Canggu; where to eat, stay and play

Returning to her island home of Bali after a year-long absence,  food writer Alison Bone finds her once-was-sleepy neighbourhood of Canggu has morphed into Bali’s hippest hot spot. Here she shares her favourite new discoveries from gourmet restaurants to shabby chic cafes and designer homewares.   

The Slow

 One of Canggu’s coolest new venues and a firm personal favourite, The Slow is ultra hip without any hint of pretention and serves up share-plates loaded with bold innovative flavours. I recommend the crunchy edamame falafel with minty tsatziki, the silky market fish, the octopus with pink pepper and mint  and the insanely tasty Korean fried broccoli.  House-infused spirits bring sensational  flavour to exotic cocktails, while Sunday brunch fans can indulge at the weekly ‘Sound Bites’ with live vinyl Dj selections and bottom-less drink and booze packages.  Make sure to check out the owner’s personal collection of photography-heavy art, there are some amazing pieces scattered through out the entire venue, while  the dedicated art gallery space features rotating art exhibitions.  Boutique rooms are also available.   Jalan Raya Batubolong http://www.theslow.id/ 
 

Rewind Record Shop

Finally someone is doing something totally different in Bali – selling vinyl records,  CDs and even cassette tapes, just in case someone still has something to play them on.  This funky eclectic shop, where the owner spins records at the counter is a real hole in the wall joint but packed to the rafters with all kinds of goodies. It is also the place to stock up on rock n roll action figures, Beavis and Butthead posters, record art and toy cars, as well as all kinds of things you won’t know you want until you walk in the door.   Jalan Raya Batubolong https://www.facebook.com/rewindrecordsbali/  

Ji Terrace by the Sea  

One of the most fascinating hotels in Bali, Tugu has a formidable collection of Asian art and antiques scattered through magnificent heritage buildings. Luckily you don’t need to stay here to get a taste of Tugu magic.   An evening at Ji At Bale Sutra 1706 transports diners to the mystical orient, evoking an enchanted world of ancient kingdoms and mythological splendour.  On the lower floor an atmospheric bar serves up rare Sakes, fine wines and Asian-inspired cocktails, while a  beautiful 18th century statue of Gwan Yin, goddess of mercy, resides over the exotic red room amidst stunning artefacts and startling black and white photo imagery.    The newly opened upper levels, known as Ji Terrace, have beautiful views out to the sparkling sea making it a worthy spot for a sundowner. I strongly recommend the coco sexy which arrives in a smoking coconut shell and is one of the best cocktails I have ever had the pleasure to encounter. Japanese fusion cuisine has just a hint of Asia, with highlights including the  dragon of ji roll – shaped like a dragon and filled with tasty prawn tempura, the tic tac toe – a signature assortment of rich, silky soft nigiri, and the green tea cheesecake.   Jalan Raya Batubolong http://www.jiatbalesutra.com/ 
 

The Shady Shack 

 Nestled into a shady grove and gently cooled by a fresh breeze that wafts across the rice fields, this lovely indoor/outdoor cafe gets it right on every level.  Wholesome vegetarian cuisine is beautifully presented – everything that comes out of the kitchen brims with colour and vitality and best of all, tastes just as good as it looks.    The Shady Shack is a pleasant place to wile away the hours at any time of the day, but breakfast is best. Sensational smoothie bowls, with evocative names like lost in paradise, cacao dreams and green peace, blend all manner of super foods into lush concoctions that make you feel happy and healthy.   Salad Bowls are also excellent, I recommend the haloumi bowl,  while a tasty selection of vegetarian and vegan burgers firmly hit the refuel button after a surf session (and will feed the meanest of hangovers too!)  Raw desserts run the gauntlet from mint slice to raspberry vanilla cheesecake, vegan chocolate tart and energy bliss balls.    Jalan Tanah Barak, Echo Beach @Theshadyshackbali  

Island Deli 

Bagels in Berawa? Yes! Who would have thought? Being a huge lover of bagels this is a pretty exciting new development, which I was alerted to by a sign out the front, “Bring a bagel to the beach,” such a great idea.   This cutsie little place is fresh and bright  and while they aren’t quite New York bagels – this is Berawa after all, they are pretty darned tasty and I find myself stopping by most days. I am a purist and like mine slathered with a generous helping of cream cheese, but you can also opt for smoked salmon, the big breakfast with bacon, onion, cheddar, egg and spinach or the Canggu favourite, a whopper of a bagel with corn fritter, avocado, egg, fetta pesto. They also make a great coffee.  Jalan Pantai Berawa @islandelibali  
 

