Cafe Series: AW Kitchen by Akira Watanabe

AW Kitchen by Akira Watanabe is a joint collaboration between Jaddi Foods Group and Japanese celebrity chef Akira Watanabe. Originally from Tokyo, this Jakarta outlet is their virgin outlet outside of Japan.

AW Kitchen marries both my love for Japanese and Italian food by serving Italian cuisine with a Japanese twist (i.e. Italian-Japanese fusion dishes). The restaurant has a colourful decor (totally in love with their tiled flooring!) which exudes homey and modern vibes.

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Bar + high chairs.

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Such pretty red and blue seat cushions.

My first visit to AW kitchen was on Sarah’s recommendation. We both loved their warm complimentary bread (soft on the inside but crispy on the outside) with olive bits in it. The salted butter melting into the bread = SO GOOOOOOD.

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Fluffy, warm complimentary bread.

If my memory serves me right, Sarah had a “Capellini with Sakura Shrimp and Truffle Oil” (IDR 85K) – cold capellini angel hair pasta tossed with truffle oil and shrimps.

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Capellini with Sakura Shrimp and Truffle Oil.

I was feeling mushroomy and risottoish that day and ordered a “Japanese Mushroom Risotto” (IDR 118k) – creamy Italian risotto served with assorted Japanese mushrooms like Maitake, King Oyster, Shimeji, and Champignon. The risotto was cooked and seasoned nicely. If you ❤ mushrooms as much as I do, you’ll like it! Confirm plus guarantee got chop.

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Japanese Mushroom Risotto.

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With Sarah. (Thankful to God for providing singlish friendships in Jakarta)

Just yesterday, I visited AW Kitchen by Akira Watanabe again with Ivana. We both had creamy cravings and got for ourselves two creamy pastas each. I ordered a “Cream Sauce Pasta with Salmon and Broccoli” (IDR 118K) while Ivana had a “Cream Sauce Pasta with Veal Ragout” (IDR 125K).

Our homemade pasta was cooked to al dente; the creamy sauce had the right amount of creaminess level (thankfully not too jelak!). My salmon pieces were perfectly half broiled and went well with the broccoli. YUM. I tried a bit of Ivana’s pasta – the sauce tasted almost the same but with a meatish tinge of flavour.

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With Ivana. (Thanks for being a constant in Jakarta)

I ordered a teapot of moroccan mint tea hoping to wash down all the fats and calories from the creamy pasta (as if). Although we were really FULL after finishing our savoury mains, something felt amiss. OH YES, SOMETHING SWEEEET.

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Banana Tiramisu with pretty presentation.

We easily settled on the “Banana Tiramisu” (IDR 68k) because it was the chef’s recommendation. The presentation was really pretty! Aesthetics aside, the banana tiramisu was…AWESOME. It was very light and smooth, not too sweet, and creamy. The coffee flavour wasn’t too overpowering. I felt that the banana slices and crunchy caramelized sugar on top complemented the tiramisu well. #heavenonearth

I went home a very full and happy girl. 🙂 🙂 🙂


AW Kitchen by Akira Watanabe
Plaza Indonesia Level 2
Jl. M.H. Thamrin No.28-30
Central Jakarta, 10350

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Last Few Days HOME

So happy that I managed to satisfy some of my cravings in my last few days back in SG. Hawker food is one thing I always miss when in Jakarta – it’s hard to find things like hokkien mee, char kway teow, orh luak (oyster omelette), bak chor mee, etc. Even if there are stalls selling them, they hardly taste the same as the ones back home.

Agent D once ordered “hokkien mee” at Hotel Mulia. When it was served to him, he thought that the waiter had got his order wrong. But noooooooo. That blackish, thick-sauced noodles WAS HOKKIEN MEE. :/

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Hokkien mee from Tian Tian Lai – my deathbed dish.

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Thomson egg prata.

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Wanton mee with sio bak.

There are so much more things I want to eat but don’t have the time to. SOBS.

Anyhow, glad that I managed to catch up with some friends whom I’ve not seen for a veryyyy loooonng time on this trip. Was too carried away chatting that I forgot to document photos with most of them!

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Reminiscing uni days with Vania.

And of course, my last play date with baby fatty, momma Juli, and dear Estelle. ❤

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My armpits smell nice, not like you adults!

Babies grow so fast. I wonder if fatty Joseph will still recognize me few months from now?

