Batan Waru has always been one of my favourite breakfast spots in Ubud. Their Shitake Eggs [scrambled eggs imbedded with slivers of shitake mushrooms], wholewheat toast and great coffee have started many a Bali day for me over the past few years. A perfect Eggs Benedict [unusual for Bali] is another alternative that always pleases. A chance brunch whilst entertaining overseas visitors opened my eyes to their main menu. Unlike sister restaurant, teraZo, which is very International in its cuisine, Batan Waru specializes in Indonesian fare. Great dishes at reasonable prices!
Batan Waru has always been one of the better maintained [that word that does not appear to exist in the Balinese language] establishments around. Quite classic, though simple, in design and layout, it has always appeared fresh, clean and new. I was amazed, some time back to discover that it was ?closed for renovations?E Why, I thought? The answer was soon forthcoming when it re-opened, having removed the rear wall, and extended the floor out over the passing creek. It had made an already pleasant place even better.
As mentioned before, Batan Waru presents western, or Indonesian, breakfasts better than most, and at a fraction of the cost of many hotel breakfasts. A large choice of all-day snacks, are also always available. But it is their Indonesian dishes that I have suddenly come to discover and now return for, regularly.
The taste sensations begin with the entrees. Like most Asian food [of the non-Chinese variety] both Indonesian and Balinese dishes embody flavour bursts that stay with you for hours afterwards. Never could you call the food bland, or if you did then you had certainly eaten at the wrong place.
Otak-Otak are fish cakes that have been roasted in a banana leaf, and a chilli and peanut sauce. The Seafood Wontons are crispy and stuffed with shrimps and tuna, a tangy citrus sauce with tamarind on the side. Urap Pakis is wild fern tips with roasted coconut, heavily enriched with Balinese spices.
The Lawar Salad is a traditional Balinese Lawar, but without the meat. Young jackfruit and papaya with coconut, crisped onions, leaf of Kaffir limes and other spices. This dish proves once again how simple native food can result in such complex tastes. Lemper Ayam is dumplings of sticky rice and chicken, wrapped in a banana leaf
The classic Indonesian soup, Soto Ayam, is excellent here. A glass noodle soup with chicken pieces, turmeric and herbs, it produces a healthy sweat on a hot day.
Sumatra is famous for its Rendang, chunks of beef that have been simmered in Sumatran spices. Often the beef is very dry, and the whole dish quite boring. At Batan Waru it is a great dish, the beef very tender, and the spices not quite as strong as normal. The addition of a few kidney beans improves it even further. Excellent!
Ayam Rica-Rica is grilled chicken in a Manadonese chilli and shitake mushroom sauce. If you share this dish you will be sorry, you will want it all for yourself. It produces a wonderful contrast in flavour to the Rendang. Add to it a serve of Tum Ayam [parcels of finely minced chicken and young papaya and Balinese spices, wrapped in a banana leaf that produce yet another complex taste, that also comes with a serving of Lawar Salad] and you will have a well-balanced Indonesian feast, from which the taste will linger for hours.
Bebek Mekuah is a half duck that has been slowly simmered in spices. Sate Ayam Serapah is skewered chunks of chicken that has been pre marinated in spices, then grilled.
Pepes Ikan Laut, boneless tuna and spices, roasted in banana leaf, is a common local dish. Tuna Asem Manis is not. Slices of tuna, batter fried to a crisp, topped with a sweet and sour glaze.
Vegetarians are well catered for here. Semur Tahu is a mixture of tofu, round eggplants and shitake mushrooms, in a coconut milk broth with garlic and soy. Kare Sayur is a yellow curry of mixed vegetables. Tempe Bacem are coriander marinated tempe slices, sautéed and served with steamed vegetables. Terung Kalasan is roasted Asian eggplants with a mild chilli coconut sauce.
For that solo meal, even the Nasi Goreng, Nasi Caampur and Mie Goreng are very much above average at Batan Waru. All large servings to feed the hungry masses.
For those difficult members of the dinner group who still want their western cuisine, the choice is fairly standard. Some very healthy [hummus, ginger beet or lentil soups, even an almond burger, a pattie of lentils, vegetable and almond], others the less healthy ones we usually enjoy such as good old Fish and Chips.
All in all, great food, full of taste, friendly service in clean, fresh surroundings, and at most reasonable prices. Just goes to show you how the best things can be right under your nose, and you never see. I?ve wasted the past four years by not discovering Batan Waru earlier!
Another excellent cheapie!
Latest Visit: Many returns ro this place only increase the satisfaction. So much so that I am finding difficult to keep away. All of the Indonesian and Balinese dishes are superb!
Now also perfect Vietnamese Spring Rolls [roll them in lettuce with mint, and dip]