Sometimes simple is best. At Cafe Bali Annelies van Houten and Driss Tabakkalt pride themselves on offering everything a good cafe should: great food, great service and an enjoyable environment, without any of the fuss.
The duo teamed up with the aim of creating a cafe that was welcoming and rewarding, bringing together Annelies’ eye for interior design and Driss’ restaurant-management background to tailor the perfect space. It’s been a rewarding journey – in the past nine years they’ve fed happy diners from all over the world, from five-star travellers to backpackers on a budget.
Find reprieve from the hustle and bustle of Seminyak’s ‘Eat Street’ in the calming, white-washed interiors. The sundrenched space is decked out with vintage furniture and knick knacks from Bali, Europe and beyond. Shabby-chic chandeliers and birdcages abound: it’s cute and comfortable without tipping too far into kitsch.
Cafe Bali’s two chefs, Made Tirta and Alit Suardana, bring their Balinese heritage to the fore, adding a local influence to the menu. Their culinary interests are without borders, so they have both honed their skills under European chefs and also showcase their love of Western cooking at Cafe Bali. They play a part in sourcing the best local meat, fish and vegetables, supporting the Indonesian produce market wherever they can to deliver the freshest fare.
For starters, go for something light, like the salmon and avocado salad with rocket, feta and walnuts, before moving on to the Bitterballen, Dutch-style meatballs that are sure to be a crowd pleaser. It would be a shame to miss trying one of the cafe’s renowned raw tartares, such as the oriental tuna tartare, made from market-fresh tuna mixed with tomato, avocado and a hit of ginger. If you’re craving European classics, order the vol au vent, stuffed with chicken and mushroom, or perhaps go for the garlic prawns simmered in a butter sauce. Balinese cuisine is also well represented – try the beef rendang, a local specialty.
There’s no excuse for skipping dessert at Cafe Bali – all your French favourites are on offer. Whether you’re a fan of apple tarte tatin, crème brûlée or a raspberry crumble, it’ll be easy to find something to satiate those sweet cravings. Whatever you do, don’t miss Cafe Bali’s famous melting chocolate dessert – the moelleux.
The French theme carries through to the wine list, which features a huge number of Gallic varieties, as well as antipodean drops by way of Australia and Chile. If you’re in more of a cocktail mood, the frozen strawberry margarita might tickle your fancy, or go for the pepper and basil caipirinha for more of a savoury kick.
By focusing on what matters most: delicious food, a great atmosphere and friendly service, Annelies and Driss’ dream cafe has come to fruition, attracting locals and tourists alike and keeping them coming back again and again.