It is amazing what you can find in Bali when you go looking. At the secluded and undiscovered Canggu Beach, opposite the entrance of the famous Tugu Hotel, is the OM Organic Restaurant.
A large bamboo rotunda, with tables set spaciously, even a separate family table in a private bale, and a fenced-in playing area for children, houses one of the finds of the year!
The immediate impression is fresh and clean and that is exactly how you would also describe the food. The word organic can frighten people, thinking of those restaurants for strict vegetarians where you even have to get permission to breathe! At OM Organic, organic just means that all possible produce has been grown organically, that is without pesticides or any other chemical or artificial assistance, whether it be vegetables, fruits or meat.
An early morning breakfast is available only on weekends. You can have your eggs, any which way, hash browns and pancakes [buckwheat with strawberries and honey]. But you can also go the very healthy route with Muesli, rhubarb compote and natural yoghurt or Mushrooms, quinoa and sour cream on full grain bread.
Quinoa features regularly in the menu at OM Organic. It is an amazing product, in recent years considered the no.1 health food of Northern America. Used by the Aztecs and Incas centuries ago to eat as a cereal and pound into flour for breads, in fact it is not really a cereal grain but rather the botanical fruit of an herb plant. When cooked the germ coils into a small tail that lends a pleasant crunch when eating. Gluten free and high in fibre it is a nutritionist's dream. Eating a spoonful of Quinoa is similar to swallowing a multi-vitamin capsule, it is so rich in minerals, vitamins and essential amino acids.
The Vegetable Samosas would be better described as filo pastry parcels they are stuffed with a pleasant mix of diced vegetables in a mild Indian curry sauce, the sambal on the side not really needed. A Warm Vegetarian Sushi sounded interesting, and again it was completely different to what had been expected. A long Californian Roll type of vegetarian sushi, rolled in Nori seaweed as per normal, is then itself rolled inside rice paper and gently warmed in the pan, very different!
There are two different Quesadillas on the menu; one is stuffed with sliced duck and mushroom, the other with cheese, guacamole and black olives. Unusual snacks/entrees are Lamb Skewers barbequed and served with sesame seeds and garlic sour cream, and a Salad of Grilled Polenta with pear and gorgonzola.
Other salads include Grilled Halloumi Cheese with chickpeas, dates and pine nuts, Duckbreast and Red Quinoa in a cumin bread basket with sliced mango and coriander, a Mango Salad with crunchy tempe and sliced chicken and a super salad of Prawns, Asparagus and Fennel.
Pasta dishes include a Green Fettuccine tossed with a pesto from the kitchen not a bottle, a spicy Penne with diced duck meat, zucchini, eggplant and tomato and a large Pappadelle with lamb ragout, green beans and onion.
Mains include standards [Tenderloin of Beef, Duck Breast and the Fish of the Day from the nearby local market] and the unusual. Top of my list is the Chicken Steamed in Bamboo. Diced chicken, pumpkin and onions are simmered in coconut milk with ginger, Kaffir lime leaf, red chilli and turmeric, then steamed in a bamboo cylinder in which the dish is served. It is best to order this dish with rice as that goes best with the rich milky sauce. A pure vegetarian version of this dish is also available.
Another attractive main is their Pakistani Paneer Cheese with Apricots and Cashew Nuts, the added fresh coriander gives it a lift. Even plain old tempe gets the full treatment here as it is first marinated then served with roasted pumpkin and also has a touch of fresh coriander.
Variety extends to the desserts as well with Pan-fried Watermelon with macadamia nuts and sour cream. Or you can have Frozen Nougat with a strawberry sauce or Chocolate Mousse with balsamic berries. More standard is a crumbly Apple Crumble, perfect with vanilla ice cream.
Kids are well catered for with a mini menu and a fenced in playing area, visible to the main restaurant but just far enough away for a bit of peace. For those who wish to combine a visit to OM Organic with a stint on the beach, a shower room is also provided for customer use.
Being a brand new restaurant the wine list is still being developed and credit card usage is still 'on the way'. With a place like this that does everything else right we can wait without complaint
OM Organic is certainly a wonderful discovery, so classy yet simple and casual. It is one of those places that you immediately add to your 'favourites' list.