Category Archives: Seminyak

QuikSkoop™: Warung Italia

Italian ristorante is something you’d easily find all over Bali, be it owned by an Italian or just a warung that sells pizza. Though may already sound very familiar, but I’d like my share as well for telling the tales about my experience of savoring Warung Italia’s pasta and their specialties, the cold buffet!

A good friend of mine once told me about an eatery that serves affordable Italian food. The name’s Warung Italia and I had been intrigued since then. After months and months, finally I got my chance to visit Bali but didn’t even think about locating the place first! However weird this may sound of me to locate certain eateries and study the whereabouts of secret passages from the map but reading maps is proven useful to me, especially when you’re dodging the traffic in Jakarta.

Well, then I thought that perhaps by asking the locals I’d come across the place sooner or later when in Bali. Who knows! By sheer luck we stumbled upon Warung Italia on our way to the hotel from the airport and it’s just within walking distance! It was a great joy and an immediate visit would be inevitable.

Ravioli

We took a short walk from Fave Hotel for an Italian lunch there a day after we arrived. Legend has it that the real difference of Warung Italia aside from other Italian restaurants is their famous Italian dishes buffet. While my wife ordered the kitchen-made fresh ravioli which was nice and light to my surprise, the buffet seemed more appealing to me somehow.

The spinach was unintentionally became the theme of the day. Not only that my wife had the spinach ravioli but I also picked a very ‘spinach-y’ lunch that consisted of stir-fried potatoes, lasagna, cannelloni, and the sautéed spinach. It was a tough choice actually, somehow I regret that I didn’t venture more with selections like crespelle, calamari ripieni, melanzane parmigiana, zucchini parmigiana, pollo pizzapiola, and other alien stuffs rarely found plus the salad.

Potatoes, lasagna, cannelloni, spinaches

Everything was decently flavored and very affordable but the downside was that all of them served cold. The buffet was just left open without any source of heat just to at least keep them lukewarm. By luck, it’s better to savor them all up right after they finish serving it straight from the kitchen but God knows when.

Additionally that time we also enjoyed the coffee gelato and was again tasted very nice. You might also want to try their pizza which everybody say was so huge and yet so affordable. Gotta try that sometime soon!

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WARUNG ITALIA

Halal-friendly (pork dishes and liquors available)

Suitable for vegetarians

Wi-fi available

Address: Jalan Kunti no. 2, Seminyak – Bali

Opening Hours: DailyTBA

RSVP: 0361 – 737.437

BB Pin: N/A

Email: N/A

Website: N/A

Facebook: N/A

Twitter: TBA

Atmosphere: Indeed feels like a good warung but certainly quite cozy and breezy. A separate section with AC is also available.

Ambiance: Conversational. It’s not that packed even during lunch time.

Service: Not bad at practicalities but certainly not trained fully in courtesy, knowledge, and any 5 star thingy.

Pricing: Around IDR 100,000 for two.

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QuikSkoop™: Happy Falafel

A catchy name and an alien dish for me. While I prove myself not prone to catchphrases but certainly I cannot resist the temptation whenever I hear of Middle Eastern delight namely falafel. The name of the establishment may sound ridiculous, Happy Falafel, but still a temptation nonetheless.

I was strolling around Caplak Tanduk street to search for the secret way and get myself straight to Drupadi street up to Mama San by just walking. It was a ridiculous attempt until finally I had to succumb by choosing taxi as my final means of transportation. Meanwhile, another pressing matter required a swift respond – my wife’s growling stomach. You might find plenty of choices around that street but then again, one must feel comfortable with it. So where to now since Warung Italia was a bit too far and it had to be nearby our hotel (Fave Hotel), so then I can rush for the appointment with ease?

Then came.. Happy Falafel! Oh dear..