A Part of Happy Celebrations

Being in Jakarta, one of the more difficult things for me is missing happy celebrations back home. I can only look at photos posted on Facebook/Instagram, thinking about all the fun I’ve missed out and wishing I was there. Even if I were to crop my face into the photos, it wouldn’t be the same. :/

Anyhow, I am glad that I was able to be a part of + witness a dear friend’s proposal last Saturday. It wasn’t deliberately coordinated but I just so happened to be in SG that weekend. And boy was it sweeeeeet!

A few days before the proposal, Juli, Est and myself helped Shaun with some of the preparations.

Shaun was quite nervous so we ran through his lines and the proposal sequence with him.

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Practising with Mr. Sheep.

Thankfully everything went according to plan. Was quite afraid I’d give it away through a slip of the tongue (happens quite often with me) or accidentally type the wrong thing in the wrong WhatsApp group. We somehow managed to lure Adeline to the proposal venue on the pretext that we were having a get-together since I was back.

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Big awww.

TEAM PROPOSAL — SUCCESS! ❤ ❤ ❤

And of course, photo-taking is a must with every celebratory occasion.

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Yesterday, I got to meet up with my JC friends and we celebrated the April babies’ birthdays. Nothing beats being in the company of good ol’ friends.

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Blessed birthday Sean and Fiona!!!


Celebrations aside, I’m almost down to running my last errand before I head back to Jakarta. There’s always so much to see to when I come back — buy food products for cooking, settle bills, stock up on vitamins/ supplements, visit the dentist, go for health check-up, ETC ETC.

So I FINALLY made a new set of retainers and did my fitting last Friday. Have been procrastinating to get it done since last year. My current one is in such a bad state – the plastic is degenerating and there are holes all over (dentist says I grind my teeth at night). I literally have to hide my retainers away when guests come to my home and use the toilet.

I’ve not been very diligent with wearing my retainers EVERY SINGLE NIGHT and my teeth have sadly shifted. They’re no longer as neat as they used to be and my upper left front tooth is now a lil’ buck-like. 😦

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My teeth mould.

My dentist gave me the mould of my teeth to keep as a souvenir. How kind of him. It’s now sitting above my bed, reminding me every night, “WEAR YOUR RETAINERS DEB” !!!!!!!!!!

So many catch-ups, so little time

In my limited time back home, I’ve been meeting various friends for brunch/lunch, tea, dinner, supper. There’s nothing much to do in SG except eat, eat AND EAT. Goshhh I can feel my face growing rounder and my pants getting tighter. :/

Just yesterday, I finally got to check out Group Therapy Coffee located along the gentrified Duxton Road. On my hike from the bus stop to Group Therapy, I chanced upon many pretty-looking shophouses. I whipped out my handphone and started taking photos like a tourist. After a while…I got kinda lost. Thankfully Google maps came to my rescue.

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Wall murals on the side of the shophouses.

In case you were wondering…shophouses are small, narrow terraced houses (usually two- to three- storeys high) built between the 1840s and the 1960s. They formed the majority of the pre-WW2 urban fabric of the old city centre as well as several other parts of Singapore. Although many shophouses have been pulled down for redevelopment purposes, those that remain have been carefully restored and conserved. *phew*

I totally wouldn’t mind staying in a shophouse. That’d be so cool.

Group Therapy Coffee is housed within the second storey of a restored shophouse. It is easy to miss so keep your eyes peeled for a signpost with the number 49.

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Lovin’ their red mailbox.

Up on the second level, the space is large and comfortable – the perfect setting and catalyst for group conversations (therapy). What an apt name!

Glad to have caught up with Ben and FJ after sooooo long. We reminisced about our good ol’ Seattle days 7 years back where all of us gained like 10 kg in 6 months (maybe except Ben), played like crazy, and travelled like nobody’s business. Almost every other weekend, we were out of town exploring the various states in U.S.. THOSE WERE THE DAYS.

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Missing Andrew who is on another side of the world in Dubai.

After lunch, I headed down to the west side to visit baby Sophie. Congrats Papa Wes and Momma Steph – she’s such a sweet darling! I was really amused at her tiny fingers and toes. They were so, so small.

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So tiny and precious.

I later took a train all the way back to town to meet with my uni mates. We had dinner at Crossings Café – GREAT FOOD for a GREAT CAUSE. Crossings Café is a social enterprise where all their profits are channelled to charitable causes. The café seeks to provide employment opportunities and personal development for the disadvantaged (e.g. people with special needs) by hiring them to work at the café.

