In the little sleepy village of Ceking, five kilometers further on from Tegallalang is the Kampung Cafe. Down over the side of the main road, and hanging off the cliff edge, this charming little cafe is suspended over the peaceful valley. A place to sit and dream!
A more tranquil spot for a quiet lunch away from the hustle and bustle of Bali's main tourist spots, would be difficult to find! When you discover that the food is also way above average for this type of establishment, although at these mid range prices it would have to be, you know that you on to something rather special.
Whilst predominately Indonesian fare is the norm, there is a selection of the international requirements for assorted groups of people! Club Sandwiches, and interesting salads of Smoked Chicken, and Prawns [deep-fried prawns wrapped in crispy noodles in a salad with an avocado salsa]. An Open Chicken Sandwich with salad, shaved Parmesan and a touch of balsamic on focaccia was an excellent lunchtime snack.
On my first visit here a few years ago a Grilled Fillet of Mackerel, layered with hash brown potatoes and oven roasted vegetables seemed all a bit too much! The current offering is with the mackerel on mashed potatoes instead, with a lemon butter sauce and asparagus.
Seared Medallions of Beef Tenderloin are served with a mushroom ragout, an excellent Sauteed Chicken, spiced tandoori style, is presented with a corn fritter and an avocado salsa.
Seafood dishes include an interesting bowl of Saffron Noodles with Smoked Marlin and capers, or a Seared Filet of Mahi-Mahi on your choice of penne or spinach fettuccine, tossed in a garlic ginger sauce. The small list of daily specials normally contains a further seafood dish, according to whatever is currently available.
It is almost cool enough for soups that far up the mountain, well certainly in the evenings! The Indonesian section of the menu contains a few. A Sup Jamur is a spicy mixture of chicken, mushrooms and other vegetables. Soto Ayam is also spicy, but with chicken, glass noodles and bean sprouts. The ever-present Gado-Gado [steamed vegetables covered with a peanut curry sauce] and spring rolls with a difference, Kare Lumpia [3 small crunchy ones stuffed with an unusual mix of curried vegetables, accompanying sauces of both peanut curry and chilli] meet the requirements for Indonesian appetisers.
Lulur Sapi Bumbu Manis is a dish I enjoyed very much. Slabs of beef tenderloin have been marinated and cooked in a sweet ginger sauce. The beef tender enough to enjoy, the tangy sauce quite wonderful! It comes with steamed rice and vegies. Ayam Sambal Sereh is chunks of spicy chicken with lemongrass over stir-fried water spinach and rice.
Ayam Panggang Basa Serapah is grilled combination of chicken legs and breast meat that have been braised in a spicy coconut milk sauce. Gulai Ayam is much the same but using only the chicken legs. Laksa Ikan is a pleasant combination of prawns and fish pieces in a mild coconut milk curry.
The desserts are very standard for Bali, and the wine list is rather disappointing with only the usual local offering but at least by the bottle or glass. There is also Balinese Brem [rice wine], if you are game? Surely this food level deserves a slightly more extensive wine list than that? I cannot think of a more pleasant way to spend an afternoon than by sipping on a bottle of wine, or two, at Kampung Cafe.
On my initial visit a few years ago I found the service level way over the top; rushing out to meet you in the car park [as if you were going to run away], and never leaving you alone at the table. Of course some people find this level of attention attractive, even the inquisitive waitress who endeavours to discover your lifetime's habitat within the first ten minutes. For me, however it is always anathema and greatly delayed my return. Fortunately there appears to have been some staff changes in the interim and all now is most pleasant and relaxed. I am very pleased that I made the effort to check this place out once more.
Once discovered, this cosy and peaceful little paradise immediately becomes worth the trip, on any occasion, any day!