Villa Semana is classic collection of private villas, high up above the majestic River Ayung. Beside their swimming pool is the dining room, the Pondok Restaurant.
And what is the food like at The Pondok? Very Interesting! An International menu with a strong Asian influence, the restaurant itself is a stylish wantilan facing a rather discreet swimming pool, from where you gaze down upon the snaking river. A more peaceful setting would be hard to imagine, but these locations seem to be everywhere, in Bali.
Separate menus are available for lunch and dinner, although some dishes appear on both.
For lunch, a Carrot and Orange Soup, with extra virgin olive oil, seems a good way to get off to a refreshing start. An Avocado & Smoked Salmon Bruschetta is an up-market version of the old standard. A Thai Chicken Salad has shreds of chicken breast tossed with strips of young mango, carrots, cucumbers and coriander leaves.
All very healthy and fresh, as befitting this wonderful setting!
A Prawn & Coconut Tempura is served with a horseradish mayonnaise. Yum Woon Sen is that spicy Thai glass noodle dish, but here it is combined with minced chicken. The very tender, and tasty, Tandoori Chicken Legs come with a mango raitta.
Guay Tiow Pad Thai is Thai noodles with minced chicken. Cerancam Ikan is a traditional Indonesian curried fish soup, with young papaya. Pangsit Udang are nice crunchy deep-fried wontons that have been stuffed with minced prawn, and served with a chilli sauce.
The Javanese Bakmi Goreng is a stir-fried noodle dish with prawns, mustard greens, white cabbage, tomato and Indonesian spices. Pecel Ikan is a whole baby snapper that has been deep-fried until crispy, and is served with a tomato-based chilli sauce. For Japanese noodle dishes you can select Cha Shiu Ramen, which is Ramen noodles with sliced roast pork, or Tempura Udon, hot white noodles with prawns.
The Chicken Teriyaki Set comprises Chawan Musi, Miso Suri, Chicken Teriyaki, Pickles, Steamed Rice and fruit. At Rp.75,000, very good value! For dessert, a Sago & Coconut Souffle, Guen Bood Chee [sweet banana in coconut milk], or a Cinnamon Layer Cake.
The dinner menu has a number of interesting inclusions. Freshly made Ravioli with Ricotta Cheese and Sun-dried Tomatoes a l?Arrabiata, make an excellent start. As do the great Prawn Cakes, with their sweet and sour chilli sauce.
Mie Hun Goreng is a dish of glass noodles, prawns, bean sprouts and egg. The Tuna Sambal Mentah is grilled chunks of tuna with shallots, tomatoes and lemongrass, very tasty! Ayam Bakar Taliwang is barbecued chicken in coconut milk and chilli. Gulay Kambing is a rich lamb curry with coriander and cumin
A Warm Squid Salad is a simple dish with limejuice, chilli and hot basil leaves. The Pan-seared Tuna in a Sesame Seed Crust can be dunked in a sauce of ginger teriyaki. Oven Roasted Chicken Breast is served on parmesan-flavoured rice cakes. The great big juicy New Zealand Lamb Cutlets are unusually matched with a creamy raisin sauce.
The Fillet of Australian Beef can be ordered with a sauce of either green peppercorns or mushrooms. Semana Megibung is a spread of Balinese and Indonesian dishes, for those who want to sample many different tastes. At Rp. 230,000, for two persons, it is very reasonably priced.
Discreet service and a good wine list, with offerings from France, Australia, California and Chile, at moderate prices, just add the finishing touches to a very pleasant meal in this most magic of settings.