Sweet things at Bungalow

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Bungalow cookie & milk

There are many things to like about Bungalow Cafe. As you walk up the steps, it feels like you are walking into someones living room. A quietly fashionable someone, who has a love of flower arrangements, quotation books, incense and cake. There are always smiley staff, taking out pretty trays of open sandwiches, coffee, pastries and more.

The lovely Giovanni and her chocolate poodle X BB King can often be found unpacking new retail goodies and lounging on the floor (respectively!). Today my son and I have stopped in for some yummy banana chocolate cake, choc chip cookies and milk.

There is a slightly morroccan, old-world charm to the interior. The buildings old terranium room to the side has been refashioned with a large dining table surrounded by wall seating with an eclectic abundance of cushions. Small tables mingle with treasures for sale. Baskets, cushions, bags, jewellery, incense, books and homewares are scattered on shelves and on sweet antique look furnishings, also for sale.

The warmth and generosity of this place and the people who make it happen, shows in everything they do. There is a book swap shelf on the front porch, water bowls for puppies and a vintage tricylce that children love to sit on.

Coming soon, Bungalow is expanding across the road, to a tranquil spot, set back from the street. I’m told it will hold an open commercial kitchen to pump out the yummies available here and house an intimate gallery/furniture store. Giovanni envisions a welcoming community space that will feature artworks, photography and live music from local musicians.

The Bungalow experience has me lingering longer every time I drop by. The wholesome range is small, but more than enough to satisfy any pallet. The staff are lovely and always remember me. And with such a warm atmosphere already, I cant wait to see the new venue in full swing ­čÖé

I Finca not

 

 

 

 

la finca blog

Its date night, and at a moments notice we decide to try the newly opened La Finca on the river bend of Batu Belig. Known briefly for its tapas and ambience, we enter with high hopes, as Movida in Melbourne was a previous favourite of ours. The staff are friendly, the place is glowing with candles against a bamboo, garden setting. Specials boards are leant on an adjacent table and I order the waitresses recommendation ‘a special gin and tonic’. I discover that this means thyme branches, cinnamon stick and apple are added to the traditional garnishes, yet actually do little to alter the flavour. With a little knowledge, this could have been achieved if perhaps the thyme leaves were bruised to release aroma and the cinnamon stick warmed for the same result.

After reading the menu, we opt for specials and classics. Starting with Baby Octopus & Potato. Served on a wooden board, thin slices of smooth potato, cooked to the same perfect tenderness as the tentacled slices that rest on top of them. A light drizzle of olive oil and paprika complete the dish. It is ‘cooked’ well, but lacks flavour. My husband (an exec chef here in Bali) points out that it traditionally is peasant food, thus big flavour punch was never a priority.

A jug of red Sangria is poured at the table next and is sweetly refreshing. Accompanied by a little silver bucket of ice, its a nice┬átouch. My Paella arrives and again, the presentation is appealing. It is substantial, but not wet enough for my liking and there is something missing from the taste combination. Perhaps a herb, more zest or a kick of chilli. I finally figure it out…like movies of yesteryear, it lacks that extra dimension. I try my husbands steak, and need to season it substantially too.

I planned to order dessert, but a little platter of ‘complimentaries from the owner’ arrived first. I devour the chocolate filled spring roll and rich, dark ganache square. It was just what I needed to satisfy my sweet tooth.

I notice the music, its progressive house classics, pumping me up for a night out. The crowd are a colourful array of expats and locals. The high bamboo rotunda, pretty decor and ┬ácandlelight all entice me to stay. But my meal has been disappointing. To be fair, I understand the hiccups a venue faces in these early days of opening. Id like to think that feedback and tasting of dishes will inspire the chefs to add the extra dimension their menu craves. Would I return? Not for the food. But for Sangria, churros, people watching and atmosphere…one day I may.