I’m not sure what is exactly meant by the term “haute cuisine”, but if you are on a budget in Bali and don’t really feel like spending a s**t load of cash, then the Nomad Restaurant in Ubud is probably as close as you’re gonna get to this sort of nosh.
From the outside, the place doesn’t look too grand but that’s part of Nomad’s low key appeal. And, at night, when most people go to eat there, and when you can’t see much anyway, this isn’t much of an issue.
Inside it’s not particularly big, and as there are a limited number of tables you may have to wait – unless you’ve been brainy and decided to book a table in advance (reservations: 361 – 977 169).
Okay onto the review:
The food: the menu is not the biggest in the world but I quite like that as it means you spend less time fumbling over what to choose. One of the restaurant’s strengths is its homemade pastas which are pretty damn tasty and probably not available anywhere else in Indonesia except in an expensive restaurant in a 5 star hotel. As for the other dishes on the menu, well it’s sort of a fusion between classic Indonesian dishes – nasi goreng (fried rice), rice with side dishes that you choose, etc – and Western dishes – large 200 gram beef burgers, tuna steak, fresh salads etc.
One thing that the restaurant prides itself on is its use of fresh produce, poultry, meat and fish in all its dishes. Now that’s a difficult claim to prove but I can say that as I wasn’t sick afterwards it’s probably true. Another good thing is that the restaurant doesn’t use the extremely dangerous Chinese poison MSG (mosodium glutamat), so you should be able to get through the evening without getting either hypoactive or excruciatingly painful split headaches.
Nomad also do a “special of the day”, and these can be, well, quite special. The flavor of the curried crabs and spicy hot crabs we had was excellent, although they did lack a bit of meat – anorexic crabs perhaps?
A nice touch is that Nomad gives you some free starters while you wait for your meal. These are often excellent – especially the one that tasted very much like a liquidized turnip.
Also the desserts here are very good – particularly the chocolate moose, which although a caloric catastrophe, was very moist and chocolatey.
In a nutshell, the grub at Nomad is pretty damn good and excellently presented to boot. ****
The drinks: Tons of drinks on the menu and the boozers of this world will be delighted to find that apart from the venerable Beer Bintang, there are also small bottles of Balinese-brewed Storm Beer, a range of Arak cocktails, and wines from the Balinese winemaker Hatten. ****
Ambience: Overlooking a quiet street and with pleasant chill-out music being played at a reasonable volume this is a friendly and comfortable place to eat. Shame there’s no spectacular views though, but if you want that you’ll have to go to Ku De Ta in Uluwatu, which is about a million times more expensive. ***
Prices: Prices here are pretty damn good – most dishes are priced at Rp30,000-Rp70,000 – and some drinks cost even more than the main course! *****
Overall rating: Great place which gives you a very welcome respite from both the Nasi Padang restaurants and the tepid tourist food that is so ubiquitous in Bali. Thumbs up! *****
Nomad Bar & Restaurant, Ubud Main Road no 35, Bali. Phone : +62 – 361 – 977 169