Jemme is well known in Bali for its individually designed jewelry collection. Soon it will also be well known for its great value café, it really is a little gem! The café has that instantly comfortable feel about it, clean, fresh and relaxing. One visit and you know you will return.
Organic is a word they are proud of at Jemme. Originally most of the produce they used came from the Bedegul area but they have recently started farming in a large way in the Negara area as well, and have been amazed how some of the plant varieties actually thrive far better at Negara than at the much acclaimed Bedegul.
However this is no Vegetarian hangout; red, white meat and fish are the main menu items. It is just that their accompaniments are all organic. What I call a good combination.
I like interesting tasty entrees, and often make a meal of 2, 3 or even 4 such dishes instead of the traditional entrée and main. Crisp Duck Spring Rolls caught my eye immediately. Thin crunchy rice paper makes these small rolls perfect. The accompanying nahm jim dip only improves the product. Fish & Prawn Cakes are in fact a modern version of Bali's Sate Lilit, the combined paste of fish and prawn is wrapped around a wooden skewer, a pile of accompanying 'local Asian coleslaw' was slightly sweet and tangy. I could eat a plate of the coleslaw alone.
A 5 Spiced Calamari offers something different. It comes with an organic rujak [spiced fruit salad] and a lime mayonnaise. Chicken pieces are also on skewers, with an avocado, corn and tomato salsa. An organic Tomato Tarte Tatin is served on rocket with marinated black olives and small cubes of feta, the Crisp Fried Prawns are on spicy young coconut. For those who want to taste a bit of everything there is a Mixed Plate of Entrees, offering the chef's selection.
Soups can be Pumpkin [organic of course] finished with a dob of cream or a Lobster & Prawn Bisque that has a drizzle of brandy along with the cream.
The Pomelo Salad has shredded chicken, king prawns, chilli, roasted peanuts and spiced coconut with a lime dressing, almost a touch of Thai. A group of different Salad Leaves are simply tossed with char-grilled eggplant, zucchini, roasted capsicum, toasted sunflower, pine nut and sesame seeds and feta cheese. Salad Nicoise features high grade tuna that has been peppered and lightly seared. Caesar has all the usual ingredients except that the egg is poached, not boiled, and the anchovy fillets are beer battered.
Side dishes are ordered and served separately to the mains, but when you see the price of the mains you will realize that even with a few shared side dishes the total cost is way below what you would normally pay for this standard fare, elsewhere in Bali. Potato can be mashed or hand-cut and fried, salads can be green or mixed, vegetables sautéed and the mushrooms served as a Jemme special in a creamy garlic mix. Although some of the main dishes also have some accompanying vegetables.
The Duck Maryland [leg and thigh combined] is served with a crisp skin. What a perfect dish for lovers of this unique meat. The flesh is so tender and the skin crisp, Asian style Chicken Breast is pan-roasted and sitting on a lime and coconut risotto with snake fruit chutney on the side. A Beef Fillet has been marinated in Bintang beer, most unusual. It is already with potatoes that have been herbed and sautéed. Babi Guling is kitchen prepared, and not quite the real thing although it has been slowly braised, with western-style crisp crackling. Pan Seared Lamb Medallions are pink and tender, on potato mash with a baby leek tart on the side.
Seafood is fresh fish, just grilled. You can order Grouper or Coral Trout [covered in a mustard citrus crust on potato with a chive and cauliflower rosti], or Butterfish. The fish is perfectly cooked, firm and tasty, the Butterfish sits on a slab of roast pumpkin and shiitake mushroom noodle cake. On top a wasabi sauce, quite mild and not overpowering. For Vegetarians a combination of char-grilled and roasted organic specimens from the Jemme gardens, topped with pan fried Haloumi.
The Pasta is Spaghetti and can be with mixed seafood, chilli saffron steamed clams, bolognaise or carbonara. Other mid-sized snack food includes Beef [with vintage cheese and BBQ sauce] or Lamb Burgers [with grilled vegetables, tzatziki and BBQ sauce]. Sandwiches are also complex; the meat for the Minute Steak Sandwich is cut from the tenderloin and comes with cheddar cheese, tomato and salad. The Chicken Sandwich is with a mix of cheese and mustard. For nibbles there are Crisp Fried chicken Pieces, served with spicy gravy for dipping.
Desserts are all those old fashioned things that everybody loves, although some have an Asian twist. An example is their Date & Ginger Wontons fried to a crisp with fresh pineapple, mint salsa and ice cream. The Spring Rolls are stuffed with apple and macadamia nuts and coated with cinnamon and sugar with a raspberry coulis. More traditional are Lychee and Apple Crumble with vanilla mascarpone, Baked Custard Creams, a piquant Lemon Tart and a Chocolate Mud Pudding. Once again the Tasting Plate is the way to go.
Café Jemme is the sort of place that becomes your regular after just one visit. It offers a good variety of tastes, excellent food quality and prices that amaze. They do all the little things right! It is a home from home!
One of the finds of 2009!
Latest Visit: Jemme now does Roast Dinners, Beef, Chicken or Lamb, all prepared for two persons and arriving with all the trimmings. The roasts are available all weekend, lunch and dinner.
Other new mains appearing on their every-changing menu include Pork Belly with chilli caramel, Roasted corn-fed chicken [serves 2], Salt & Pepper Chicken Breast with sage & cheese risotto cake and a Cumberland Pie of beef and vegetables topped with mash and cheese.