Thursday, March 01, 2007

Ubung Café – Jimbaran

Ask any local resident or regular visitor to Bali where you can get the best seafood and they would probably direct you to Jimbaran Bay. The obscure row of 10 restaurants peacefully tucked between the beaches of the 4 Seasons Resort and the Bali Intercontinental I visited 6 years ago has boomed into a commercial car park filled with rentals opening up to more than 20 cafes that have candle lit tables sprawled all over the beach. Most regulars have their favorite shop where they like to eat. I usually land at Ubung Café.

All the Café serve pretty much the same items. Grilled seafood, steamed rice, and some vegetables. The seafood is laid out on ice or still swimming in aquariums when you get there. They have a few different types of fish, squid, lobster, prawns, crabs, and some shelled stuff. So if all the seafood is the same why do I go to Ubung?

Well you see they serve whiskey and vodka by the glass. But that’s just the extra perk. Once you have selected your seafood it is taken to the grill where is bathed and grilled in the Ubung Café secret marinade sauce. Each Café has their own recipe and most patrons have their favorites. I will admit I have not really tried many of the other places but I once I find one place I dig and have been going there for so long I feel I owe them my business. As long as they treat me nice too. I have never had trouble getting a table at Ubung Café, and it can get really busy on weekends. Then again I usually just stay away on weekends.

The tables are all laid out on the beach. It seems every time I go back there are a few more places open and they have managed to stack more tables on the sand. Don’t get me wrong, I think it is great that business is good and all but if I learned anything after taking microeconomics 4 times in college it is that having less supply and more demand is a good thing. The atmosphere is gorgeous at night with hundreds of candle flames dancing on the tables and a clear view of the airport runway in the distance. They also have a small band moving around the are playing acoustic classics. But having 20 grills cooking behind each establishment can make the area pretty smoky. It is just as cool to come here in the afternoon when it is less crowded and you can dip in the ocean between helpings.

I can not begin to tell you how good the food is. It was unfortunate that I could not take all my friends who visited Bali there for diner. It was only on the last night when Inny and I were left in Bali and we were heading to the airport that we stopped there for dinner. It is only about a 10 minute drive from the airport so as long as you don’t mind smelling like an open grill on your flight home it is a good idea to stop there. The flavors at Jimbaran are so tasty that it is well known all over the country.

The grilled seafood is served up with healthy side dishes of sweet sauce loaded with green chillis, crushed red peppers, fried garlic, and chopped garlic in olive oil. There is only one way to eat this, with your hands. Taking a one and a half hour flight to JKT I am not too concerned about offending the people sitting on the plane next to me, but this probably would not be my last visit before jumping on a 10 hour international flight.

Ubung Café in my opinion serves up the best seafood on the strip. If you have a personal favorite let me know and let’s take it to mats. I recently uploaded a video clip of a plane landing. It is a night shot and all you can see is the lights but it is pretty cool nonetheless.

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