Temuku are the water irrigation channels that meander through all of Bali's rice paddies. Temuku is also the name of a very special pool villa complex and restaurant in Kedewatan. You can not go there by car, the villa buggy picks you up at the main road and takes you on a 2km buggy ride, alongside those water channels, through the rice paddies to this amazing little complex.
Many villa complexes in Bali just offer the raw basic essentials for a restaurant ..breakfast of a sort, and not much more. Not Temuku. The restaurant is upstairs above the villa reception, facing out over the rice paddies. It has been set up by Bali's leading food consultant, Roland Lickert, and it bears his stamp of 'attention to detail' as you would expect.
Gohu is a great way to start. In a setting such as this you almost feel compelled to 'eat healthy'. Shredded green papaya tossed with caramelized cashew nuts, mild sliced red chillies, freshly ground ginger and rice vinegar, topped with crisp peanut crackers is a salad that is not only healthy but also tastes great! The Martabak is almost a meal rather than an entrée, great to share. Lamb meat is minced and curried then wrapped in crunchy pastry, served with cucumber pickle and a sweet but tangy tamarind dipping sauce.
More international is an Avocado and Shrimp Timbale, it sits on a mango vinaigrette. The Beetroot Carpaccio is layered with feta cheese and organic greens, drizzled with hazelnut dressing.
Soups can be very local, Soto Ayam [shredded chicken with egg, cabbage, tomato, bean sprouts in a spicy chicken broth] or Soto Batawi, street food from Jakarta [braised beef shank cubes in a coconut broth and many spices, with carrot, celery, and a lime. garlic and chilli sambal, served with Melinjo chips].
For those just wanting to snack there is always that international burger or the ever popular Mexican Quesadilla, stuffed with grilled chicken, spicy salsa and cheddar cheese, served with guacamole and sour cream. Staying with local creations means ordering a Tuna Roll. The fish is grilled, and with fresh lemongrass, chilli and coconut oil, rolled in a flour tortilla, Mexican style but with Balinese taste. An unusual item to find on a Bali menu, and almost a signature dish from Mr. Lickert is the Balkan Cevapcici [from what was once Yugoslavia], a grilled sausage shaped mix of minced beef and lamb that has been spiced with cumin and paprika. It is served on pita bread with the Greek tzatziki [yoghurt, cucumber, garlic and lemon].
Head of the main dishes is an incredible Chicken Curry [pictured]. The curry uses Sumatran spices, the chicken simmered in full cream coconut milk, thick and rich. Sitting on top are rolls of Roti Jala, a Malaysian special, unique net rolls, great for soaking up the rich curry.
The Jumbo Prawns are brushed with chilli jam whilst being grilled and before serving with a rice pancake and papaya salad. The fish of the day is topped with a black olive tapenade, and sits on a Pad Thai salad, served with sweet potato fries and a lemon butter thyme sauce.
Ayam Kemul Kelapa is chicken breast crusted with coconut flakes and stuffed with mango, in a turmeric sauce, very special. The Beef Rendang is the real thing but in a sauce rather than the dry version, all those wonderful Padang flavours. Slow cooked in lemongrass and coconut milk, the special paste is one of onion, garlic, ginger, galangal, lemongrass and turmeric, with chillies of course!
Vegetarian dishes are popular in the Ubud area. Many of them can be rather boring but not these ones at Temuku, healthy with taste! Top of the list are the Quinoa Sushi, sweet and sour with quinoa, avocado, and capsicum combined with the sushi rice, rolled in nori seaweed, with a dipping sauce of ginger and soy, raw salad of grated papaya on the side. The Gazpacho [cold soup] has been made with avocado, combined with coconut water, shallots, spring onion and lime.
The Beetroot, Zucchini and Apple Salad, is about as healthy as you can get! The layers of same are drizzled with a spirulina dressing and sprinkled with crushed walnuts. The unusual Pidoh Salad uses the leaves of the Centella Asiatica, a wet land plant often used in ayurvedic medicine. They are served in coconut milk with freshly grated coconut.
Fancy a Burger but afraid it is not healthy? Well Temuku has the answer! The patty, made of mung beans, is combined with a cucumber salad, tomato, ginger chutney and served with sweet potato fries. Looks good, tastes good! Visit the intimate cocktail bar at the rear of the restaurant at the edge of the immaculate gardens. On the way there you will observe a very professionally set up kitchen, 100% hygienic.
A lunch visit to Temuku is a Balinese adventure. What a pleasant surprise to find such high quality cuisine in this so natural setting. As a real bonus it is also budget priced, as are the 11 pool villas themselves @ only $200 p.n. or thereabouts. Perfect for that weekend away from the world!