Petani Relaxed dining at the Alaya Ubud
After an unforgettable morning exploring some of Ubud’s most beautiful temples, I find myself hiding from the midday sun in a sizable street-side restaurant on Jl. Hanoman. It’s my first visit to Petani at Alaya Ubud, but with such a warm welcome, terrific coffee and after a mouth-watering lunch, I doubt if it will be my last.
The delightful Alaya Ubud boutique resort has a classical Balinese feel but with a distinct contemporary flavour. It’s a fusion that works remarkably well and one that transfers to their airy and cool restaurant both physically and onto the menu.
Petani’s look was created by Moroccan-born interior decorator Zohra Boukhari and features a cool blend of art, antiques and richly framed batik from all around the archipelago. The front of the 120-seat restaurant opens onto one of Ubud’s busiest streets, whilst to the rear, from a seating area we found extremely pleasant, is the tranquillity of Ubud’s iconic rice fields.
The restaurant lighting is subtle, almost subdued, which adds to its overall ambience and gentle atmosphere, resulting in a warm feel, even throughout the day. The tables range from intimate two-seaters to several substantial oversized tables. The latter is ideal for groups sharing a great meal whilst recounting the day’s adventures, or perhaps planning their next day of exploration.
The restaurant takes its name from the Indonesian word for farmer – Petani. It was chosen as a tribute to the local organic farming community, which supplies the bulk of the restaurant’s needs. Indeed the menu Executive Chef Made Siharta has created heavily reflects the island-fresh organic produce and the regional specialties that the local goods drive.
Petani opens at 7AM with a wholesome choice of breakfast menus. Choose from the Continental or American breakfasts, which include freshly squeezed juices, a seasonal fruit platter, tea and coffee. Or take the signature Sarapan Petani breakfast; a local feast of traditional fried rice or fried noodles served with tea or gourmet coffee and young coconut milk.
The separate lunch and dinner menus are extensive and are a tribute to the chef and his hard working team. Both feature local and international dishes cooked and presented to very high standards. The menu caters for all tastes, from vegetarian to the most carnivorous among us, with a particularly popular house specialty being the chef’s own version of the classic, and ubiquitous, Ubud dish, crispy duck.
The Alaya Ubud is also very serious about its coffee. The richly tasty blend served is unique to the hotel and is always freshly roasted. The beans are the finest quality Indonesian Arabica and can be prepared using the hotel’s “Rolls Royce of coffee makers”, the fabulous La Marzocco FB70, handcrafted in Florence and one of only two machines found in Indonesia; or in the Oji cold drip which takes over 8 hours to prepare. The subtlety of the Balinese Kintamani coffee is beefed up with the addition of beans from Malabar in West Java and Toraja-Engrekang in Sulawesi.
After partaking in a heavenly espresso in the heavily cushioned loungers at the front of the restaurant, from where you can watch the world go by – or as I did, watch the barista work his magic – I headed towards the rice fields to order lunch.
Browsing the extensive menu, a fabulous revitalising juice of orange, carrot, papaya, lime juice and raw honey arrives along with a plate of deliciously crunchy purple sweet potato chips with aioli; an ideal combination to get the taste buds well and truly working.
There are many dishes that provide an opportunity to try both Balinese traditional food and classic Indonesian dishes, such as the Nasi Raja, a smorgasbord of taster-sized Indonesian dishes, including smoked chicken and pork curry, served around a cone of fragrant yellow rice. International dishes also feature, such as beef tenderloin in black pepper sauce, goat cheese salad and salmon tortellini.
What drew my attention was the incredibly fresh and succulent Grilled Jimbaran Bay Tuna, infused with exotic Balinese lime and soya, served on a bed of sweet purple mashed potato with edamame, tomato basilicum and a spiced orange reduction. A colourful delight on the plate, I chose medium rare and was blown away by the explosion of tastes and textures in the dish. Refreshingly tart and sweet at the same time, the orange reduction was divine with the meaty tuna.
Another must-try is the chef’s recommendation of Steak Jawa, a grilled sirloin steak in garlic, sweet soy sauce and coriander with a medley of vegetables, an Asian take on steak that is warmly comforting with just a hint of sweetness.
It is refreshing to see an international-style restaurant that makes so much use of healthy foods, think bee pollen from Borneo, raw honey, flaxseed and spirulina in juices pressed to extract all the goodness, and young coconut juice, that also presents tempting delights such as high tea, sweet pizzas and gourmet ice-cream, catering to a whole range of expectations.
It’s a great place to hang out as well as dine and welcomes walk-in as well as hotel guests. The comfortable seating, welcome airflow, superb coffee and juices, plus the extensive and diverse menu, make Petani a fabulous place to start your day, a perfect place for a leisurely lunch, ideal for coffee and cakes or the all-day tapas, or just a wonderful way to wind down with a cocktail after a delicious dinner.
Petani Restaurant at Alaya Ubud
Jalan Hanoman, Ubud, Bali 80571Indonesia
Tel: (+62) 361 972 200
A new twist to granitas
1. Verde Granita: Shaved frozen green raw juice and mint with a shot of Gin or Vodka Citron.
2. Black Granita: Shaved espresso frost, chocolate infused with a shot of Baileys or Kahlua or Franglico.