With a neat and fresher appearance than its neighbors and moreover, offers intriguing dishes, I convinced my wife right away to choose this place for a quick dinner. Instantly we opted for a sandwich falafel and it came to hit us hard with its enormous size. For the fillings, Happy Falafel is more than happy to serve you plenty of choices from its salad bar. Clearly the falafel meatballs were the most important part of the sandwich and to accompany those lots, we picked couscous, carrots, hummus, cabbages, bell peppers, with yogurt.

Rich and deserving I suppose?

Not really, especially with non-vegans like us. It felt just like eating salad but with a strange sauce and unusual vegetables. Clearly an adventure for both of us but I expected the falafel could be more appetizing than that. Even so, a comparison study will make a fairer judgment even though I have to go as far as Al Quds!

Falafel Sandwich

The best part probably was the carrot with its distinctive taste and crispness but if that’s the reason why, seriously, it didn’t feel as if I’m wholly enjoying the traditional Middle Eastern food.

In all, it was still quite a decent appetizer but evidently with that size alone my wife was still craving for more! For those of you who doesn’t like falafel, there’s no need to worry. Plenty of other dishes available and mostly they’re quite healthy. Pita bread, sandwiches, and not to forget the lassi for a fresh ending.

As for me, I got the chance to know a bit more about the exotics and rarities you won’t find that easy back in Java.

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HAPPY FALAFEL

Halal-friendly (pork dishes and liquors available)

Suitable for vegetarians

Wi-fi available

Address: Jalan Caplak Tanduk, Seminyak – Bali

Opening Hours: Daily, TBA

RSVP: TBA

BB Pin: N/A

Email: N/A

Website: http://happyfalafelbali.com

Facebook: Happy Falafel Bali

Twitter: TBA

Atmosphere: Relaxing but may be a bit humid since they only provide fans, but it’s Bali! People love getting sweaty!

Ambiance: A vibrant street in front of the cafe but not inside.

Service: They will just warm up the bread and the rest is up to you baby!

Pricing: Around IDR 100,000 for two.

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QuikSkoop™: Sea Circus

As weird as it may sound, Sea Circus is actually not a parade of dolphins jumping through the fire loops or walruses doing cute stuffs while shrieking like Wookiees. Even if it is a circus, it’s not even located directly by the beach! So, Sea Circus is actually a restaurant, a bar, and most of all for me, a third wave coffee bar.

Sea Circus is conveniently located between the sprawling hotels of Jalan Petitenget and the forever busy Jalan Kayu Aya around Seminyak vicinity. You cannot miss it since it attracts passersby from early morning for brekkie and for late night parties or even weddings! It’s not a huge café but it’s more like a sunny, breezy, and somehow an intimate café with a casual décor but surely not a shabby one. In terms of privacy, they have this separator between the porch, which caters smoking customers but also shelters them from the street with those classic ‘naco’ windows’, and the air-conditioned inner section which appear more laid back and quieter. But make no mistake however because at nights, they open the separator for parties and stuffs, so Sea Circus becomes a lively watering hole in the end!

By the time you came, you’d be greeted with warm smiles from the waitresses. Josh, the owner, is usually around and in time will visit your table and asking how you’re doing. Not only with smiles, the service was also done attentively and most of all, quick. Sea Circus may seem to be your typical santai santai bar but it doesn’t leave a room for bad service. Tables cleared in no time and that happens as well after you finished your drinks or dishes.

After a few miles of walking and searching, at times also in doubt about the direction, exposed to the hot weather, or in short, all those hazardous hardships, finally it’s a rewarding experience! The only downside was probably because we already had our lunch back at Warung Italia which was not bad actually, so with our bellies full then a cuppa would be fancy!

A good friend of mine once promoted this place as a must-visit. He even expressed it in candor as a place that presents ‘orgasmic and majestic black water’. Josh just smiled and said that it was too much for a compliment but by the time I tastes its cappuccino, then I understood completely about what my friend had said.

