The dynamicity of the Indonesian culinary scene has captivated me for the last three-and-a-half years. Both Jakarta and Bali host myriads of modern eateries, while newcomers would pop up almost on a monthly basis. With that being said, only a handful has managed to maintain their popularity and sustain their business – one of them being Bambu in Seminyak, Bali.
Established in 2014, Bambu sits on the perennially busy Jalan Petitenget. Prior to my arrival, I had made a reservation for 9.30pm. A change of mind, though, led me to wanting to have dinner at 6pm instead. Thankfully, the receptionist kindly obliged to my inconsistency and invited to me drop by as she will try to find a table for me.
When I got there, I was told that I did manage to get a table but only until 7.30pm. I made my way to the second floor and was awestruck by the restaurant’s comforting ambience. As I walked, I observed the many traditional Indonesian aspects that Bambu has successfully combined with its contemporary design, such as the joglo (Javanese traditional house) that rises above a pool of water and the batik napkins.
Once seated, the friendly staff member introduced herself as Sari and proceeded to share the story behind Bambu. As it was my first time in Bambu, I asked her to throw me a few recommendations on what to eat. In the end, I ordered its Balinese Ayam Pelalah, Sayur Sambiki (sweet pumpkins in chilli and coconut milk) and grilled tuna.
As I waited for my food, I was given a complimentary refined serving of Rempeyek (rice-flour crackers). Its taste reminded me of the ones that my housemaid would make, but it wasn’t as oily while the anchovies mixed well with the flour. Just as I was about to ask for seconds, my meal had arrived. The Ayam Pelalah here took a milder approach in presenting the fiery Balinese spices that we’re used to eating, while the Sayur Sambika featured a complex combination of sweet and savoury flavours.
Once I was finished with my main course, I moved on to try out its desserts. I opted for the Laklak (Balinese traditional pancakes) to provide a sweet ending to my dining experience in Bambu. While those obtained from a street vendor would have a chewy yet tough texture, Bambu’s version is crunchy although still delightfully chewy. Another plus point is the intense coconut milk flavour that it gives off.
Besides serving delicious food, the service at Bambu is top-notch – all the employees there were very friendly and attentive. I left with a huge smile on my face.
Jl. Petitenget No. 198,
T: 0361 846 9797
Open daily from 6pm-12am
Price: Rp.250,000/US$19 per person