Satu-Satu Cafe 

Berawa sets the scene for this buzzy cafe with a modern bistro-style interior and good-sized courtyard fringed in heliconia and hanging plants. What I like most, apart from the well-priced simple food, like sandwiches, pastries, big breakfasts, and even banana splits,  is the fact that it is a Balinese family affair.The Sudana  family are known for producing some of the island’s finest organic coffee, using  traditional methods, and you can see photos on the wall of mum and dad at work in the coffee plantations.  With some government help the business has now expanded into this fab cafe where freshly roasted coffee is expertly brewed up by their son, a talented barista of course!    Jalan Pantai Berawa http://www.satu-satucafe.com/ 
 

Bottega Italiano  

Batubolong has a new hangout for homesick Italians and lovers of Italian food (me!) craving traditional breakfast  fare like cornetto  and bomba (with or without jam or nutella.)   The younger sister of renowned Zibiru in Seminyak, homemade pastas are a specialty and can be mixed and matched with sauces like pesto della casa, pomodorino e stracciatella and bolognese di anatra (minced duck.)  You can also customise platters of house-cured and imported meats and cheese, and of course wash it all down with a bottle of decent Italian wine.   Small in space but big on ambience this charismatic little eatery has a cosy sidewalk area perfect for people watching.    Jalan Raya Batubolong http://www.bottegaitalianabali.com/ 
 

Jungle Trader 

With a tiger standing sentry at the door this aptly named, enchantingly-decorated home ware store (jungle really is the key word) is filled with all kinds of interesting bits and pieces from around the archipelago.   There is a decent selection of those gorgeous hand woven bags and baskets from Borneo that seem to be the latest must-have accessory in Canggu, as well as beautifully-textures throws and cushion covers, ideal for those looking to brighten up their living space. Clothing and jewellery are also on display, as well as hand carved wooden spoons and bowls and a small range of Bali’s own Jenggala ceramics including their signature green tea pots.   Jalan Pantai Berawa  http://thejungletrader.com/   
 

Berawa Kitchen 

 Inspired by Bali’s night markets with food stalls grouped around a central courtyard, Berawa Kitchen raises the bar with its attractive lawn and scattering of bean bags.   Food is more cheap and cheerful than gourmet,  think Indonesian favourites, alongside burgers, pasta, kebabs and waffles. Tropical, mellow and starlit, it’s a good choice for a quick and easy feed. You can even get tasty arak mojitos for RP25,000, and only RP15,000 on Thursdays when you can also get a tattoo or body piercing and catch a live acoustic set.    Jalan Raya Semat @berawakitchencanggu  

Bungalow Living  

Ok, it’s not that new but this fabulous home store is now bigger, better and more inspiring than ever before. This is the kind of shop where you want to buy everything, and if you are ever stuck for a last minute gift, you are 100% guaranteed to find something here.  Handmade linen cushion covers from Bali, handcrafted crochet blankets and throws, Indian quilts, bags and baskets, enamel kitchenware and all kinds of decorative household items including some lovely canvas art are all beautifully displayed.   You can also head across the road to browse more great furnishing ideas while you wait for a healthy lunch or a coffee at Bungalow Living Café, or head down the alley way to the Wholesale Gallery if you have some more serious shopping in mind.   Jalan Pantai Berawa https://www.bungalowlivingbali.com/   
 

La Baracca

I am a huge fan of La Baracca in Petitgenget, now Canggu has its own branch and it’s just as good with  traditional Italian comfort food at great prices. While the original has quite an urban vibe thanks to a location in bustling Petitenget, the Canggu version overlooks the rice fields on a peaceful  lane just back from the beach.  The cosy rustic feel is successfully recreated and evenings are moody and candle lit. Pizzas are some of the best around and the homemade ravioli with ricotta, pear, rosemary and cashews is sublime. You can also have a good healthy lunch and make your own salad by ticking the boxes on the extensive list provided.The complimentary after-dinner Limoncello is a lovely idea, and the staff and management here do a great job of making you feel like an honoured guest.http://www.labaraccabali.com/  
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