Earlier this month I enjoyed a very nice meal at Restaurant Locavore in Ubud, Bali. Rated as #1 in Indonesia and #49 in Asia in 2016, Restaurant Locavore aims to utilize the underrated and overlooked local ingredients of Indonesia and Bali to create creative dishes that fuse Indonesian inspiration and textures with western (mostly a mix of French and Nordic) technique and presentation. They are also part of and embody the slow-food movement.
I believe they achieve their goal. They do lunch and dinner, with 5 (IDR650,000 USD$49.53) or 7 (IDR750,000 USD$57.15) course dinners, either vegetarian (Herbivore: 5 course USD$41.91/ 7 course: USD$49.53) or non-vegetarian (Locavore) option. They have a selection of very well-made craft-cocktails as well as a cocktail pairing (USD$38.10-USD$45,72, depending on vegetarian or not and 5 or 7 course) that goes with each dish if you choose to do this (at a minimal extra cost). The table does not have to order the same menu and not everyone has to do pairing if one member decides to. In addition to your 5 or 7 courses there is a large line up of snacks, amuse Bouche and pre/post-desserts.
“About the chefs: Perhaps the only import at Locavore is Eelke Plasmeijer, a Dutch-born chef who moved to Jakarta in 2008. There he met fellow head chef Ray Adriansyah, who was born in Jakarta to Sumatran parents, and the pair soon moved to Bali where they ran the kitchen at Alila Ubud. Combining their passion for cooking with sustainably sourced local ingredients, Eelke and Ray decided to take the concept to the next level, teaming up with restaurant manager Adi Karmayasa to create Locavore in November 2013.” (Taken from Asia’s 50 Best Restaurants listing)
The ambiance is smart casual, with only restrictions being no flip flops/slippers and no alcohol branded t-shirts, otherwise causal shorts and a smart T is fair game here. The interior is comfortable, not too dark and light wood/earthy tones with splashes of green. Essentially modern-Bali. There is the main dining room as well as a few seats at the open-kitchen counter for you to watch the show unfold in front of your very own eyes. The service, is attentive and friendly, though the local waitresses and waiters can be a little hard to understand and sometimes have a hard time understanding you (as we learned with a miscommunication in a denied request for a write-up of off-menu amuse bouche and snacks, which was later clarified in my email feedback to the restaurant—they usually dont mind writing this up for guests if requested just FYI).
Over all I was very impressed with both the food and cocktails that were paired as well as a la carte cocktails I ordered.
Amuse Bouche–Tomato: bloody Mary sorbet, cherry tomato from our garden, sea salt infused with celery, hot tomato consommé–such complexity in texture and flavors, who knew tomatoes could taste so wonderful!
Third course: Into the Sawah (Bahasa for Rice Field): hi-grade rice (from Jatih-Luwih, Central Bali), snails and garlic, 64 degrees duck egg, catfish abon, fern tips, wild flowers–taste of this transports you to the stereotypical rice paddies of Bali. This was paired a cocktail made of: Cemcem leaves, young coconut, lemo Bali, lemongrass, tamarind syrup and light rum.
If I had any grievances of an otherwise very good dinner, it would be the following:
One thing that wasnt too great was the last Caramelized apple inside caramelized apple dessert which lacked flavor though it was a cool display. The first course of Crab was also a little lackluster in flavor and texture but wasnt the worst either. While I appreciate, understand and respect the direction Locavore is going, I do sort of wish at least 1-2 dishes were a clear reinterpretation of traditional Indonesian dishes. The response I got from the restaurant about this is that it’s often discussed and they still consider it as a possibility sometimes but still unsure if it fits with what they are trying to achieve.
Definitely recommended if you are ever in Bali! Reservations open up online on their website months in advance (you can book January 2017 if you want) but fill up quite fast if you are looking to eat within 1.5-2 months, so definitely book ahead of your desired date.
I will leave it to the photos to list out the amuse Bouche and menu, please forgive the quality of some photos as I am still adjusting to my new but very good fujifilm camera.
Snacks and Amuse Bouche:
Main menu (we ordered the 7 course Locavore menu)：