The cappuccino was presented beautifully with a cute blue cup that goes well with the bluish theme of Sea Circus. Alongside the cup, they usually put a unique quote and a frangipani but unfortunately they forgot to put the flower on mine that time. But that’s okay, since the cappuccino was truly incomparable with any cuppa I had even back at Jakarta. It was not served with a big cup, I have to admit, but the coffee worked well from any angle. Not only that it was born and bred from Kintamani plantation from a special nursery built by coffee experts from 5 Senses but also, they devise their resources well. It was well balanced in acidity, thick, with a hint of nutty flavor, and the velvety foam that tasted like chocolate. I was actually hoping for another cup but then again, one too many would not be good for the curiosity. As always, I keep a good reason to return back again here and definitely for more coffee and Sea Circus’ intriguing dishes.

Cappuccino

Before writing this I was even curious enough to study a bit from their website about their bountiful dishes and drinks, the way they present themselves not only as a café but also as a place more than that, and most of all about their program to cultivate their own coffee by cooperating with local farmers. Now that’s the interesting part of third wave coffee based on my study and largely owing to my expert barista friend back at Oh La La Jakarta, Mr Daniel Kauranny.

Everybody at this level is seeking for a higher aspiration in coffee tasting and I found that in most places, coffee is something taken for granted. It’s a waste that these beautiful beads turn into something unworthy or even inedible. Certainly not in Sea Circus, their appreciation for coffee is seemingly immense. Apart from growing their own coffee, they also held this occasional barista championship and other kinds of appreciation. In the end of course, these achievements are dedicated for the patrons and for us, coffee lovers!

It’s a simple equation in the end – a beautiful place, great service, Synesso machine, single origin Kintamani coffee, excellent barista. You know what the answer would be right?

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SEA CIRCUS

Halal-friendly (some of the menu contains pork and some beverages contain liquor)

Some menu suitable for vegetarians

Wi-fi available

Address: Jalan Kayu Aya (ex Jl. Laksamana or Jl. Oberoi) no. 22, Seminyak – Bali

Opening Hours: Daily, breakfast from 8 am – 4 pm; dinner from 4 pm – 10.30 pm; cocktails anytime until 1 am

RSVP: 0361 – 738 667

BB Pin: N/A

Email: N/A

Website: http://seacircus-bali.com

Facebook: Sea Circus Bali

Twitter: @SeaCircusBali

Atmosphere: A sunny, breezy cafe good with quiet afternoons and full of life at nights.

Ambiance: Conversational with good indie tunes like Joy Division and also, relaxing stuffs.

Service: Attentive, full of smile and swift.

Pricing: Around IDR 150,000 – IDR 300,000 for two or around IDR 25,000 for a cup of coffee.

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Pictures courtesy of Sea Circus, except for the cappuccino photo

Restaurant Review: Café Bali

It’s been like a decade since I last took a holiday in Bali. That time, among the towns they’d stay at, Kuta and Legian were those among people would speak of. I don’t know since when but lately Bali has added another town to attract people. They say that this town was designed for middle ups. So, you can find this town a little bit further to the north and it’s called Seminyak.

It was for the dinner time when we arrived at the vicinity. You can judge that Seminyak is somehow more classy by looking at the shops there. They seem to sell more expensive items. Not only apparel but other luxury items. So, my friends who had visited Bali months before recommended to park around the spot that offers many eateries around Laksamana Oberoi St. We parked the car and walked around the street looking for the most inviting restaurant. Personally, I’d love to try each one of them.

But on this case, we need to adjust to everyone’s wallet and among them all, Cafe Bali seemed to be the wisest choice back then. The exterior seemed neat, the menu was extensive, and most of all, the price was OK. Please don’t judge that a place might be nice because filled with foreigners because practically you see foreigners everywhere in Bali. So we took our seats and I did a bit walk around the cafe to see more.

