The day begins early at Maya Ubud, which is one of Bali?s greenest resorts; grass, trees and verdant valley across the river, nature time. Their main restaurant, Maya Sari, offers one of the few buffet breakfasts served in Ubud and that attracts quite a few non-hotel guests as it makes an excellent start to the day for local expats, particularly when they are entertaining overseas guests.
It has also become a popular place for a healthy lunch as current Australian Executive Chef Kath Townsend has created a vegetarian menu that is not just healthy but also very interesting. I can think of no better way to begin than with Kath's Vegetarian Platter of Vietnamese rice paper rolls, banana blossom salad with tamarind dressing, Indonesian spring rolls, nori assortment with vegetable and pickles, wafers of kaffir scented tempeh tempura, and soft pea and vegetables curry puffs with chilli glaze and a sauce of the same on the side.
Other vegetarian options that combine healthy ingredients with great taste include a Carpaccio of water melon, goat cheese, candied walnuts and a salad of blood orange and basil. A Lebanese style Chick Pea Puree is combined with sun dried tomatoes, olives and grilled peppers. For a main the Martabak is great! This version is stuffed with mushroom, leek, onion and egg, served with a tomato compote and curry sauce. A pasta with a difference is the Roast Pumpkin And Pear Agnolotti with spinach, toasted hazelnut & sage dressing.
The non-veg menu is just as interesting. Lunch time is salad time for some. Here it can be a classic Nicoise or an Angus Beef Salad done Asian style with spicy papaya and vegetables, lemon basil and crushed peanuts. The Mediterranean Platter [for two people] is a perfect choice; marinated mixed olives, labneh, hummus, parma ham with melon, octopus salad, grilled vegetables, al eaten with crusty rye and flatbread.
Sandwiches [Finger, Ciabatta Club or a couple of interesting Panino ? vegetarian with black olive tapenade and roasted vegetables or with grilled chicken, smoked eggplant, rocket and chilli jam], Burgers [chicken or beef but both are with avocado, cheese, bacon and tomato] and Pizzas [5 basic but add your own selection of extras] as you would expect in a hotel restaurant that must cater for all tastes. The Indonesian options are also worth a thought; Mie Kuah [what a westerner might call a chicken noodle soup], Bihun Goreng, fried rice noodles with chicken and two excellent sampling menus both of which feature local seafood.
Some of the aforementioned dishes are also available on the evening dinner menu as well as a few more exotic options. Soups can be a Green Cucumber Gazpacho, with vegetable sticks and olive oil croutons or their French Shallot Soup which arrives as a sea scallop & basil carpaccio with truffle oil in the base of a soup bowl. At the table a thick creamy soup is added.
There is a Salad of Fennel & Orange with rocket, olives, citrus labneh and local mandarin sea salt, Sashimi Grade Yellow Fin Tuna which is served with five different accompaniments, the Bresaola [thin slices of Italian air-dried salted beef] with Manchego shavings is also with rocket, almond and mango salad and a sherry vinegar dressing whilst the Zucchini Flowers, organically grown and tossed with whipped herbed chevre and truffled mango blossom honey, are perhaps one of the most popular dishes on this healthy menu. The Spanish Style Garlic Prawns are cooked with white wine & chili and served with crusty bread & salsa picada.
Seafood can be a Fillet of Reef Fish [pictured], and quite a large portion unlike the 'fingers' often served elsewhere, is oven roasted, served with a potato and asparagus mousseline, fresh asparagus, sauteed mushrooms and an orange beurre blanc, whilst the Sole is grilled and comes with garlic and caper butter with steamed asparagus.
The Angus Sirloin is flame grilled, served on a lemony mash with charred artichokes & asparagus, and kalamata chimichurri. The very special Honey-dukkah Glazed Australian Rack of Lamb, is with rocket, tabouleh, spiced lamb filo cigars, eggplant, labneh and sumac jus. An excellent Seafood Grill consists of grilled snapper, prawns, scallops, squid & scampi, with spicy saffron aioli. Turning back the clock to a favourite dish of a few years ago is a Tournedos Rossini. A high quality grain fed Angus beef fillet is sitting on potato sauté, topped with foie gras, white truffle butter and wild mushroom jus. Spoil yourself!
Whilst the dessert menu combines the best of international and Asian cuisines it is the incredible sorbets and gelatos that stand out most. Only fresh local fruits are used with zero additives other than the spices of Indonesia such as vanilla, cloves, cinnamon and nutmeg.
The Pannacotta is scented with coconut and kaffir lime, served with poached strawberries and lychees. A Javanese Caramel Crème Brulee is with spice poached pear and pistachio macaroons. An East West special is a meringue with cinnamon and cardamom cream, tamarillo sorbet and almond praline.