Beautiful Dining Table with Backdrop of the Bar
Open Kitchen with an Impressive Number of Chefs
Main Dining Area
Dining guests have a choice of 2 set menus: Locavore and Herbivore. Locavore is omnivorous and herbivore is vegetarian. Diners can choose either a 5 course or a 7 course meal and both these have the option of adding a beverage pairing. The Herbivore Menu was RP. 625 for 5 dishes (or RP 1125 for beverage pairing) and 725 for 7 dishes (or RP 1325 for beverage pairing) and the Locavore menu is RP 725 for 5 dishes (or RP 1,225 for beverage pairing) and 825 for 7 dishes (or RP. 1425 for beverage pairing).
We learned that the 5 course meal is the same as the 7 course meal, just without courses 3 and 4. While 5-7 dishes may sound like a lot, I was blown away by 7+ small starters before our 7 course meal began! You will be served a deluge of small courses before and after, so don’t worry about leaving hungry!
So on with the story. We sat down and had high expectations.
LDS Snapshots of Locavore’s Dishes:
The first amuse bouche was a crushing success. A success because the edible native leaf (a running theme in this blog will be that I have no idea what most of the ingredients are) with its gorgeous filling was a stunning burst of flavour. And flavors that were totally foreign to what we’re used to. Crushing because we were really hungry and this really left us wanting more.
Second up was another native leaf, but this time tempura battered. Have you eaten kale chips before? If you have, imagine something 100x better. That’s it. Again, beautiful presentation and something that disappeared all to quickly.
Next were little “turmeric puffs” – a hollow pastry shell that had been injected with a sour/sweet/bitter ginger, turmeric concoction. It was also presented beautifully on a wild display of turmeric roots.
This one was a delightful twist on Russian cuisine. A black rice blini with mushroom mousse, smoked egg and nasturtium. While I can’t recall the complete breakdown of ingredients, what I do remember is that this was elegant and (again) mighty tasty.
Continuing the long list of starters, this was sticky rice wrapped in a roasted leaf where we were instructed to unwrap it, dip it in the sauce and enjoy!
This was one of my surprise favourites, this didn’t stand out as much as others in presentation “wow” factor. But this tomato sorbet on tomato is perhaps the highest height that a tomato can ever aspire to. It was just so complete in flavor profile, texture and temperature.
Oh my days! I love egg-tofu custard anything. My favorite thing to eat growing up was basically steamed egg custard in chicken broth. Simple and pure comfort, this was basically my childhood favorite dish all grown up. A petite portion but so complex and interesting, this egg custard was with apple and ginger vinegar, seaweed pearls and a crispy seaweed chip.
I honestly could eat just this for the rest of my life and die happy.
The final amuse bouche (!) before the 7 courses start – we were worried at this point how much more our stomachs could handle. This was a flatbread served with a range of tasty pastes, crushed nuts and oil for dipping pleasure. Again, just a great example of how something very simple can be deceptively tasty.
Cocktail #1: Roasted Coconut Infused Rum, Jalapeños Liquid, Lime Juice
Our first cocktail was just a perfect pairing to our first course. It was sharp and sour, but a short taste that didn’t overwhelm the equally powerful ceviche.
“Let’s Call It an Indonesian Ceviche”
Ok now I can list the ingredients, as I have the menu. Let me know how many you recognise – raw fish, asinan liquid, bangkuang, sayur asin, lokio, peanuts and kepidoh leaves.
So they call this a ceviche, which it is technically. But it’s definitely unlike any other ceviche I’ve ever had before. Using so many local ingredients native to Bali, the flavours morph this dish into something very unique to the South American original. So the comparison is fair, but at the same time, it is comparing apples to oranges. A real 矛盾 (maodun), I know!
Cocktail #2: Fermented Cabbage Juice, Pimm’s No.1, Campari, Plantation rum, Aromatic Mushroom Liquid
This drink sounds on the face of it even more insane than the last, but it was gorgeous. Really complex but well balanced and smooth. Well played.
Steak Tartar: Raw beef from central Bali, tong cai, aminos liquid pickled genjer, mushroom, fermented garlic, purslane
Veering over to French inspiration now, but still finds a way to adapt this into a unique Balinese dish. The traditional capers, pickles and other accoutrements have been replaced by their local equivalents. This gives an equally spunky yet unfamiliar punch to the French classic dish.
Cocktail #3: Wild Shallot Tea, Bourbon, Homemade Brem, Stark Dark Wheat
No, the wheat has nothing to do with Game of Thrones. I really struggle to describe some of these courses, and this cocktail is no exception. Again, so much going on that my taste buds are at a loss but loving the surprise of these exotic flavors.
Squid in Black: Dark Squid a la Plancha, Squid Ink, Onions, Lacto-fermented Leek and Daun Hujan.
