Spice Restaurant, by Chris Salans

Spice Restaurant, by Chris Salans

I stumbled on this by Googling, a wee TripAdvisor scan etc. It looked rather special, and I loved the reviews, so this became my recommendation for my gang to lunch at this day. We were staying in a villa in the outer jungly bits of Ubud, so it was great to get back to civilisation, do a bit of people watching, shopping and then sit to eat a meal. And hope that the meal was good. My choice this day, of which I am so thankful to the foodie Gods, was Spice Restaurant, by Chris Salans. To summarise, it was so good we came back the 1 hour 30 minute round-trip drive for dinner the very next day.

Now to ‘apologise’, this is a long blog, but one that is deserved I feel as this is a restaurant review yes, but it is also an experience. Read on folks, this is gonna be good.

Spice Restaurant, by Chris Salans

Day #1 feast – some of the gang from Ruther’s 50th that escaped the jungle to eat some proper food-like – eager beavers indeed awaiting their first dish choice – the suspense is killing me!!!

Spice Restaurant, by Chris Salans is OFF THE PLANET good. I bought Chef Salans’ cook book too – have a look, it’s called Mozaic. I love it and am already planning a Spice reunion dinner for the gang round my gaff in Singapore – coming to a blog near you soon!!! So this gentleman has lived in Indonesia for ages, has an Indonesian wife and kids, and a second restaurant called Mozaic.

A tad more ‘fine dining’ if the pictures are anything to go by, but still living to his mantra of ALL sourced locally, and a modern spin theme of Indonesian classics, and ingredients. I tell you some these ‘spins’ are seriously just the very best – I’ll come to the Beef Carpaccio later on – but suffice to say – HOLY CRAP IT IS SOOOOO GOOD!!!

Here is this rather unassuming gastro heaven – a bit blink and miss it to be honest. But the location is now engraved in Kennett memory banks for ever.

Spice Restaurant, by Chris Salans

Yep – nothing flash. In fact even if you peak in it looks like a rather normal cafe style interior (until you get in and notice the detail) – sorry Chef. So if you see it do not be put off – GO IN for 5* food. You will not regret!!!

Please make sure you book. We didn’t and were lucky to squeeze 13 in on day on, and 7 on day two. The staff were legendary for us. Hey Chef Salans, just on that, we ate on 31st December and 1st January, your staff on those days were incredible. ALL of them. We got guidance, advice and insight from clearly ‘proud to work for the place’ staff. Just a brilliant atmosphere. My friends and family were all a quiver and raved about it. Those that did not attend were pinging WhatsApps asking for takeaways as we all shared snaps of what we were eating – foodie jealousy is a BIG thing. So yes folks BOOK, and do direct – don’t trusty Chope, it was wrong twice for us;

Spice Restaurant, by Chris Salans

+62 361 4792 420 and/or [email protected]

or go on and risk a walk-in @ Jl. Raya Ubud, Ubud, Kabupaten Gianyar, Bali 80571.

Spice Restaurant, by Chris Salans

See what I mean about the detail once you get inside. Loving these bottle decorations – bottom cut-offs and mingled with Xmas baubly stuff – works for me!

Spice Restaurant, by Chris Salans

How these boys are churning out what they churn out in this tiny wee kitchen is beyond me, albeit on watching a bit I did see out friend Sous Vide in use quite a lot. Slow and steady wins the race???

Let me just give a little background to this guy who is half French and American, moved to Europe when 2 years old, who has worked at French Laundry, and ends up in a modern twist local Indonesian restaurant for the past 20 years. He now has the two restaurants, a lounge bar, cooking school, corporate thang too. Yep it is an epic story. I am going to plagiarise a bit now from the web site/book – but if you are a foodie like me and my gang, you will love this content.

Spice Restaurant, by Chris Salans is amazing value in the $$-$$$ bracket which is nothing for the quality of what you will consume when you eat here, believe me. They apply Western cooking techniques to Indonesian ingredients – ALL sourced locally – creating the Chef as somewhat of a local food Ambassador and hero, promoting local local. They push for surprising flavours and healing properties of Indonesia’s aromatic roots, herbs, and spices – this goes for the food and the signature cocktails. Shit, just dribbled all down my shorts – missing Bali right now!!! Damn!!!

