Ubud’s local scene was extremely vibrant, eclectic and flourishing. As we drove in from Nusa Dua, you were instantly hit with scenes of youth, art, culture, coffee shops and diversity in tourists/travelers. With so many shop signs and markets whizzing by, restaurants and hostels all around, it felt as though we had reached a little more substance to our Bali stay. Our stay in Narenda Guest House kept us only a short walk away from the main road and even along the way, there was plenty of beautiful scenes, shops and restaurants as you got closer to the main action. One wooden shop in particular caught my attention every time we passed by. A few pieces in particular were of interest but I never did find a shop owner to assist me unfortunately.
Made infamous courtesy of Anthony Boudain’s feature and many local reviews, we headed over to try their babi guling. Winding through various roads as we tried to follow the signs, there was a brief moment where we weren’t sure if we were still headed in the right direction. The moment the doubt crept in, we witnessed a man whizz by on his motorcycle with a full roasted pig resting upon his head and instantly were reassured of our search. When we arrived, we were relieved to find no crowds and plenty of seating options. As recommended, we tried the mixed plate which featured the pork and its various parts. My sister also opted to have a beer to complement the fattiness of the pork. Now my memory fails me in recalling what time of the day we went but I do remember that we visited on a weekday when we knew the number of visitors were lower. While reduced wait time and quieter atmosphere allowed for a preferred dining experience, I would wage a guess that it also affected the quality and level of service. Overall I remember being underwhelmed by the whole meal. Perhaps I’m deeply bias to the lechon awaiting me in the Philippines, perhaps the food suffered from a lack of extreme freshness – I’m left unsure. It didn’t sell on the super crunchy skin and the pork felt a little dry. I’d still offer a recommendation to try it for yourself, as I’m personally not ready to write off the whole experience. I’d just wage word of caution before you buy too many add-ons.
Seniman Coffee Studio
My sister is a big fan of coffee so naturally she wanted to try the local brew. At the end of our street, we noticed a coffee shop called Seniman Coffee Studio where many expats seemed to be converging. It seemed especially bustling in the mornings with everyone getting their breakfast and coffee fix. I’m not much of a coffee drinker myself but was glad to see some comforting menu items so we sat down outside and gave it a try. I ordered quesadillas and a drink involving almond milk, while my sister ordered the Soto Ayam with her coffee and a detox drink. It felt nice to just unwind and have a late lunch while the world passed you by.
One final restaurant we tried was Nomad. We had gotten caught in the rain and were incredibly hungry after touring the market. Unsure of where to go, we pick the next restaurant on our walk with an open patio. It gave us a clear view of the main road as we waited out the rain and had our lunch. We ordered chicken satay bbq, nomad nasi goreng and ice cream with sweet spring rolls to finish off the meal.
We went to one other restaurant – Fair Future Foundation, to eat some dessert after our stop in Seniman Coffee Shop but unfortunately it was way too dark and my camera was not cooperating. TI can’t stress enough how many food options there are in this particular area of Ubud. We prioritized what was conveniently along the way from the market to our guest house to make it easier on ourselves as we dealt with the inclement weather. While there wasn’t anything that stood as a favourite, we did our best to sample a variety of items. If I were to do it all over again, I would definitely take a taxi ride out just a little bit further to explore another portion of Ubud to widen the experience.
Warung Babi Guling Ibu Oka 3
Address: Jalan Tegal Sari No. 2, Ubud Tengah, Ubud, Kabupaten Gianyar, Bali 80571, Indonesia
Seniman Coffee Studio
Address: St. Sriwedari No 5, Ubud, Bali, Indonesia 80581