Now that the sleepy surf village of Batu Bolong has been transformed beyond recognition, with a massive influx of millennial tourists and digital nomads, one could be mistaken for thinking that it’s all over for those who don’t have a thriving Instagram account, a beard or a baby.
Not true. In fact those who first saw the beauty of this once sleepy surf village remain and have found a new and enthusiastic audience among the modern travellers. One absolute must to visit is the Tugu Hotel. Once confined to the outskirts, the thoroughly unique art hotel is firmly placed at the centre of the action and a new audience is discovering the magic of Indonesia’s heritage just moments from the bars, cafes and beach bars.
While veggie-burgers and smashed avocado are now the order of the day, Tugu has remained true to its roots and offers something that is created with grown ups in mind, offering a stunning alternative to the action closer to the ground.
Ji Terrace-By-The-Sea and the full restaurant, Ji, on street level, embraces the Tugu-style, dedicated to preserving local arts, culture and architecture. They imported an old Chinese temple from Java as the main stage for the restaurant, which marries Japan and New York in its menu. Eclectic it has always been and remains so.
With the surf lapping at its heels, it was only natural that Ji expanded to the terrace upstairs, overlooking the lawn beside and the sea beyond. The menu is created by their team of Japanese and Asian-trained chefs and shaped by
consulting chef Colin Buchan, formerly with Gordon Ramsay and personal chef to David and Victoria Beckham. They are setting the bar high with Ji.
Ji Terrace offers a fascinating fusion of Japanese, Indonesian and contemporary Asian dishes on their all-day dining menu. The ambient terrace occupies two levels with a long bar, turning out some fabulous exotic cocktails, a sushi bar and a hot kitchen preparing intoxicating grills. Large sofas and day beds are scattered for comfort and the balcony is lined with stools to enjoy the view.
Sushi is big here. A good half of the menu is devoted to the Japanese section. Light bites include tempura and gyozas, succulent crisp pork belly bites and agadashi tofu. Raw and cured seafood includes red snapper and fennel with wasabi mayonnaise and yellowtail tuna tataki. The sashimi is fresh and vibrant and includes buttery raw salmon and a delicate akami, a toploin tuna. An assorted sashimi plate with 10 pieces comes at Rp150,000, so the prices are Canggu-friendly.
They take great pride in their nigiri and this covers everything from the traditional to modern combinations like the foie gras and roasted apple, a popular choice for the foodies. A host of maki rolls are the perfect sundowner or entrée for those who want to stay beyond sunset.
While the menu focuses on small plates designed to share on the terrace, some meatier mains are available including a flavourful imported tenderloin of beef with Japanese mushrooms, grilled salmon with eggplant, or a very tempting grilled lobster with Cilantro butter.