Saturday, November 22, 2014

Revolver Cafe, Seminyak, Bali

Coffee is my life. I think there are probably only a few days in my life since I've had memories that I did not drink coffee, with the longest period probably being the last yoga retreat. I make it a mission to always do some research on where to find good coffee wherever I travel to. After all, I could probably only drink at most 2 cups a day so I subscribe to the belief that I cannot waste my coffee intake on bad cuppas. 

My last trip to Bali more than 3 years ago did not leave any lasting impressions of any good coffee and in fact I remembered that I did not really like Bali coffee, kind of burnt and usually too sour for my palette. Fast forward to the present and my desktop research showed several cafes that boast good quality caffeine and glow with mostly positive reviews. Revolver is one of them. Many titles of reviews and blog posts crowned Revolver as the "Best Coffee in Bali". I cannot not try. 

Off I went after the yoga class at Prana Yoga. Looked at my google map directions and it says 2.4km away - I would assume to walk around half an hour for that. Double-checked directions from the Prana staff and they looked at me with surprise, checking again that I want to walk there. 2.4km did not seem far to me..Guess I did not factor in the power of the sun, at noon no less. I did not get lost but I walked for one hour. I reached the door, drenched in perspiration. I felt like I just finished hot yoga, with beads of sweat dribbling down the forehead and feeling utterly sticky. Euks. I sure hope the coffee is worth this really hot 1 hour. 
The cafe is rather small and thankfully I arrived at noon, before it fills up shortly after. It's slightly dark environment creates a cosy atmosphere but guess the lack of wifi and very quick clearing of plates do help empty the tables rather efficiently. My piccolo arrived and wow oh wow, it's worth the walk indeed. It smells really good, taste strong, the way I like it and has a smooth finish. Wishing for another one now already! 

I could not decide between the "Smith and Wesson" or the "Revolver" breakfast so the staff recommended me to take the first option and add a poached egg to it. Yay, solved my dilemma; got the smashed avocado and fresh tomatoes but also a gooey lava egg that's just the way I like, flowing but without it being too raw. The long strips of basil leaves gave a hint of herbs that matched well with the tomatoes and if I've any complaints at all, it would be that I need a sharper knife to cut through the crunchy crust of the yummy sourdough. I'm not a food critic in any way but this is just a hearty breakfast that had me, a person who read or watch TVwhenever I eat alone, put down the ebook I was reading and concentrated on the meal. That good. 

It's a little hard to find, but situated just off a small road at the main stretch of Jln Laksmana which is also called the Eat Street of Seminyak as many top-rated restaurants are situated along this road. It's near to Seminyak Square and if you enter Jl Raya Seminyak (the other famous street), it's quite a long walk, be prepared to walk around 10 to 15 minutes, past CornerHouse, Earth Cafe, Rumors, Ultimo and you will be nearing. Look out for Bali Clinic or ask where it is; it's on a side road just opposite Bali Clinic. There's a small signboard that says Revolver on the main street but so easily missed. Turn into the side road just next to the shop "Love Song"/"Home". Look out for below signs:


Revolver Bali
No. 3 Jl Kayu Aya 
Gang 51

Friday, November 21, 2014

Bali, Seminyak - Land of Taxi touts and a mini vegetarian paradise for me.

It's day 2 of my first 3 lone days in Bali before the hub joins me over the weekend. Great so far, the meals have been fantastic, coffee aromatic and people generally warm and kind, except the tout drivers who are kind of a nuisance and give a really not-so-great first impression to tourist who just land at the airport.

It was still a relatively smooth and quick journey from the airport to the hotel, Bali Ginger Suites, in Seminyak. Bali Ginger is located in a small road very near to the main street of Jl. Raya Seminyak where the line of shops/eateries seem never-ending. It's not easy to find initially but the taxi driver got out to ask neighbouring shops (first show of kindness in many to come!) and waited for me while I verified with the teeny arrival area of the hotel.

