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Bali’s Big Six: Japanese

Sarah Douglas turns Japanese for a day.

Indigo Canggu

Put together a group of creative French men and a brilliant Japanese menu and you have a restaurant where the design is every bit as beautiful as the food. Indigo on Jalan Pantai Berawa combines the best of these two creative traditions. When maki rolls come dressed with foie gras and sake is served by the bottle, there is a lot to get excited about here. I fell in love with the floor, who does that? Then I fell for the light, crisp tempura salad, laden with golden prawns. Cocktails are a great start here and tend towards fresh and sometimes bitter, they are different and delicious. The menu offers a range of dishes from glistening fresh sushi and sashimi, to a signature sashimi menu that is well worth exploring to some fabulous grills and even delicate desserts. The sake baba was a picture and deeply delicious. Restrained and beautifully plated, the dishes go beyond the usual Japanese menu to offer a fresh take on many of our favourites. Maki rolls with foie gras are just the beginning.

Tel: +62 81998888018    Yak Map P.1


Above Eleven

The hits keep coming at Above Eleven where Peruvian flair mingles with Japanese favourites in what is marked as Nikkei cuisine. The huge amount of Japanese immigrants in Peru has created a cuisine that celebrates the best of both worlds. The stinging astringency of ceviche flavours sushi rolls, fresh seafood is sliced to order and dressed with tiger’s milk, yakitori comes with delicious ingredients dressed on the stick and a few heart starters, like offal, that are much loved in Peru. The luscious grilled sticks are known as anticuchos, while tiraditos is the term for Peruvian sashimi. By any other name, the food is exciting, fresh and different. The sky bar, inspired by Above Eleven in Bangkok, offers glittering views across Jimbaran Bay and the large bar at the centre serves up a Pisco sour that is the perfect foil to fresh sashimi. Think outside of the bento box at Above Eleven, it’s delicious fun.

Tel: +62 361 4725777    www.aboveeleven.com



It’s delightful to find a teppanyaki restaurant that you can afford to visit more than once. Shima has set up five grills in their Petitenget restaurant, manned by some very knowledgeable Balinese chefs. That doesn’t mean that all the big hits don’t appear on this menu. You can have your fresh shrimp, your lobster and your wagyu and enjoy a nice bottle of wine or a flask of sake. You can also opt for simpler menus that even the kids will love. Shima is accessible, fun and ultimately very social. The Balinese chefs, including our star of the show, Yogi, have international experience and a few good jokes up their sleeves. Mostly they are very accomplished at the teppan grill, which turns the simplest food into joyful plates that sing with freshness and smoky flavour. Definitely worth a try.

Tel: +62 361 737483    www.shimateppanyaki.com    Yak Map U.4


The Sayan House

The Sayan House sits on the edge of Sayan terrace Ubud and is another fusion restaurant that will surprise you in the innovative ways they have added a Latin touch to the Japanese menus. The Sayan House marries two culinary traditions beautifully here and they are definitely dancing to their own beat. Sushi gets dressed with foie gras, the California roll becomes the guacamole roll, tacos come filled with Japanese inspiration and main courses marry chili and wasabi in a range of delicious dishes from yuki ribs to latin wagyu, from Tokyo curry to tempura with a chimichurri sauce. It’s unexpected, it’s on the edge of a stunning gorge and it’s a restaurant that Ubud celebrates among its many other greats. The cocktail menu is a reason in itself to find a seat on this gorgeous precipice.

Tel: +62 361 4792592    www.thesayanhouse.com



When Bondi meets Tokyo in the centre of Seminyak, its called Sushimi. The little sushi train restaurant has earned its stripes for fast, fresh and affordable sushi, sashimi, Japanese-inspired lunch bowls, grills and tempura. With lunch time special like the sushi donut and the veggie packed burritos, Sushimi knows how to have fun. With a constant flow from opening to closing time and a queue on Fridays when they offer sushi at Rp20,000 a plate, this is a regular stop for many Seminyak residents.

Tel: +62 361 737816    www.sushimibali.com    Yak Map U.11



On the sunset terrace or seated inside the dramatic restaurant, Ji adds a little New York attitude to their Japanese eatery at the Tugu Hotel in Canggu. The fabulous interiors are signature for Tugu and Ji is a popular destination restaurant for Canggu residents and the rest of the island. Housed in a 300-year old Chinese temple, Ji marries contemporary Japanese food and inspired cocktails. With a menu created by Japanese-trained Nyoman Antara and former Michelin-starred chef, Colin Buchan, the food travels from the classical to the playful. Think scallop sushi with wakame salad and Balinese sambal, Grilled salmon with eggplant smoked over Balinese rice and Tai Nigiri with breadcrumbs and lightly poached quail egg to name a few. Best of all you can choose between Ji Terrace, overlooking the sea, a seat at the fresh sushi bar or settle into the atmospheric restaurant. Wherever you decide to perch be prepared to experience something special; the food, the cocktails and even dessert come dressed for best. Take it easy or take it seriously, Ji is one of the highlights of Canggu dining.

Tel: +62 361 4731701    www.jiatbalesutra.com