic scheme, with thatched roofs and wooden cart wheels for windows. A slightly arched doorway leads you into the ocean-facing courtyard. Blue beanbags dot real beach sand spread around the white stone pool. The result is a surreal ‘floating’ seaside scene with Ibiza style vibes and chill-out beats. Music is channelled from playlists. Live bands and DJs also feature regularly. El Kabron Cliff Club’s menu presents authentic and traditional Spanish and Mediterranean. The dishes are crafted by Executive Chef Marc Torices Guardia. He brings to the venue years of experience that include stints at Barcelona’s Michelin-starred Sant Pau Restaurant. From a semi-open kitchen Chef Marc Torices cooks up traditional Spanish tapas. These include among others, his own ‘las anchoas’ Mediterranean anchovies and sweet onion.
El Kabron Cliff Club’s paellas are good for sharing. These comprise seafood or meat, pan-fried with saffron-infused rice and the Spanish base sauce of ‘sofrito’. The paellas serve a minimum of two and requires half an hour to prepare. ‘Paella de pollo con setas’ comes with chicken, mushroom and vegetables. There’s also a wood-fired section for barbeques and grills. Reservations are a must. And you can expect long parking rows over the weekends. El Kabron Cliff Club’s crowd is a mix of locals, expats and tourists. Taxis easily take you to and from the peninsula area. You can come for brunch or lunch, and stay for the whole afternoon to catch the sunsets. Kids are welcome to play and swim while parents sink into the blue beanbags with a ‘sex on the cliff’ secret-recipe cocktail at hand.
4. MEJEKAWI BY KU DE TA
5. BREEZE AT THE SEMAYA
In the evening, you can choose to dine under the stars and enjoy a glass of wine from an extensive wine list as you enjoy the simple yet delicious dinner menu. Highlights include local dishes such as Bebek Menyatnyat at IDR 180,000 (UD$13) which uses traditional Balinese spices as well as coconut milk to slow cook the delicious braised duck. You can also try Udang Bakar Samaya, an in-house specialty of jumbo river prawns with local vegetables cooked with shredded coconut and served with steamed rice.
6. THE WARUNG AT ALILA
The Warung offers the perfect mix of authentic Indonesian cuisine and stellar views of the Indian Ocean. The fine-dining restaurant is located at Alila Villas Uluwatu, a luxury resort with a clifftop location, making the venue ideal for sunset gazing. The food does not pale in comparison with the views.
The Warung’s menu offers a comprehensive taste of Indonesian flavours hailing from different destinations across the archipelago. The menu is divided based on each of the dish’s place of original. From Bali, there’s the likes of ‘sate lilit ikan’ (wrap-style minced tuna satay) and ‘bebek goreng Bali’ crispy fried duck. From Java, highlights include ‘nasi liwet’ (rice cooked in coconut milk), while the Padang section elevates hearty street food from northern Sumatra into new culinary heights. Main dishes at the Warung are priced at IDR 80,000 (USD 6) and up. The Warung also offers special set menus designed for two, which include an assortment of dishes based on different themes – try the ‘Megibung’ sharing menu to get a real taste of Bali. Set menus are priced at IDR 785,000 (USD 60).
7. AZUL BEACH BALI
Azul Beach Club is one of the best spots in Legian to enjoy laidback drinks, sea breezes and views by day, and chill-outs at sunset. Formerly The Parasol Restaurant, the beachfront restaurant and bar is located by the southern gardens of the Bali Mandira Beach Resort and Spa, and stands out near the coastline with its visually appealing all-bamboo structure. The beach club comprises semi-open dining sections, a bar and lounging spaces set over three levels, all designed under rotundas and towering thatch-roof domes. By day, Azul Beach Club offers pleasant cool shelter to escape the heat, from where you can simply chill while enjoying the sea views. Hit either of its centrally positioned bars – one on the upper deck and another below – that embraces the name, ‘blue’ in Spanish, through its glowing backlit design. There’s a great list of signatures designed by acclaimed mixologist Joseph Boroski. Dessert cocktails and martinis to ‘modern tikis’ such as Pina Mai Tai and Colada Mama all prove delightful quenchers.
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