Travelogue: Meeting an Old Friend and Discovering a Great Restaurant

Balinese Adventure Part 21

During his 4 day stay in Ubud, usually thought of as the spiritual heart of the Island of the Gods, Michael Taylor has lunch with an old friend from Hong Kong, who highly recommends a certain restaurant. What will his verdict be?

A trip to Ubud, which is thought of as the cultural heart of Bali, wouldn’t be complete without dining with my old friend, Jolanta Karczewski, a self described Hong Kong expat, who moved to Bali 2 and 1/2 years ago.

Jolanta suggests Nomad Restaurant, which is situated in the heart of town. We are seated at a table overlooking Ubud Main Street, where we can view the on-going parade of Balinese women balancing offerings on their heads on their ways to temple and Chinese tourists following their tour guides, who are holding little flags in the air.

Tuna Fillet Steak

Given all the yummy sounding main courses – which run from beef kabab BBQ to grilled king prawn BBW to nasi goreng – I probably wouldn’t order the tuna fillet steak except that Yolanta highly recommends it.

And judging from past experience, I follow Jolanta’s sage advice.

When my main course arrives at the table, I understand why. The freshly caught 200 gram tuna steak is worthy of the name ‘steak’. It is thickly cut, pan seared to perfection, with what appears to be some kind of pepper corns crusted on top.

The tuna is served on a bed of stir-fried vegetables and a roasted garlic potato cake. It is dressed in Balinese ‘sambal matah’.

In addition to mains, the restaurant – which opened in 1979 – serves starters, sandwiches, salads, soups, Balinese tapas, home made pasta, and desserts. The 2 best adjectives to describe the menu would have to be ‘innovative’ and ‘eclectic’.

You can order everything from succulent barbecued hamburgers to mouth watering Thai green papaya salads. Not to mention those yummy iced coffees.

Biggest Surprise

The biggest surprise of the afternoon comes when the restaurant’s manager arrives and starts chatting with Jolanta in Indonesian.

Say what? I didn’t know Jolanta spoke Indonesian. So I ask her about it.

“You know, Mike, I’ve learned more Indonesian in my less than 3 years in Bali than I learned Cantonese in my more than 13 years in Hong Kong,” she tells me.

And I’m not surprised. Nothing surprises in the Island of Gods.

Click here for more pictures of Nomad Restaurant


Nomad Restaurant, Jalan Raya Ubud #35, Ubud, Bali, Indonesia. Telephone: +62 361 977 16.

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