For the blog I am going to glue the two ‘seatings’ together. We all did repeats of the must have’s before we leave, and had a few new ones thrown in – so easiest to combine, what is a long-list of ‘Death-Row’ meals. Here we go;

Spice Restaurant, by Chris Salans

Nice to sit at the bar and watch the open kitchen and cocktail making all in action perhaps? Because of our numbers, on both visits, we were sat upstairs.

Spice Restaurant, by Chris Salans

‘Kids’ food first with the delightful Chicken Karaage. Now that is not a bad little selection for them. Both the Ashenhurst girls had this day #1 and Jude had it day #2. Yep it was all wolfed down.

Spice Restaurant, by Chris Salans

Adult food is on – bring it on boys!!!

Spice Restaurant, by Chris Salans

I can’t remember who order what so I am just going by receipt, photos, and memory of course. Here is the Crab Cake. Plain and simple on the receipt, but… it comes with coconut vegetables and a lemongrass sambal. All local ingredients, you’ll see this theme throughout – it really is showing off Indonesia in every dish, genius!!!

Spice Restaurant, by Chris Salans

Yes we had these day #1 and day #2. Signature Bangkuang Dumplings with a fragrant soya sauce. Sauce is to die for, you literally could just drink this neat, but then add to the dumplings for some absolutely perfect bedfellows.

Spice Restaurant, by Chris Salans

OMG OMG OMG – he it is. I had this say #1 and three of us had it day #2. This is seriously the absolute BEST Beef Carpaccio I have ever eaten in my 50 years on this planet. It is INSANELY good, believe me. It says it comes with mushrooms, parmesan slices and Rendang spices. What it doesn’t tell you (but is in the cook book) is that in the Rendang spice mix there are something like 17 ingredients – I have to make this oil. Buttery Wagyu beef, little flecks of crunchy sea salt, the most amazingly light but flavourful dressing and then some cut with the parmesan. This is absolutely now in my Death Row Cuisine list – it is literally out of this world. Amaze-balls good!!!

Spice Restaurant, by Chris Salans

Fish Gindara Carpaccio. Ooohs and Aaaahs from all eating this. This is a delicate as looking dish. It is served with vanilla bean dressing and pepper lavosh. I think Gindara is also known in Japan as black cod, and is something of a delicacy for its soft white flesh. The lavosh is the thin breads atop the fish. It looks stunning, truly, what a dish.

Spice Restaurant, by Chris Salans

On the receipt we have two Beef Cromesquis, which I think is actually Beef Rendang Croquettes with green chili sambal. I didn’t try this one, but believe me only clean plates went back. Beautiful plating again, and se that local local theme throughout every dish, with that modern spin. I seeing a lot of Japanese influence throughout too, are you spotting the same???

Spice Restaurant, by Chris Salans

Marky Mark gets stuck in to Tempura Soft Shell Crab, with a Tamarind seasonal fruit Rujak (AKA traditional Indonesian fruit and vegetable salad). How good does that look, seriously.

I just realised going through the receipt that we got charged for 2x Braised Lamb Shoulders, but they were taken off the menu by the staff as they were unhappy with the produce. Class it as a tip for the guys Chef Salans, it should go to the staff. It was funny as my Mary and I were saying it was disappointing not to have, but delightful in that the staff would refuse to serve shit food.

Spice Restaurant, by Chris Salans

My choice for day #1. I just had to have this, and I am so very very glad I did, as this was AMAZE-BALLS good food. 2 of us had this, Pork Belly Turmeric. Just look at this dish, colours and textures all over the plate. It’s stunning. This was crispy skin pork, with a Turmeric dressing and Dukkah spice (the little sesame covered nuggets). This is a cracking dish. I would easily eat this again and again. Just incredible food on offer yet again!

Spice Restaurant, by Chris Salans

Here’s the Balinese Beef Burger, well actually two of them. This comes with Black Kluwek-Miso- Garlic on Ciabatta bread. Another beauty rumbles out from the kitchen. Now this deserves a little Daddy-Pedia, well actually insight from one of the servers. Kluwek is a hard-shelled nut that grows in Mangrove Trees in Indonesia. Once you have processed the nut it forms a smoky, oily, sort of almond flavour paste. How about this – the raw nut contains a water-soluble toxin, hydrogen cyanide. Shit sounds like a nut version of Fugu. So the processing is critical to not kill your dining guests I suppose. So to the processing – get this – this is a labour of love right here; Boil the nuts, wrapping them in ash and banana leaves, and then bury them in the earth for 40 days, yes FORTY days. WOW!!! It’s a very special burger indeed.