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Cosy and unpretentious interior.

I didn’t take any pictures of the food but I must say it is very decent and affordable. A must-try if you’re around the Bras Basah area! Plus you get to support a charitable cause through your meal. 🙂

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Thanks for making uni days so much more enjoyable!

Although I don’t get to meet this group of lovelies often, it’s always amazing how we manage to pick up from where we last left off. Already looking forward to more stories to come as we all move on to new phases in our life (marriage, postgraduate studies, motherhood, etc).


Today I met baby fatty for another play date. Just cannot get enough of his fats and cuteness. WHY YOU SO CUTE.

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On his own armchair. #LIKEABOSS.

Ended the day with Hazie. ❤

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BIG LOVE.

We finally managed to get my bridesmaid dress fitting done. YAY. Am really looking forward to her big day come June this year! Mel is such a lucky man. 🙂

XOXO

Things Change in Your Absence

It has been a good 4 months since I last came home and some things have changed, sadly. The fact that people/animals grow older and age with time is something I’m well aware of but perhaps have not internalized. It only hit me a few days ago.

My grandma and kevin (her dog) have been living with us since her bad fall back in 2010. They came together (we always joke that they’re buy 1 get 1 free) as one could not live without the other. Their arrival was timely as my old Bichon Frise, Max, had passed away in 2009 and Kevin helped to fill the empty space in our hearts.

Here’s some pictures of my grandma celebrating her 90th birthday (last year) and Kevin when he was 15 years old (two years ago, 15 x 7 = 105 doggy years 0ld).

In just 4 months, old-man Kevin has aged a lot. His cataract has clouded both his eyes and he’s now completely blind. We’ve tried not to rearrange things around the house because he constantly knocks into the walls and furniture, squealing with pain each time. He also seems to have lost his sense of hearing and has forgotten how to bark. Up to last year, whenever one of us got home, he’d bark at the top of his voice, pouncing on us in excitement. But this time round, he hardly responds to us coming back, sometimes only lifting his head and letting out a soft whimper.

What saddens me most is his drastic weight loss – when I stroke him, I can actually feel his entire backbone and skeleton beneath his thin bed of hair. Before Agent D returned back to Jakarta on Sunday, he insisted on feeding more treats to Kevin. He said, “I’m not sure if he’ll still be around for us to feed the next time we come back.” The thought of that made me really sad.

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Now 17 years old (119 doggy years old), Kevin no longer reacts when I come back home.

As my grandma is really attached to Kevin, we’re afraid that she’ll lose the will to live should Kevin pass on. In recent months, her memory has worsened and her memory lapses take place even more often than before. When she first saw me, she whispered to my helper somewhat loudly, “Who is that girl and boy (Agent D)?” I asked her how old she was and she giggled, replying that she was thirty-three years old (she would say that she was sixty years old a few months back).

Nonetheless, we’re thankful for her cheerful and giggly disposition all the time. At 91 years old, she’s seldom grumpy and almost never throws any tantrums (opposite to what TV dramas often portray old dementia grandmas to be). In fact, her child-like mannerisms often crack us up.

Just yesterday, Aunty Anna and Val came to visit mama and we all had fun playing JENGA with her. Mama was trying to play cheat all the time like a small little girl – skipping our turns and jumping to hers, drawing a block from the top and placing it back, and so on. It was hilariously cute. 🙂

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Bought mama some of her favourite Ang Ku Kueh from Chinatown’s Fatt Soon Kueh.

It has been a blessing having both mama and old-man Kevin with us for the past couple of years and both have taught me many things about growing old. Life on this earth is fleeting and our current worries are transient — treasure the people around you and leave no space for regrets.


On a lighter note, I’ve been trying to catch up with as many friends as I can during my stay in Singapore (in-between my many errands). So happy to have finally fulfilled my FRESH GREENS craving (good clean create-your-own salads are a rare find in Jakarta) at Toss & Turn with Elaine yesterday. We went on to share a berry yummy acai bowl from Project Açaí, continuing our girly conversations later into the night.

Project Açaí is Singapore’s first dedicated açaí superfood cafe. They serve Sambazon organic açaí from the Brazilian Amazon Rainforest and their bowls are prepared fresh everyday, with a heap of fruits and superfood toppings. HEALTHY YET YUM. (Thanks for recommending Sasha!)

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Nothing beats great conversations over a wholesome bowl of fruits.

