Ubud has so much more to offer than art, monkeys and markets. One of the area’s most treasured destinations, Arang Sate Bar, is a bar that celebrates Indonesia’s great culinary tradition. Ondy Sweeting chases the skewer.
Arang Sate Bar is perfectly positioned in the pulsing commercial heart of Ubud just moments from important Hindu temples, the central Palace, dozens of buzzing cafes, packed pavements and restaurants and yes, the famous markets.
Chef Agung Nugroho knows how to skewer food in the most fabulous way. Expect traditional Indonesian sate with a unique Agung accent, such as the vegetarian sate with tomato, lime, kemangi, water spinach and sweet soy. For a meatier version take the above and add Ahi tuna. The Madura duck sate did not stand a chance against a duck-loving teen that swooped onto these delicacies with such incredible speed that the skewered fowl with shredded roast coconut and sweet soy sauce just vanished. Fragrant spices tickled the warm flavours of the duck, set against the earthy crunch of aromatic roasted coconut, it’s a game raiser.
There are small plates to share including juicy black pepper pork dumplings and the most luscious sesame chicken wings with sticky caramelised garlic – creating sensational combinations in any language.
A hot stone sate selection presents as three skewers, rice and paired spicy sambals that will melt the stony hearts of the hardest gourmet. Tender rib eye steak – imported from Australia – comes topped with a fried quail egg, a soy cardamom emulsion and a zesty chimichurri. The Balinese sate pentol is minced chicken blessed with the love of 16 aromatic spices and is a taste sensation. Skill and some culinary magic raises these Indonesian favourites to previously unimagined heights. Almost every culture has a version of skewered food. Arang Sate Bar takes many of Indonesia’s favourites and gives it a modern twist.
Arang Sate Bar –where most dishes come in at less than Rp100,000 (about $10) each and insanely good cocktails average Rp80,000 – is an amazing find anywhere in the world. Given the complex flavours and skilled execution of the menu it comes as no surprise that Chef Agung has a pristine pedigree from the kitchens of some of the world’s great diners including Nobu and Perry Street in New York.
Arang Sate Bar has a cocktail menu tailored to Indonesian fusion flavours with citrus and tea-infused premium spirits mingling with local ingredients like mango, honey, ginger, kamangi leaves and pandan to raise the concept of ‘local knowledge’. These bespoke cocktails shore up every emotion and will undoubtedly be imprinting on your memory – if not belly.
Arang Sate Bar is open from 11 am until 11 pm and has garden seating that is gorgeous for people watching while inside it is cooler and diners can observe the fiery action in the kitchen. Add a cool jazz soundtrack and a sidewalk café is transformed into a destination where fine food and classic cocktails take an Indonesian twist.
Arang Sate Bar is part of the Chandi and Fat Gajah group of restaurants, with their latest offering, Senor Ping, opening in Seminyak in the coming months.
Happy Hour for Arang is everyday from 3-6 pm at Rp 58,000++ (glass)/ Rp 270,000++(pitcher). Happy hour cocktail options include: Mojito, Lychee Martini, Spiced Citrus Mojito, and Caipiroska.