I didn’t know what to expect as I walked into Locavore.
I didn’t care if it featured on Asia’s 50 Best.
I did, however, care about the fact this was my big splurge on a budget trip to Bali
It was almost impossible to get a reservation – even 2 weeks in advance – I played my ‘tourist’ card at the very last minute, Thank You very much.
I’m familiar with Indonesian food but not so much with local ingredients and nuances.The Bombay Canteen does something very similar with Indian food and it’s one of my favourite places. So… Can’t be all bad, right?
The space itself is very simple – a contrast to some of the more popular restaurants in the city. Unassuming and discreet – you could tell me I’m in Bombay and I’d believe you.
The windows let plenty of natural light pour in during the afternoons, so there’s not much of ambient lighting to speak of.
The open kitchen is buzzing even as we arrive to an almost empty restaurant.
The menu is slick, uncluttered and changes every few days and that means you’re always left guessing.
Our 5 course experience began with a series of teasers – the most memorable of which was a young tomato sorbet served with a warm tomato consomme and chilli. It was a beautiful melange of different temperatures and textures.
The first course of Palm Heart salad was a perfect combination of comforting flavours. The creamy dressing alone is worth that flight to Indonesia.
The next course of Brown Rice and Mushrooms was full of tart, savoury elements (including a ridiculously addictive mushroom powder). Rightly named ‘Umami’, the bowl was wiped clean and I was left with withdrawal symptoms.
The main course with baby potatoes and carrots was a tad underwhelming after the rich second course. The sticky sauce beautifully complemented the tender vegetables, but the dish lacked the layers and complexity of the first two courses.
For our final savoury course, we chose their rendition of Tempe.
Perfectly crisp and coated in a sour-sweet sauce, it was wonderfully balanced. Every bite had a something new and the texture of the tempe was flawless.
Our dessert course was the Bubur Sum Sum. A beautiful bowl of creamy rice pudding and lighter than air coconut foam. Sigh. I still dream about it sometimes.
Our meal was followed by the most delicate custard made with duck eggs. Almost as good as the dessert course, this was sublime.
The meal lasted a good 3 hours and got better with every passing course – almost like a symphony. Every single plate that made it’s way to our table (There were atleast 10!) was like a piece of art. Every little element played a part and lent something to the dish.
The food is rustic yet has elements of theatre. It’s not just molecular for presentation but for the way an ingredient tastes.
We left deliriously happy and surprised at how simple, local ingredients can sit at a world-class restaurant and still make perfect sense.
If there’s any place that manages style with simplicity – it’s this one.
So the next time you’re in Bali, skip that beach party for a meal here, will you?
P.S – Locavore jumped from no. 49 to no. 22 on Asia’s 50 best in 2017. Even more reason to visit!
P.P.S – If you thought just the food is amazing, wait till you taste some of their cocktails. They’ve got Professor Snape at the bar for magic potions 😉
Restaurant Locavore –> Jl. Dewi Sita, Ubud, Bali
Cost –> A 5 course meal plus a drink would cost you about 4000 INR.