The east coast, that charming strip of small fishing villages generally referred to as Amed [even though that is only the name of the first of many different villages], is the forgotten part of Bali. So many expat residents have never been there or not since the road was a nightmare, many years ago. Now a pleasant 2 hour drive from Ubud [2 ½ hours from Sanur using the new highway] brings you to arguably the best value retreat in Bali.
Most of the action in this area, is around Bunutan and the nearby Lipah Beach, 5 kms south of the actual village of Amed. The area consists of many small hotels [5-8 rooms the average], mostly locally managed but owned by a veritable United Nations of operators. This review is about one with a difference, locally owned but European-managed [was Dutch, now Belgian].
Puri Wirata consists of a cluster of small air-conditioned cottages, the centre piece of which is their terrace restaurant which overlooks the tree-lined swimming pool, the big blue sea beyond.
Food in this area is generally quite basic. The fish is straight from the boats [you watch them go out late afternoon and return early morning], not via 3-4 different markets and a couple of hot trips in the back of a truck.
The most common cuisine is Indonesian Chinese with many chicken and fish combinations. This also applies at Puri Wirata but with Indonesian, Balinese and European options thrown in as well.
My monthly escapes from the pressures of the world always begin with an early 6.00 a.m. start from Ubud for a trouble free drive, then it is case of meeting up with my local friends for an 8.00 a.m. breakfast at Puri Wirata. Brat Kartoffeln [pan-fried slices of potato, bacon and onion, topped with a fried egg] for me every time! My friends fluctuate between the great Mixed Omelette [the round flat Indonesian style but still soft and fluffy, stuffed with tomato, ham, bacon, mushroom and cheese] or the large Nasi Goreng [chicken, veggies and a fried egg]. A range of fresh fruits or juices, teas [jasmine or English] and coffees [Bali, espresso or cappuccino] make you forget you are in such a remote spot!
Any time snacks [Jaffles, Bruchetta, Hot Dogs, Chicken Nuggets, etc] are essential for any hotel. The sandwich options include a Chicken [with pineapple and mushrooms in a light curry mayonnaise] a Steak [with cheese and onions] and a Hawaiian Toast, an open melt topped with ham, pineapple and mozzarella cheese. A full range of fresh salads also satisfy any hunger pangs with healthy options. The European influence show with the excellent Potato Salad [combined with egg, mustard, mayonnaise and olive oil]. The Savoury Crepes can be filled with ham and cheese or a creamy mix of shicken and mushrooms.
What is a Pizza, a meal or a snack? I suppose it all depends on your appetite. Here they have a crunchy biscuit-like base and are so loaded with toppings that the odd breakage is normal. Select your own toppings from a big list. Ours was Pork Sausage with pineapple and onions. Very good!
Many snacks also double as possible entrees with a main meal. Tuna Croquettes are such a dish. Minced tuna is combined with onion, green peppers, leek and spices. The resultant ball is crumbed and deep-fried. So good you will want to eat all four of them, and share with no one. The Spring Rolls are another surprise. It is always a change to find somewhere who does them different from the rest. Here they are short and fat, fully stuffed with your choice of vegetables and/or chicken or prawns, and coated with such a light crunchy wrapping that even the remaining shards get chased around the plate. Croutes are unusual; French bread topped with cheese, tomato and caramelized onions.
A large soup menu includes some local favourites [Soto Ayam, Bakso] as well as the usual international vegetable, meat and fish combinations.
The Indonesian menu is very good. Simple food at value prices! The Ayam Goreng Sayur Asam Manis is chicken in a not too sweet, and sour, sauce. Very tasty, as is the Ikan Bumbu Pedas, the two dishes complementing each other with contrasting tastes. Chicken, beef, pork and fish dishes can be had with all the usual combination; sweet and sour, ginger, curry or just plain Indonesian spicy. A plate of Bergedels on the side can never go wrong; potato and egg patties with chicken or beef.
The International menu includes many local seafood options [Prawns Zaganaki; prawns with tomato, onion and a mix of mozzarella and cheddar cheese], chicken [Cordon Bleu or in a mushroom cream sauce] and beef [real Austrian style Schnitzels]. But it is the Chicken Saltimbocca that is too popular to take off the menu. The chicken is wrapped with bacon and served with a cream sauce and mashed potatoes.
Great value and of a quality that you do not expect to find in the outposts of Bali! It all helps to make that weekend escape trouble free and relaxing.
Latest Visit: A sad decline in the restaurant standard of late, food and service, as all the management accent seems to be on diving, the money maker!
This restaurant has been my automatic breakfast stop first morning in Amed, every visit, for past 8 years but after three consecutive disasters, no more. Even too lazy in kitchen to offer Nasi Goreng for breakfast. Their once trademark breakfast Brat Kartoffeln a poor imitation of previous years.