Spice Restaurant, by Chris Salans

My Mary gets in to the Steak Sliders. Jesus, you have to try these. I always compare steak now to ours at ChillaxBBQ (yes I think ours is special – little things like we only use Kampot Pepper from Cambodia, we reverse sear for 2 hours on low heat, etc!!!) But I tell you, these bad boys are right up there. The meaty taste is seriously so so beefy, seasoned to perfection too. Damned fine sliders, and augmented with a Green Chili Sambal. Hell Yeah! Gets my vote!!!

Spice Restaurant, by Chris Salans

Baby Jude gets in to the Beef Brisket for day #1, and I kid you not he ate the entire bowl of this. This is so bloody good. The gravy is just incredible, massive flavours hit you, with fall apart slow braised brisket. Stunning! Flat noodles with that Kluwek spin again in the broth, and coriander. I tried the broth – took a moment to calm down with some deep breaths, before I could talk again. Ha Ha – yep this is seriously stonking!

Spice Restaurant, by Chris Salans

BeBe tucks in to the Chicken Breast Jackfruit. Mary had a wee chomp on this and was singing its praises in a big up fashion. Yep that means it was very good. This comes with roasted Jackfruit and bell pepper stew. Crappy photo, I apologise, as it does not do the colours and dish presentation justice. Beautiful!

Spice Restaurant, by Chris Salans

Ollie goes large on the Beef Braised Rendang. It just says Coconut milk and braised vegetables on the menu. But man oh man was this complex in flavour, almost floral. Super super soft beef, that fall apart style. I am assuming Mr Sous Vide is a culprit. A cracker of a dish!!!

Spice Restaurant, by Chris Salans

OK slight out of order as this was end of day #1. You know me and my creme brulee’s. If ever there is one on the menu, it is going to get consumed by this god. This comes with strawberries and ginger flower sorbet. Just that is a superb dessert on its own, but then in kicks the creme brulee. It is heart stoppingly good. Without any doubt in my mind, of the past 50 years of eating, this is single handedly the very best creme brulee I have ever ever had. I’d go back here just for this. We consumed 6 of these over the two days. I am home-sick now of the restaurant, as I could eat this every single day for the rest of my days. Chef Salans, goodness me my friend. A+++++

Spice Restaurant, by Chris Salans

I had to try a signature cocktail on day #2, and this was a cracker. It’s their spin on a Bloody Mary, called Andalima, due to the local pepper they use. It also has a tomato sorbet in it to keep it clean and cold. Like this a lot!!!

Spice Restaurant, by Chris Salans

Day #2 and Soph decides to go signature fish curry, which she said was such a delicious dish. It surely looks good.

Spice Restaurant, by Chris Salans

Ollie day #2 gets in to BBQ Pork Stir Fried Rice Noodles, with fresh garden herbs and baby vegetables. Over to Ollie; really really savoury, with blends of spices, with a very creamy unctuous gravy sort of Char Kway Teow. Winner winner.

I completely cocked up with one dish as I did not take a picture. But it must be mentioned in the blog. Flash had this day #1, I had one bite and it became my must have choice for day #2. This is seriously up there with the best ever pork ribs, if not THE best. We went to Naughty Nuri’s earlier, which are supposedly the best ribs in Indonesia. Sorry you ain’t naughty enough to compete with these. This is Death Row Cuisine on a case of steroids. On the menu, Sticky Pork Ribs. This has a Cassia Bark and Ginger glaze. The meat falls off the bones with the lightest touch, it is so so tender.

I have used unctuous a fair bit in the blog, but what other word to use for the glaze. This dish is really a Die Die Must Try. Someone in your party must have this when you dine here, just so you can get one taster and then get hooked, as I did. OMG.

#bestporkribsever

So there you have it folks, Spice Restaurant, by Chris Salans. It is an absolute MUST attend restaurant if you are in Bali. You must make a trip to Ubud if not staying there. The food is just exceptional. The staff are wonderful. And it is so so reasonable on the $$$. But again back to the food. You get Indonesian classics with a modern/fusion twist. In some instances it is painstaking prep, as in the good old Kluwek nut, remember the burying for 40 days. Chef Salans, my friend you have a winner here mate. It was just brilliant, we ALL loved it from 5-50 years old, from English to Texan to Filipino. Your style is wonderful and your staff are clearly proud to be living that with you. Thank you. Folks – just get your bum and taste buds here, it’s wonderful – ENJOY!!!

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