The place was indeed nice, plays interesting music that attracts applauses from visitors which I found amusing, but has no air conditioners at all. Ceiling fans are everywhere but it’s a bit humid nonetheless. The heat actually can be negated because the atmosphere was warm and friendly, the waiters/waitresses were also very helpful and kind, and that make everything seemed perfect at that moment. If I happen to be the owner of Cafe Bali, I need to keep up the quality because Cafe Bali happened to be located around other fierce competitors. Well, Cafe Bali was able to make me content that time. That’s a good start.

Let’s go to our favorite section, shall we? The food! Cafe Bali provides a wide range of world food, notably the Western, Eastern, and Indonesian plus suitable for any occasions starting from breakfast, lunch, and dinner. It’s a kind of cafe or restaurant that provides all.

The cons about such place is that there’s no specialty. Even though I still bother to ask about it to the waitress and she confidently answered that Cafe Bali excels at its Carpaccio. Now that I think of it, it’s a bit rare that a cafe provide such menu. There’s actually several carpaccio divided into the types and the weight. You can have like beef, tuna, or salmon in 150 grams or more.It’s with the beef that I had been quite familiar before but hadn’t had the chance to taste the real deal of it, so I decided to pick Beef Carpaccio 150 grams (IDR 40,000++).

Beef Carpaccio

Previously I was quite tempted to pick Tex-Mex Chicken (IDR 39,000++), but my friend had picked it first. My dear partner chose Cheese Ravioli (IDR 45,000++) based on my recommendation. I know very much about her appetite and she likes pasta a lot plus I gotta know about the taste too. The rest of my friends picked Hakao (IDR 28,000++) which was a bit expensive than the usual dimsum you may find but I tell you about it later, then somebody else picked Lasagna (IDR 45,000++), while the rest selected Tenderloin Steak (IDR 55,000++) and Mahi Mahi Fish (IDR 69,000++) for their dinner.

In an occasion like this where I eat altogether with many of my friends can be very beneficial because I can taste so many foods in only a single visit. My dish was surprisingly delicious. You just can’t imagine for the first time and other than sushi or salmon gravalax would see a dish like carpaccio where 150 grams of raw beef sliced thinly and decorated with cheese and salad with dipping sauce. Some people might not get too familiar with the taste but I liked it a lot. The salad may be so-so but the cheese and the meat worked in pairs beautifully. I need to try the specialty though carpaccio is usually served for appetizer. I say what the heck about that and just enjoy it and I did enjoy it very much. ^^

The other dishes turned out to be a satisfaction for me. The taste and the portion were great. I tried each one of them and that made me wish to return there again someday. The price was also very considerate as I said earlier and with these dishes, it was actually a surprise for me. Plus the fact that in Bali, restaurants or cafes don’t cheat the taxation. They added up the government tax and the service tax to the totals, unlike those shameless places anywhere that multiply it first by one tax, total it, then multiply it again with the other tax and the VAT can be quite high in the end. Even though, my friend said that USA is even worse. Apart from that you gonna need to give extra 15% tips or you might get sued because of not complying it. Jeez…

Ah about Cafe Bali again, it’s an incredibly worth remembering experience. The food, the music, the atmosphere, the service, the price, and everything else adds up to make it perfect. I wish to return again someday soon…. *daydreaming*

The Judgment (based on scale of 10 score plus the comments):

1. PRICE (6.5/10)

That’s what I love about Bali. No cheats on the taxation and here in Cafe Bali, everything is price tagged at a considerate price. It was only IDR 575,000 for 7 people dinner. Quite okay!

2. INTERIOR (7.5/10)

A very nice place! The atmosphere, the design, and the music make it very comfortable. No AC though, but that figures why they open all the windows and make it looks like an open air cafe.

3. SERVICE (7/10)

Very helpful and resourceful. What more can you ask?

4. TASTE (7/10)

Wonderful! As I have stated earlier. I wanna go there again!

5. OVERALL (7/10)

Keep up the good work!

Additional Information:

Location : Jl. Laksamana Oberoi, Seminyak, Bali.