Locavore Restaurant Ubud, Bali (Asia's 50 Best Restaurant)
Locavore holds a lot of memories for Hubby and I. We went there during our short 13 hour transit in Bali. I booked the restaurant a month before and was so glad that they still had a slot for us at 6:45 PM. On the day, our driver from Bali Cab dropped us off in front of the restaurant and I informed him that it'd be about a 1.5 - 2 hours dinner session. In any case it was easy enough to send him a quick message to let him know if we got delayed.
We arrived 15 minutes before the restaurant opened and we were told to wait outside while the staff prepared all tables and condiments. While we were waiting, we met a couple that was reading the menu outside of the restaurant. They asked me what I thought about the restaurant and I told them that I never dined at Locavore before but I booked it because they were number #49 on the Asia's 50 Best Restaurants list. This fact also made them the only restaurant in Indonesia that made it into the list. My sales pitch was really successful but unfortunately for them the restaurant was fully booked for that night and the next.
Service at Locavore
I requested a table with good lighting so the staff actually asked me if I had any preferred seating at the restaurant. We chose to sit at the far end of the restaurant area because the seating looked comfortable. Looking back I would really have loved to sit near the kitchen area to see all the action. Definitely two thumbs up for the service at Locavore for honouring my request!
It was a battle when I tried to decide whether to go with the 5 course or 7 course dinner selections. 7 courses would be ideal but it would take about 2.5 - 3 hours for the degustation dinner whereas the 5 courses would only took 2 hours. We had to take into account the traffic jam around Ubud area and the time it took for our driver to go back to the airport. Hubby was dead set on the 5 courses and I finally yielded after wasting 15 minutes thinking about it (or what felt like 30 minutes thinking time).
The staff asked us about our check in time and it became very personal when she told us that she'd ask the chef to pump out each dish as quickly as possible. The chef agreed to the request and would try their best to do so. I was so grateful to the staff at Locavore for their help.
Throughout the night, the staff always explained the ingredients that went into each of the meals as well as our amuse bouches. They were patient and kindly answered each question that I had as well.
Food at Locavore
We started our night with well-prepared and refreshing cocktails. I really loved the Rujak cocktail which was a mix of red chillies, lemongrass, cucumber, pinapple shaken with chili infused Ketel One Vodka and tamarind syrup. The cocktail was then garnished with lemongrass and jeruk Bali (pomelo). The whole thing was served over ice cubes topped with house-made herbed soda water. Yes, that was the description taken straight from the menu.
The flavour of Rujak was amazing! It tasted like the real Rujak salad. In Indonesia, the vegetable and fruit salad (rujak) is served with spicy, sweet and sour sauce made from a combination of palm sugar, tamarind, chillies, salt and sometimes shrimp paste.
Since we ordered the 5 course meals, we didn't get to try the Steak Tartar and Into the Sawah. At the same time we were so spoiled with the numerous amuse-bouches that we received. We thought we ate a 10 course meal instead of 5 that night. The latest menu can be seen at their website.
The above were two amazing Amuse Bouches that we received on the night. The Rujak was just a perfect bite size and the fruits were cut up into round thin slices. It was amazing for me because I never saw anyone creating that kind of rujak before. The second amuse bouche surprised me as well. The whole Bloody Mary was a mixture of hot tomato consomme with cherry tomatoes foam and sea salt infused with celery leaf. Tomato is one of my favourite fruits and this was a truly satisfying start to the night. We experienced a good mixture of hot and cold as well as sour and salty.
Our gratis meal didn't stop there. We were then treated to these cute green pillows that turned out to be puff pastry containing tamarind and egg creme served on top of dehydrated seaweed. It was completely bursting with smooth texture of sweet and sour tamarind. The light and crispy spinach tempura was served on top of big wooden block, it suited the dish really well.
We went on to have the sweet smoked corn kernels, homemade sourdough with fresh house-made passion fruit jam, black rice blini served with smoked egg, nasturtium and crispy black rice and the well-presented crispy perit bird. Perit or pipit is a type of bird that loves to eat rice grains from the rice field area. The bird is considered a pest by all the rice farmers.
5 Course Meal:
The crab was sourced from a place called Timika which is located in South Papua. This delicate dish was a combination of bangkuang, crab meats, spicy creme, cantaloupe melon, dark sour dough and cured kampung egg yolk. I think my photo didn't do it any justice at all. We were told to mix everything together and eat it.
The staff explained to me that they called this dish waterchicken because frog has a similar texture to chicken. This dish was made up of crispy frog legs, kangkung, swikee sauce, sea cucumber eggs, tempeh and black rice. No complaints here, this was another outstanding dish and I couldn't wait for the lamb.
Dish #4 was an assiette of lamb using the lamb that was sourced from Wonosobo, an area in Central Java. The lamb was cooked two ways. The first one was lamb shoulder cooked in curry style. The second one was nasi bakar (grilled rice wrapped in banana leaf) with lamb liver. The third one wasn't clear enough but on the second picture there was a medium rare lamb leg under the leaf. I think they should say that the lamb was cooked three ways instead of two ways ;-).
Bubur sumsum was a dish that I ate a lot when I was little. I usually found this dish at my friend's birthday celebration and other special occasions including weddings. Locavore's Bubur Sumsum was a combination of refreshing mango and lemongrass, savoury coconut and rice flour porridge, gula bali and sweet pandan leaves. This dish invoked a lot of good memories from my childhood and a perfect dish to end the 5 course meal at Locavore.
Post Dinner Snacks
Of course the chefs at Locavore couldn't stop indulging us through many great food. Before we left the premise we were given two more dishes to make sure that we had a sweet ending to the night. The first one was a mixture of passion fruit, meringue and duck egg custard served in an empty egg shell. The second one was another well-presented dish, a perfect after dinner dark chocolate.
We were really happy with our experience at Locavore and I'd love to encourage anyone who plans to visit Bali to book this restaurant as part of your Bali experience. The 5 course meal costs Rp. 675,000 per person which translates to AUD $66 per person. It was a very good price for a special dinner and you will definitely be looked after by amazing chefs, manager and waitstaff. I hope Locavore will make it to the 2017's Asia's Best Restaurant list!