Bali Asli Restaurant
Jalan Raya Gelumpang, Amlapura, Karangasem
+62 822 3690 9215
When a restaurant’s name literally translates to ‘making something authentically Balinese’ you know that you’re going to have an amazing dining experience. And that’s exactly what you can expect at Bali Asli Restaurant.
When Penelope Williams trained as an apprentice chef at the Savoy Hotel in London, she did not come across a single fresh chilli. It wasn’t until she returned to Sydney and took up a number of prestigious positions that that she was introduced to cooking with Asian flavours.
In 2007 Penelope landed the job as Executive Chef at the Alila Manggis Hotel in Bali. It was here, among the flavoursome, fresh Balinese cuisine, that she found her calling and in 2011, she decided to open her own restaurant and cooking school, Bali Asli. Thanks to her extensive classic culinary training she steered away from fusion food and set out to share the amazing, complex Balinese flavours in their purest forms.
The restaurant is located within the Balinese jungle, set on untouched farmland with a spectacular view of the volcano, Mt Agung – the tallest point in Bali. Penelope and her team work to create Balinese food that is as authentic as their setting. They use traditional wood-fired, mud-brick stoves, and their bare hands to produce the meals; in fact, the kitchen does not have any electrical equipment at all.
The team of chefs has never worked in a commercial kitchen before, but this only adds to the authenticity of the cuisine being served. The kitchen is also unique in that it does not have a head chef, rather the team works as it would in a traditional village, creating the cuisine together.
There are two set menus available at Bali Asli, both of which vary based on what is fresh and seasonal each day. The signature dish is Megibung – a traditional Eastern Balinese meal that includes six or seven elements such as sate (seasoned, grilled meat skewers), soup, banana leaf parcels, salads, rice and dessert. The specifics change almost every day, depending on what the chefs find at the market in the morning, in their organic garden or what the neighbours bring to them.
This banquet-style feast is perfectly complemented with one of Bali Asli’s homemade ciders. In keeping with the restaurants ideology, the ciders change seasonally and are made out of what is fresh, for example white mango or ginger.
There is also a small range of cocktails on offer, including the Spicy Salak –snake fruit poached in cinnamon and star anise, which can be made alcoholic with a shot of arak, or a daiquiri made with Srikaya – a sweet and sour, white-fleshed tropical fruit.
If authentic Balinese cuisine is what you’re after, there is no doubt Bali Asli is worth the trek into the Balinese jungle. As you pass palaces, temples and local villages, you will become immersed in the experience, and begin to understand what the ‘real’ Bali actually means.