I first got wind of Locavore when an Indonesian friend of mine told me that it was hands down his all-time favourite restaurant in the whole of Indonesia, and that he had already personally visited it more than ten times. Intrigued by his bold claim and stellar reviews, curiosity got the better of me and I just had to pay a visit to the establishment for myself when I visited Bali recently.
According to Eelke Plasmeijer, one of the co-founding chefs of the Locavore group of restaurants, the concept behind Locavore is to use locally grown and farmed ingredients produced in the lush and fertile volcanic soils of Bali. They support environmental sustainability with full passionate force by working closely with local farmers so as to reduce the carbon footprint from the importation of food products. The owners insist on painstakingly selecting only the freshest seasonal produce and finest meats from ethically treated free-ranged animals that have been raised on wholesome natural foods.
Interior of Locavore
Tucked away amidst the hustle and bustle of central Ubud, the décor of the restaurant is decidedly simple and modern. The place reminded me very much of a dignified, cozy and warm Scandinavian cafeteria with a slight Asian twist from the Indonesian ikat upholstery. The whole restaurant is always full and has a palpable hectic buzz as the busy kitchen staff engrossed incessantly for hours on their feet concocting artisanal culinary creations. The open kitchen concept allows for patrons to have the option to sit at the bar counter and gaze at the mesmerizing assembly line of passionate and dedicated chefs hard at work preparing your meal. Even the two head chefs and owners are all hands on deck, skilfully preparing the food and supervising the entire process. The entire ambience and experience was akin to having a Michelin star meal but in a casual dining setting.
There are two main set menu options available; the classic Locavore menu and a herbivore one specially created for the vegetarians. You may order either set menu with the extra option of having them as a five (starts from Rp 675,000++ for herbivores and Rp 775,000++ for omnivore) or seven course meal (starts from Rp 775,000++ for herbivores and Rp 875,000++ for omnivores), with or without alcohol pairings (additional Rp 500,000++ to Rp 700,000++).
The menu is ever changing and reveals a slightly new listing once every fortnight, on every alternate Monday. The well-trained waiters impressed me with their laudable display of savoir-faire by pointing out the full list of ingredients used in every single dish as they explain in explicit detail on how to savour each carefully prepared dish. All food and beverage creations were ornately handcrafted before being aesthetically positioned and served on top of decorative crockery with clean and well-curated cutlery. One cannot help but to feel some pity for the poor dishwashers at this establishment who would have a colossal pile of dishes to clean up after each session.
We were presented with four lusciously mouth-watering hors d’oeuvres that tantalised and whet our appetites even before we got to the first main course. Every bite was delectably scrumptious and titillated the taste buds. Each appetitser and main course presented a deliciously piquant smorgasbord of sweet, savoury and spicy nuances. It was a sensory treat to watch the wait staff sear the top of one dish with a blow torch and also sometimes spray aromatic truffle oil from elegant glass bottles onto each delicate morsel of food at the table right in front of you. In the process elevating the entire experience into culinary art that would satiate the cravings and hunger pangs of any food connoisseur with the most discriminating palate.
My personal favourite entrée was an enticing dish called “Into the Sawah” which comprised of a base of heritage galuh rice from the neighbouring famous Tegalalang rice fields, itsy-bitsy smithereens of minced escargot sautéed in garlic, topped with a 64oC slow boiled onsen egg yolk and sprinkled with a medley of edible wild flowers. The onsen egg yolk had a sublime and delicate custard texture with the perfect consistency that was in-between a solid and a liquid. This dish is so absolutely divine that it should be officially named a delicacy! Another memorable entrée was the sublime dessert course named “Citrus, Cacao and Spices”, which consisted of spiced citrus ganache, chocolate puffed rice pralines topped with a delightful scoop of citrus gelato.
A sitting at Locavore will be an epic three-hour gastronomical journey and adventure that will titillate all of your senses. As such, do try to go down with company that you will enjoy and can stomach (pun intended). I left with a satisfied grin on my face and my belly fully gratified, unable to ingest anymore food for the rest of the day. Locavore receives two enthusiastic thumbs up from this relentlessly picky eater and discerning food critic. A definite must-try especially if you are already in the vicinity of Ubud. Advance reservations of at least two weeks ahead is highly recommended and even necessary as the restaurant is always packed every single day, especially for dinner.
Address: 10 Jalan Dewi Sita, Ubud, Bali, Indonesia
Phone: +62 (0) 361 977733
|Lunch||Tue to Sat||12:00 to 14:30|
|Dinner||Mon to Sat||18:30 to 22:00|
To make reservations and for more information, please go to www.locavore.co.id
Contributed by Luke Elijah, Spiritual Coach.
Photo credits: Luke Elijah