From being entirely lost to a little bit less so, I knew at least 80% of the ingredients in this dish!
Really love all things squid and squid ink, so while it was every bit as delicious as I was expecting it to be, this course was mini in portion size. It felt as small as all the small starter bites we were treated to before our official 7 courses began and unfortunately, it disappeared far too quickly.
Cocktail #4: Cemcem Leaves, Young Coconut, Lemo Bali, Lemongrass, Tamarind Syrup, Light Rum
Stunning. That’s it.
Into the Sawah: Heritage Galuh Rice (from Tegalalang, Central Bali), Snails & Garlic, 64 Degrees Duck Egg, Frog Abon, Fern Tips, Wild Flowers
This dish description perked up my culinary curiosity the most – from snails to frog and duck egg, I wasn’t quite sure what to expect. Though a striking dish in presentation, this was not at all the texture I was expecting. The egg had been cooked to a gooey consistency. The rice provided some crunch and the garlic and snails gave the kick. Much calmer on the palate than the previous dishes, but a nice balance of flavors and textures.
Cocktail #5: Pineapple Juice, Temulawak Infused Gin, Wild Honey and Lemongrass
Sweet and sour, yet with enough traces of the lemongrass and temulawak to provide depth, this cocktail was the yin to the fish’s yang.
Ikan Bumbu Kuning: Fish Cooked in “Yellow” Broth, Labu Siam, Pineapple, Belimbing Wuluh
This course was also delicate, but with hints of the kick that usually accompanies Southeast Asian cuisine. The fish was cooked to perfection and the broth hinted at that curry you ate recently. The drink brought this all to a head. Overall another complex dish, but with very subtle flavors and textures.
Cocktail #6: Kinatami Orange, Bourbon, Homemade Vermouth, Angostura Bitter, Ginger Beer
A little too bitter when tasting on its own, but it hits the right spots when paired with the accompanying final main pork course.
Bangkal Hitam: Heritage Balinese Pork, Jackfruit Kalio, Sauce Lado Mudo, Cassava Leaves
Here came the theatre – presented on a smoking plate of leaves, this dish looked intimidating! Crack open the bamboo though and inside you just have a really amazing dish of roasted pork nestled inside a bamboo stalk.
Packed with flavour on its own, I almost ate it all before remembering to also dip it in all the accompanying sauces. Not that it mattered, I would have eaten them on their own too. I’m blown away by these Balinese sauces that are all bursting with such powerful flavor profiles!
Palate cleanser with rosella powder, pomelo + other exotic ingredients
Before dessert, this pretty little thing popped out – a picture perfect palate cleanser. Normally palate cleansers can be pretty sour and sharp, but this was light and refreshing that was slightly bitter from the fresh, pink pomelo.
Cocktail #7: Es Cendol with Homemade Cendol, Fresh Coconut Milk, Palm Sugar
Cendol is a traditional Balinese liquor and the smooth coconut milk and touch of palm sugar just topped everything off for a very tasty finish to our indulgent 7-course meal.
Agar-Agar Santan: Young Coconut, Roasted Coconut, Kaffir Lime, Agar-Agar, Palm Sugar
Very clever display of coconut and palm sugar jelly sticks with a sharp Kaffir lime sorbet. Little did I know, this final dessert course was also accompanied by a surprise smorgasbord of extra sweet treats.
Out came a bowl of deep purple juicy grapes, rosella flowers displayed in small vases containing the juice of the flower, a traditional balinese cake, more sorbet and something pretty that came served in long wooden spoons.
Not sure exactly what everything was, but the abundance of this spread gave that extra “wow” factor” that left us with a strong, lasting impression of this extraordinary meal.
If you can manage to get a reservation, then Locavore is a must visit food destination. Make your way over to Ubud and do whatever you gotta go to lock in a seat during your stay. If you can’t get a reservation, there is a chance you’ll get lucky like us and snag a table due to a last-minute cancellation. Despite not knowing what the majority of the ingredients are, the flavours are explosive.
Vibrant and visionary, the owners Chef Ray Adriansyah and Chef Eelke Plasmeijer has put together something truly special here in Ubud, Bali.
Locavore Contact Details:
- Address: 10 Jalan Dewi Sita, Ubud, Bali, Indonesia
- Tel: +62(0) 361 977733
- Opening Hours: Lunch from Tuesdays to Saturdays 12:00 – 14:30, Dinner from Mondays to Saturdays 18:30 – 22:00
- Website: https://www.locavore.co.id
Kristen Lum has an accomplished background in PR, communications and events in China. Born and raised in California, Kristen has been based in Beijing since 2006 and is founder of the lifestyle blog called LumDimSum, covering mostly restaurant news and reviews alongside upcoming events around town that relate to Beijing’s muti-faceted, quickly-developing creative industries like art, music, film, health and fitness, fashion, nightlife, charity events, and travel tips.