Our curiosity about Warung Bintang Bali was first piqued when we saw it at position #10 in Tripadvisor’s Ubud restaurants. It looked to be a low-key kind of place with pretty lighting, set in the rice fields. It took us a little while to visit, because we were on the other side of town, but when we moved hotels to the lovely Alam Dania Cottages, we had the perfect opportunity to check it out. And we were so glad we did!
The setting is lovely, on a peaceful road, with the dark rice fields illuminated by some little lanterns. The charmingly decorated restaurant is on two levels, with lots of pretty coloured lights and lanterns, and an overall reddish glow. There’s seating for about 30 people, spread over long and more intimate tables, while a dia le los muertos print and a couple of motorbikes in the far side of the room add a cool, rocker nuance. On the night we visited, there was a blues rock band in the corner by the bar, playing some ambitious choices, from Depeche Mode, to Hey Jude, to Billy Jean, with an infectious passion.
The restaurant specialises in grilled meats (ribs, duck, chicken and tuna), and also offers balinese classics, some with a modern, quirky twist. The vegetables are organic, from the farm of a friend of the owner, as he explained.
The ribs were great, and this is coming from someone who doesn’t even like ribs. This is because I’m used to them being tough and chewy and getting stuck in your teeth, but these were tender, well seasoned and meaty, with perfectly grilled, with an amazing barbecue sauce. The owner also explained that he made his own sauce by trying lots of other restaurants’ versions to figure out what he liked, before experimenting with different spices until he was happy. The result is slightly sweet and delicately spiced, and includes cardamon, cinnamon, palm sugar and honey. It was delicious (and it just so happens that I don’t like barbecue sauce much either!)
The grills came with tasty jukut urab (the classic Balinese long bean, water spinach, bean sprout and coconut salad), and we ordered an extra portion of water spinach. We’re used to it being called morning glory in Thailand, and coming in oyster sauce, but I preferred this version, fried simply with garlic.
We enjoyed the food and ambience so much that we returned the following day, and this time we had the opportunity to speak to the friendly owners, who told us about how they made their dream of opening a warung a reality. You can read their inspirational story here.