CAFE LOTUS, BALI
Bali is certainly not short of an array of ‘cheap eats’ options. Even in the popular tourist destinations, food is always a fraction of the price you will pay in the UK/Australia/North America…and twice as delicious! However, on an island where nothing seems to be over your budget, it can be hard to separate the good from the bad.
First impressions are usually an effective way of determining just how enjoyable your dining experience will be, and in the case of Café Lotus in the spiritual Ubud, what you see is definitely what you get.
Nestled next to one of Ubud’s many Hindi temples between the Ubud Palace and the Museum Puri Lukisan, the tranquil looking restaurant boosts a beautiful view overlooking a neighbouring lotus pond. The dining area in particular is especially unique; diners will experience one of Asia’s most common traditions and enjoy their food whilst sitting on the floor.
This isn’t as ‘primitive’ as it sounds though – customers are asked to remove their shoes before stepping up onto the raised platform housing a low table and some comfy cushions. Get there early though - as there is only a limited number of tables in this section, and thanks to its central location, diners may be expected to wait around at lunch/dinner times.
Upon first glance, the price of the food may be a little more than you’re used to in Bali. However, it’s definitely the view that people pay for here. The food is also exceptionally presented and actually still cheaper than most Western restaurants, especially for the quality and taste.
Fussier eaters are in luck too. I must admit that rice isn’t my favourite food, and after a week in Bali I was starting to get a little tired of the various rice combinations I was having three meals a day. However, I bit the bullet and had the ‘chicken sate’ with ‘red and yellow rice’, and it really was delicious. The chicken was tender and the rice lovely and fragrant.
However, as I said, those craving some Western cuisine will also be well catered for here. My boyfriend had the spiced lamb burger, and whilst he admitted he could have done with some chips on the side, he did thoroughly enjoy it. We also both had some fresh homemade juices that were a great pick-me-up on a muggy afternoon.
Despite the higher price tag compared to our other meals out, we still only paid around 260K IDR (around £15) for two dinners and two drinks…and that was including tax and a tip too. If you are strapped for cash, there are loads of things on the menu much cheaper than the meals we got anyway. The ‘Western favourites’ include lasagne, the Lotus club sandwich, and Caesar salad to name just a few. Of course, the Balinese classic of Nasi Goreng is on the menu, as well as other specialities such as Bebek Betutu (slow cooked duckling with fragrant herbs), and Sambal Udung (prawns cooked in spicy sauces). Appetizers, lunch snacks, and breakfast are also available too.
A word of warning though – Café Lotus does not serve beef due to its proximity to the nearby temple. You may also want to stay clear of the restaurant if you or anyone you are travelling with is a vegetarian/vegan, as the veggie selection contains just a few dishes.
If a relaxing and authentic Balinese experience is just what you’re looking for, make sure to include the restaurant in your visit to Ubud.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
I am an aspiring writer with a love for travel. Having just come to the end of my undergraduate degree in American Literature with Creative Writing, I am relocating to Vietnam in August and teaching English there. I enjoy sharing my experiences of various cultures through my writing, and passing on any tips that I have.