Locavore is a destination restaurant in Ubud, Bali serving food based on local ingredients refined using modern techniques and a new nordic-esque approach to putting dishes together. It’s quite casual for the level of food and experience that it provides, something that feels right at home in the surroundings. Just around the corner from Locavore is the Night Rooster, a cocktail bar with the same owners. Whether for a pre- or post dinner drink, this bar is a perfect complement to Locavore.
Regardless if you’re planning on visiting Ubud during your next trip to Bali or not, it’s worth the ride and spending a few nights there just to visit Locavore. In this sense it’s like a three-star Michelin restaurant that’s ”worth the trip on its own” even if it lacks some of the sophistication that usually accompanies 3-star restaurants.
There are two menu options at Locavore, a meat based one (”Locavore”) or a vegetarian one (”Herbivore”). Both are nine courses standard but it’s also possible to get a six course version where three dishes are simply left out. A cocktail beverage pairing package is available, as well as other craft cocktails, wine, beer and juice. We went with the cocktail pairing.
The meal starts off with a rapid succession of snacks before the proper menu begins. The six amuse bouches we were served almost came too fast, but had a nice progression with a bright first one, darker and smoother mushroom based one second, a hot and spicy one third with flavours that somehow managed to overpower the heat. In this way it continued, but the problem was that these dishes was almost more interesting than the main courses. The high tempo continued tight up to the final main course, which made the meal feel a little bit stressed. We didn’t start eating late, but maybe one of the earlier time slots would’ve been better.
For me, the highlight of the menu was the ”Triple-C” which featured crab, coconut and corn two ways. A bit of heat, acidity to match and the coconut milk as a foundation for a warm crab salad that would’ve been the ultimate meal on a deserted paradise island. The apple pre-dessert, post dinner sweet tasting journey and final sweet and sour mango sorbet ”bonus” dishes were also very successful and better than we even hoped for. Few wines would’ve stood up the the bold flavors, so the cocktail based beverage pairing package was a good move.
Just like the colors of the native fruits and vegetables, the flavors of the ingredients are so vibrant when compared to our northern root vegetables that they seem to come from a different world. What the dishes brought in power and punch they sometimes lacked in subtlety though, making for a visit that brought a rush and immediate crush while we were there but left us with a feeling of unrealized potential.
In hindsight we have a hard time placing it in our best-of-the-best list of destination restaurant visits. Places like É by José Andres and Maaemo are a clear cut above and we end up comparing it to something like Restaurant Santi Taura on Mallorca, which still means ”drop everything you have and book a table” if you’re ever planning a Bali visit. Locavore regularly places among the top 50 restaurants in Asia, so they certainly have the international recognition they deserve, but I want a tad more sophistication in both service and execution when comparing to the best there is. In case I don’t make myself clear though, Locavore is a must visit for any foodie visiting Bali.
For the price, $235 for two small menus including the cocktails, was a downright steal. But more than this, it’s a spectacular experience of local ingredients brought to an international standard.
Reservations necessary. Open for lunch and dinner. 6 courses 900’ Rp (+500 for cocktails), 9 courses 1200 Rp (+650 for cocktails). https://www.locavore.co.id/