Ubud knows and loves Batan Waru. A place that is great for that in-between snack, light lunch or full evening meal. Totally unpretentious! Now the tourists and residents of the Tuban area, around and along Jln. Kartika Plaza, can share the Ubud secret. A branch of Batan Waru has opened at the front of the Bali Garden Hotel, almost opposite Waterbom Park.
The management of the Bali Garden Hotel has opted for expert restaurateurs to run their food outlets rather than provide normal ?hotel food? as is done elsewhere. So far Batan Waru and Ryoshi have taken up the challenge. Sounds like an amazingly sensible management decision to me! The fate of their beachside restaurant is still to be decided.
All the old favourites appear on this menu, some of the best value Indonesian and Balinese food you can find. Lempur Ayam is spicy shredded chicken rolled inside a covering of sticky rice, then char-grilled in a banana leaf, wonderful! The excellent Otak-Otak [minced fish in banana leaf] is enhanced by a great sauce of peanut and chilli [save any sauce leftovers for adding to your rice later]. Karedok is a vegetable salad tossed with a peanut tamarind dressing.
Sop Buntut is the very traditional Javanese oxtail soup, infused with fresh lemongrass, nutmeg and clove. Batan Waru?s Ayam Rica-Rica is the best I have ever had. A half chicken is de-boned and grilled, then simmered in a Manadonese chilli sauce [red peppers, ginger and shallots added] with the extra bonus of shiitake mushrooms. Bebek Goreng/Mekuah is a great Balinese dish. Half a duck is simmered in spices. It is served either fried crispy or as a casserole with cassava leaves. Another great Balinese dish is their Ayam Panggang Bali. Half a chicken, de-boned and marinated in lemon and garlic, some of which is rubbed into the skin before being grilled with a paste of garlic and turmeric. It is served with a vegetarian lawar.
Tum Ayam is chicken pieces in Balinese spices, steamed in a banana leaf. Wonderful flavours! Rendang Sapi is best beef tenderloin simmered in Sumatran spices, not too hot so you can enjoy a full plate without any ensuing problems. A house secret is the addition of red kidney beans, a nice touch and a great improvement. With our mains we invariably order a side of Sayur Balado, your choice of long beans or eggplant that have been cooked in a Sumatran red chilli spice paste. We order half and half.
That all time favourite, Chilli Prawns, are big fat juicy tiger prawns in a magic chilli sauce. This dish proved so popular on the Chilli Crab Nights that it has now made its way to the standard menu. The Balinese Pepes Ikan Laut is parcels of boneless tenggiri fish combined with Balinese spices, roasted in a banana leaf.
Semur Tahu is a mix of tofu, round eggplants and shiitake mushrooms in a garlic, soy and coconut milk broth. Kare Sayur is a mix of fresh vegetables cooked in a coconut milk yellow curry. Buntil Sayuran is a cassava leaf dumpling, filled with tempe, corn and sweet potato, topped with a rich coconut gravy. Who said vegetarian food was boring?
The usual sates, rice and noodle dishes are all available here. International snacks and light meals are also available, including some perfect Vietnamese Spring Rolls, roll them in lettuce with mint and then dip them in the tangy nuoc mam sauce.
Desserts are a mix of Indonesian and American favourites. The Sour Cream Apple Blueberry Crumble beats them all. The Broadway Cheesecake, original New York Style, has a pineapple topping. Southern Pecan Pie is rich and nutty, served warm but with icy cold vanilla ice cream. As is the Apple and Rhubarb Pie.
Serabi Kuah Panas is traditional Indonesian pancakes, soaked in a sweet coconut milk and ginger sauce. Bubur Injin is that pandanus-flavoured black rice pudding, topped with banana, coconut milk and vanilla ice cream
Florida Lime Pie is for the fanatics of same as is the Black Bottom Tart [layers of dense French chocolate mousse and espresso cream over a chocolate cookie crust!].
Visit just for the desserts [and great coffee], many people do!
A recent experiment was to copy Ubud?s Chilli Crab Night at Tuban. Here it is held every Sunday evening. Come early or you will miss out. It has been popular from day one, as is the Saturday evening BBQ Night. Many meats and fish, all barbecued out front of the restaurant. The smell drags them in every time!
Great food, great value! What more could you want?