Today I got to meet farty fatty, momma Juli and Estelle for lunch. Although sick for the past week, baby fatty gained yet another 0.2kg. He’s growing wider (and cuter) everyday!

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My fist is the most delicious thing in the whole wide world.

‘Twas a lovely day spent playing with baby fatty and talking about life, recent on-going events with Juli and Est. Time flies especially fast in the company of good friends. Before I knew it, it was 6+pm and time to go back home for dinner.

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Visibly annoyed at having to pose for a picture.

I better turn in soon, have another long day of catch-ups tomorrow. Good night! x

 

Tastes of Home

Glad to be back home after 4 months away. It’s only when I set foot on home soil that I realise how much I’ve missed home. The clear blue skies, the convenient public transport system, singlish chatter everywhere, the smell of hawker food…I could go on and on.

Today I was busy running errands with Mom and we passed a cute little cafe in Toa Payoh – Shrove Tuesday. The town of Toa Payoh will always have a special place in my heart because it is where I grew up and formed most of my happy childhood memories (the likes of running around with neighbours and playing hide-and-seek). It was heartening to see the old familiar barber and mama shops (what convenience stores or sundry shops are called in Singapore) in the Lorong 4 neighborhood still in existence.

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Nonya Chendol.

In a bid to seek respite from the blistering afternoon heat, Mom and I decided to cool down in Shrove Tuesday with some gelato. I was craving some ice kacang (an iconic dessert of Singapore consisting of a towering bowl of shaved ice, red beans, sweet corn, grass jelly, coloured with syrup and topped with evaporated milk) when I spotted “Nonya Chendol” on the menu. Same same but different. Perfect.

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Nonya Chendol, Chocolate Lavender Cake, and a cuppa Latte on beautiful patchwork tiles.

We ordered a Nonya Chendol and Chocolate Lavender Cake to share. I was doubtful about the Nonya Chendol (on waffle) at first but it turned out to be pretty legit! Three generous scoops of chendol-flavoured gelato topped with green jelly, red azuki beans, grated coconut AND with gula melaka drizzled all over. Quite a heavenly combination (which tasted like real chendol!). The crispy and fluffy waffle complemented the ice-cream well.


At night, we had dinner at Springleaf Taiwan Porridge with both Agent D’s and my parents. We were back together for a short time only and didn’t have time to have separate dinners with our parents. Glad to be able to spend time with both sides and at the same time fulfill some of my cravings!

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Chinese dishes to go along with our porridge.

I am in sleep coma mode now. Good night, world. Yawns.

Explore Indonesia #5: Bali Food Guide (Best restaurants in SEMINYAK)

Bali has a bustling dining scene and most of its best dining spots are in Seminyak. The streets lining the beach resort area are a food-lover’s haven, with dozens of cafes and restaurants serving all kinds of cuisines located one after another, side by side.

Best thing yet – a number of restaurants offer fantastic views of the sunset, rice paddy fields, and beachfront. AWESOME FOOD WITH A GREAT VIEW. How much better can life get. 🙂

As we only had 2.5 days in Seminyak, we wanted to make the most of our meals and spend our calories on good, glorious food. Here’s a list of some of the best restaurants/cafes in Seminyak which we visited during our time there (I won’t be going into the food details because there are too many pictures – I’ll let the photos speak for themselves).

Enjoy! xxx

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I’m SO HUNGRY I’ve resorted to devouring my finger. YUM.


Sisterfields Cafe

Sisterfields hails from Australia and serves an all-day breakfast, brunch and lunch menu alongside a wide range of coffees, cakes and pastries. You can be guaranteed that everything served is fresh, with top quality homemade ingredients cooked from scratch each day.

It was very crowded by the time we got there around noon time and we had to wait about 15 minutes for a table. But the wait was well worth it.

Baby fatty was such an entertainment in-between meals. He’s always smiling. SUCH A HAPPY BOY. I have this urge to pinch his chub chub cheeks all the time but I think Juli wouldn’t be too pleased heh.

Location: Jl. Kayu Cendana No.7, Seminyak, Kuta, Kabupaten Badung, Bali.


Metis Bali Restaurant

Metis provides a sensory dining experience with its lovely view of rice fields at the back. Helmed by classically-trained French Chef Nicolas ‘Doudou’ Tourneville, Metis offers a masterful combination of French Mediterranean cuisine.

The entire place is romantically dimly-lit, hence the dark pictures (blame the iphone 5!).