Cannot say enough of the good service in Bali Ginger and their helpfulness. Checking in was easy and the lady helped answered many of my questions; one of the staff drove me out on their motorbikes and accompanied me to a shop to purchase a sim card, ensuring that I got the right one. The honest kind-hearted man even refused my tip to him! My room was the standard room on the 2nd level which is a basic but big room; has a huge and comfortable bed, a balcony and a big tank of Aqua water. The rooms on the first level opens up right to the small pool which is really cosy. Nice for a few days where you will probably spend most of the days out.

Started my first meal at Warung Ocha, just 5 min away from the hotel, where you can also get the Sim card at a shop on the same row, but behind the warung. (Refer to below for more notes.) It was a Mediterranean salad with pesto sauce and a Orange/Apple/Carrot/Ginger Juice. It was a good start but after trying out a few more places, I would now consider Ocha a mediocre place, but has a wide variety of both Western and Indonesian meals.

Found myself at Jl. Raya Seminyak and thinking that I've plenty of time before the 5.30pm yoga class on the same road, I roamed around a fair bit. Left side after leaving Ocha leads to the Bintang Supermarket and right side leads to Made Warung, a very famous warung in the vicinity. Seminyak Yoga Shala was where I was headed and oh man, it was the start of my 45min walk whereby it was only probably 15 min from Ocha. I guess most people already knew that my sense of direction is quite bad! On the positive side of things, I now recognise and know most of the small roads that breaks away from this road and can identify where a lot of the trip advisor recommended restaurants are. Anyhow, I will compile on another post the yoga places and their directions, as well as my experiences. 

Dinner was at this vegetarian restaurant that's very near Bali Ginger, called Zula Vegetarian. Its the first time I had a vegan burger and I was blown away. 2 days later now, I'm still thinking about that burger. It's the chickpea burger, with the oven-baked chickpea patty on a really soft whole-meal bun, and filled with a huge serve of crunchy raw veggies, avocado and a sweet yummy tomato relish. The best thing about this burger - the smashed tofu dressing. I thought it was cashew butter initially but I read the menu again and indeed tofu it was. I've never had tofu that has that smooth creaminess, made more addictive with the incorporation of fresh herbs. Wish I know how to make that!

It's a cafe owned by the same owner of Earth Cafe, and besides boasting a big variety of vegetarian / organic / gluten-free items, they sell a lot of packaged items too, like honeys/nuts/flour/chocolate etc. Got myself a bottle of organic tahini (RP 70K) and organic peanut butter (RP 30K) to go. Oh, and a raw oatmeal, cashew and date cookie - not bad but not something I would repeat. Did also pass by Earth cafe on the 2nd day and got their Raw Pumpkin Pie to go; not sure if it was due to the immense heat but it melted really fast and at room temperature, it was like a simple pumpkin puree on a dates/nuts/coconut oil crust. Guess my memory of superb vegan cakes in Austria didn't help the impression one bit. On a side note, special mention to the excellent service and warmth of the staff. When I asked for directions, one of the staff offered to take me on his motorbike to where I want to go. So sweet, reminded me of all the nice and helpful people I met in Taiwan too!

I am rather surprised by the number of vegan/vegetarian places in Seminyak. Besides Zulu, Earth Cafe, there's also a Divine Earth (which I later read to be a collaboration with the owner of Zulu). Had their smoothie for a breakfast meal and it was really good. Was a blend of banana, dates, strawberries, maca, chia and tahini. Not as good as those in Chiangmai but much better than what I do on my own at home. Enjoyed it fully! 

More in the next post!


Prepaid Internet:
Total cost was 174K - Sim card cost 50K, Internet 120K for 30 days, 7mbps, 3.5G and 4K for some phone call credit. Cheaper than the deal at the airport which was offering a $200K as a minimum package. Wifi is available at most places too so always ask for the passwords.

Getting out from the airport:
Go to the taxi counter on the front left when you exit the immigration, a very small area right in front of a small take-away coffee place. Easily missed so look out for it. Get a receipt, follow the assigned driver and pay upon arrival, took me 135K RP to Seminyak, Drupadi area.