Nirvana is a state of mind. When you dine at Nirvana, the restaurant in Jln. Laksmana, Kerobokan, your 'state of mind' is one of relaxation, even if you do not combine it with a visit to the upstairs spa and massage floor. An unusual combination you may think, but a very popular one.
The success of Nirvana once again proves that no site in Bali is permanently a 'bad location', just sometimes poorly managed. Nirvana's site has been a restaurant for the previous 8 years, but never a successful one, now as Nirvana it thrives with and because of its simple comfort food at very reasonable prices. If you miss the significance of the Australian flag as a backdrop to the bar you will never miss the Aussie accents amongst the regular customers.
Open early for breakfast it serves the usual items, but all are listed individually so it is easy to design your own breakfast; eggs any which way, bacon, ham, German chicken or pork sausages, hash browns, omelettes and pancakes.
Likewise there is a special Lunch Snack menu [salads, sandwiches, burgers] although the full menu is available all day, and quite a varied selection it provides, although some of the starters double as possible any time snacks; Vol au Vent [puff pastry shell filled with a chicken and mushroom ragout in a cream sauce], Beef Carpaccio, Duck Liver Pate, Tuna Tartar and Calamari Rings and the essential plate of Spring Rolls [5 small bite-size vegetarian rolls in crisp casing with sweet and sour sauce for dipping].
The soups include a Pumpkin and Coconut, thick and creamy, and the Salads a Nirvana Special of Roman [or Romaine] lettuce tossed with grilled chicken breast slices, the dressing blended with Roquefort cheese. The Pastas [penne, spaghetti, ravioli and tagliatelle] are sized half way between a starter and a main meal depending on your appetite.
Medallions a la Moutarde are three amazingly tender pork rounds cut from the tenderloin in a mustard cream sauce, sitting on a base of pan-fried mashed potato [not real hash browns]. Escalope a la Crème is paper thin scallops of chicken breast in a very creamy champignon sauce scattered round a centre serve of tagliatelle pasta. Once again the meat is tender and tasty and you quickly realize that this place actually knows what they are doing. One of Bali's best kept secrets is that all it takes to operate a successful restaurant in Bali is to serve simple food, consisting of recognisable dishes [comfort food, just like at home, with no surprises] that have been prepared with care, and offered at reasonable prices.
The Beef Stroganoff is cubes, rather than the normal strips, of tenderloin of beef cooked in paprika and sour cream, with sliced champignons and onions, again the meat is perfect, so much so that you check the price list again but rest assured only one dish [the Lamb Shank] is over Rp.100,000, most are much less. And this is in the oft over-priced Seminyak-Kerobokan area. What a difference to the cost when there are no sea views, and management not so greedy!
Even the Nirvana Special Mixed Grill [tuna, beef, prawn, chicken and sausage, with three different sauces] is in the same price range, and the full range of steak combinations [au Poivre, Café de Paris and the Filleto Bourguignon] are similarly priced, even that American creation Surf ?n? Turf!.
At Nirvana they sell the original Cordon Bleu [not a Gordon Blue in sight], that ever popular breaded chicken fillet stuffed with ham and cheese, and like all else done perfectly.
Seafood includes seared Tuna Medallions in a dill sauce, Paper-Wrapped Snapper Fillet, Peppered Butterfish and fried, grilled or curried Prawns. The Indonesian menu offers that Balinese special Pepes Ikan, sliced snapper combined with Balinese spices cooked whilst wrapped in banana leaf, again perfectly executed.
Also on the Indonesian menu are all the standards. They include Sates, Nasi and Mie Gorengs and Chicken Curry [tender chicken slices in a very light curry]. They also offer the two most popular Indonesian Chinese sweet and sour dishes [stolen from the Cantonese] of Koloke [breaded chicken pieces] and Kolobak [pork], both of which use thin escalopes of meat lightly crumbed and pan-fried almost to a crisp, with just a drizzle of sauce.
Desserts are simple and straight forward, a mix of cakes, pies, tarts, crepes, fruit and ice cream. The wine list is quite small, and very economically priced in view of the current import problems, not an easy thing to do in the difficult Bali market.
No, Nirvana is not trendy, does not have a view and there is no live music blaring in your ear. They just offer good old fashioned food, tender and tasty, with friendly happy service in a nice clean, cool environment, and all at what to any visiting tourist are very budget prices!
No wonder they are busy every night.