After our satisfying filling meal, we decided to walk off the calories around the rice fields. Sadly, it was wayyy too dark to see anything, much less the pretty fields (PS: come before the sun sets if you can). We took some pictures nonetheless; Agent D and I even borrowed the pram + fatty as a prop!

Location: Jl. Petitenget No. 6, Kerobokan Kelod, Kuta, Kabupaten Badung, Bali.


Revolver Espresso

If you are a coffee lover, you have to drop by Revolver Espresso!! They serve one of the BEST coffees in town. Their coffee beans are sourced from around the world and roasted and blended in Bali. According to them, they use LA MARZOCCO coffee machines and MAZZA grinders.

The entire cafe feels like an underground den and gives off hipster vibes. Even the waiters seemed like cool dudes and dudettes. I got a mocha for myself and it was just righttt – not too bitter, not too sweet.

Poor baby fatty wasn’t allowed to drink coffee but he didn’t seem to mind. He fell asleep with his milk bottle happily. Wait till you have your first taste of coffee, fatty.

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Coffee fix for the day – checked.

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Flying after high on coffee (chalk wall outside Revolver).

Location: Jl. Kayu Aya No 3 (Gang 51), Kuta Utara, Kabupaten Badung, Bali.


Warung WAHAHA

Apart from Naughty Nuri’s Warung, Warung WAHAHA serves yummylicious pork ribs as well. The warung-ish restaurant has a laid-back decor with beautiful garden grounds for dining (remember to spray on some mosquito repellent if you’re intending to sit outdoors!)

We were feeling very hungry by lunch time and ordered quite a number of dishes to share. I was especially looking forward to the much raved about pork ribs!

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Hungryyy.

Alas our dishes arrived! Thankfully we didn’t have to wait too long for them.

WAHAHA’s signature pork ribs was pretty legit – tender and lean, sweet and juicy, well-marinated, glazed in BBQ sauce, and fire-grilled to perfection. Our two meat-eating husbands loved every bit of it!

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YAY more protein for bodybuilding. (like real)

Location: Jl. Sunset Road Barat No. 1689, Seminyak, Kuta, Kabupaten Badung, Bali, Indonesia.


Gusto Gelato & Caffe

What better remedy for a HOT day in Bali than homemade gelato?! It’ll cool you down fast and your tummy will be happy. 🙂

The team at Gusto Gelato is constantly experimenting with new ingredients to make exciting flavours. They have flavours like chilli chocolate (?!!), hokey pokey (honey and vanilla), nougatine, lemongrass, ginger, kemangi, grilled sesame, and many more.

Because of their strong belief in local communities, over 70% of their ice-cream and ingredients are of Indonesian origin. Look out for the sign “Origin Indonesia” when you choose your flavours!

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Rum & raisin, avocado, and nougatine.

Although I was still feeling very bloated from lunch, the additional calories were well spent!

Location: Jalan Mertanadi No. 46B, Kuta Utara, Kabupaten Badung, Bali, Indonesia.


Made’s Warung

Mades’s warung serves local Indonesian and International food and has some history to its name – having started a long way back in 1969 as a traditional roadside warung. It has now grown into a huge courtyard restaurant with many shops (souvenir, spa, etc) on its premises.

We went around dinner time and there was a series of Balinese traditional dance performances lined up for guests. The music was quite loud, making our dinner conversations challenging.

Food was good but not life changing. I really liked their banana pancake though, very fluffy and somewhat different from the usual.

Location: Jl. Raya Seminyak, Banjar Seminyak, Kuta, Kabupaten Badung, Bali, Indonesia.


Merah Putih Restaurant

At Merah Putih, I felt like I was dining in a greenhouse with its full length glass windows and canopy-like ceiling. The interior is rather spacey; the main dining floor can seat 110 people comfortably and the mezzanine can accommodate another 30 people in three teak pods.

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Interior of Merah Putih.

The menu is separated into two sections — traditional and modern. The traditional section features regional dishes using selected meats, locally-sourced produce, and aromatic spices. The modern section features imaginative culinary creations, more of fusion-ish food. We ordered from both to try. SOOOO GOOOOD.

The food was fresh and each dish had a unique twist to its flavour. All of us enjoyed our dining experience thoroughly. 🙂

Location: Jalan Petitenget No. 100x, Kerobokan, Kuta Utara, Kabupaten Badung, Bali, Indonesia.


What are your must-eats in Seminyak Bali? If you have any to share, do let me know! x

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A toast to friendship and all that God has blessed us in life.