The food scene in Bali has evolved in a huge way since I last visited. I was impressed by the stylish and sophisticated venues, many of them housed in expansive buildings with large windows, vaulted ceilings and natural light. The Indonesian and other Asian foods, western foods, baked goods, fruit juices and coffees were outstanding for the most part, and on most occasions, the service was efficient and friendly.
With my two companions, TJ and Cam, we worked our way through as many eateries as we could fit in a week, and re-visited our favourites several times. We bemoaned the fact that we couldn’t eat more, as our list of appealing cafes and restaurants grew longer by the day and there’s only so much y’all can eat in one day, right? Where we couldn’t eat much except a snack, we tried the fresh juices or the cocktails, or had cake and coffee. Overall our dining adventures were fun and fruitful, and we came home with a determination to explore our missed wish-list options the next time we visit.
We first visited Biku for afternoon tea, stumbling upon it whilst doing a recky of the area near our hotel. Housed in a traditional wooden building with Balinese furniture and exposed beams, Biku oozes warmth. Vases of fresh flowers, wooden carvings and shelves filled with knick-knacks and books added to the homely atmosphere. Too full to indulge in Biku’s celebrated high tea, we opted for slices of cake and coffee. The coffee was good as was the banana cake – moist and full of flavour. The cakes all have that home-made look about them, in a good way. Sort of like the cakes and sweet pies and tarts my nanna used to bake. We loved our experience so much that we booked in for dinner that same evening.
When we returned at 8.30pm the place was packed and we were glad we’d booked. Our choice for dinner was a no-brainer. We’d been hanging out for nasi campur, and we were confident of getting a top notch version here. We weren’t disappointed, and it was as good as the best we’ve tried before. I substituted the beef rendang for a fish satay, and all of the dish’s components of kancung, tempeh, tofu, satay lilit chicken, spicy shredded chicken,r, spiced egg and sambals were fresh and delicious. Amazingly too, we were served within 15 minutes of ordering, despite the place being packed. We prefaced our mains with an order of chicken lumpia, the Indonesian fried spring rolls, and they were similarly delicious.
My Capiroska cocktail was made with rum instead of vodka, and it went down a treat. The service was pleasant and switched on. The owner is part Balinese, part Australian, and he knows how to run a tight ship without forsaking the relaxed atmosphere Bali is known for. We thought the service was excellent, with smiles from every one of the many staff who work the Biku floor. They were on the ball and seemed to anticipate whenever we needed something. I can see why this place is so popular, and I’d make a beeline here any time I visit Bali.
Their in-house cakes and desserts looked a treat in the display cabinet, and I daresay the high tea would be memorable. There’s a range of food to suit every palate, with plenty of Western options if you don’t fancy another Indonesian meal. Highly recommended for lunch, afternoon tea or dinner. Bookings for dinner are pretty much essential if you want to be guaranteed a table.