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Bali

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Decadence in Bali How to live like queens.

We stayed, ate, and indulged ourselves proper in celebration of Keith’s 30th birthday in Bali. This destination remains a good choice for large groups of friends to holiday as it’s convenient, has numerous restaurants and cafes to dine together at, and is equipped with the service and infrastructure to cater to touristic requests. Gotta give a big thanks to Keith and the organising committee for arranging everything for the 15 of us!

STAY

Let’s start with our fabulous accommodations.

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The exquisite view upon entering the Dwaraka President suite.

A small group of us arrived in Ubud first, and stayed at the new-ish Dwaraka The Royal Villas. We snapped up its President Suite quite some time back as it was on half price, making it an incredible deal for such a treat. Our villa is perched on a small hill facing a little rice field and its surrounding tropical rainforest, which shielded us from every stressor you can imagine.

We were housed comfortably in a two-storey building that’s extravagantly decorated in a mix of traditional Balinese and colonial styles, and every bedroom is designed to pamper the crap out of you. It was such a relief to have such a nice place to stay in for hours on end as there wasn’t much to the rest of Ubud, which has evolved to be much like Seminyak — busy, messy, and expensive. Pretty disappointed by this as most people have said that it’s the artsy hippie enclave of the island.

One of my fondest memories of Dwaraka here is taking my own sweet time to get out of the insanely comfortable bed, and stepping out onto the terrace to take in the panoramic view made up of trees, trees, and more trees. I remember thinking, this must be what luxury is about — being able to appreciate nature’s richness every morning. It’s a great way to start each day, and I hope that I’ll be able to achieve this one day. Life would also be perfect if I could lounge in that infinity pool every day… Guess I’ll keep on dreaming.

It was heartbreaking to move out of this paradise and into bustling Seminyak. The only consolation was that we’d finally be together as a 15-strong herd made up of old and new friends!

We checked into one of Villa Chocolat‘s massive villa which has 6 bedrooms and another 2 in a smaller attached bungalow. The rooms were modern in style, and not much to shout about. The big pool was lovely though, and we spent most of our afternoons here, drinking, chatting, and fooling around with Kylie and Mylie (our swan floaties).

EAT

Eat, drink, and laugh — it was all we did the entire time.

Fair Warung Balie (Ubud)

Clean food for a good cause! I had the mahi mahi salad, and the fish slices were fresh, sweet, and just nicely cooked. Had it with fresh orange and carrot juice. Their Nutella crepe got our unanimous vote too. 

Hujan Locale (Ubud)

My favourites include the Squid ink rice with crispy calamari and coriander aioli and salt fish chili flakes, and chocolate dessert with coconut ice cream. Everything else we ordered didn’t disappoint as well. 

Merah Putih (Kerobokan)

Fancy ass meal (came up to about SGD90 each) in a spectacular restaurant built like a towering greenhouse. I enjoyed the tasting menu very much, but it was a pity that it all came in bite-sized portions. It left us wanting more! Will definitely be back for a proper a la carte meal.

Bossman Burgers (Seminyak)
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“Snacked” on this super satisfyingly thick and juicy beef patty burger. Love it when they get medium rare perfect.
Keith’s birthday BBQ bash (Villa Chocolat)

We arranged for the in-house chef service, and had 3-4 staff cook up a BBQ feast in our villa. It was way too much food! The prawns, which were exceptionally sweet and juicy, won me over. We also had generous servings of lobster, Mee Goreng, Nasi Goreng, mozzarella and tomatoes, seafood skewer, lamb, Babi Guning, and steamed veggies. STUFFED.

La Laguna (Canggu)

This beachfront gypsy-inspired haven is more about the ambiance, but the finger food was delicious as well. We ordered way too many things for me to take notes, but I remember the patatas bravas was heavenly.

Kilo (Seminyak)

Kilo is one of my favourite restaurants of all time. I’ve been dreaming about the yuzu truffle sushi since we had it in Singapore, and I still think of it every now and then after this excessive meal at its Bali branch. Every dish blew my mind. They were hearty, full of punchy flavours, and never missed a beat. I was a very very happy glutton, savouring up every drop of sauce even though my stomach was bursting at the seams. And I want it all again!

Love you Keith! Thanks for bringing this whole thing together.
Love you Keith! Thanks for bringing this whole thing together.

Have a Bali New Year Ate, drank, and laughed our way into the new year.

Bali over the new year was one major fatty holiday. Based on recommendations from those who’ve been there before, we hopped from one restaurant to the next, gorged on good food and drinks, and got drunk on the holiday spirit.

My first time in Bali was with my family, and I was pretty underwhelmed. Besides the stunning views of the stepped rice terraces and cliffs of Uluwatu, I thought Bali was overpriced and overcrowded. I wouldn’t have stepped foot on the island again if not for the promise of side splitting laughing fits that always came whenever I’m with my friends.

We managed to get a slot at the 5-bedroom Villa Rajapala in Seminyak from Dec 28 to Jan 1 for about AUD2000 in September, and we all jumped on the opportunity to spend NYE there.

Villa Rajapala
It was hard to contain our excitement the moment we stepped into Villa Rajapala.

Our first stop was Potato Head. The sprawling open-concept bar/dining area faced the sea, but because MIA was performing the following day, her stage blocked 90% of the view. Thankfully that was compensated by another beautiful view — the gorgeous crowd lazing around the day beds by the pool in their skimpy outfits.

We dived straight into our holiday mood by splurging on food (try the french fries with garlic and cheese dips, the wagyu meatballs spaghetti) and drinks (I loved the tequila fruit punch), and soaked up the atmosphere by perving at half-naked bodies and camwhoring.

Potato Head
Potato Head’s amusing facade made of window shutters.
The vibe reminds me of LA — or what I’ve seen on TV of LA.
The amazing sunset by the beach.
One shot is not enough!

We then had our first dinner in Bali at Mama San, which had elegant fusion interiors and pretty good dishes. For mains, I would recommend the kang kong vegetable dish as it was tasty without being too oily, as well as the lemongrass chicken and green curry. But the creme brulee there was the winner for me. The custard had the perfect consistency, and it wasn’t too sweet.

Western interiors with Chinese accents.

The first day ended with some club hopping fuelled by free entries to gay clubs (the Bali Joe stretch) and cheap drinks (SGD7 a martini). After the gay partying we headed to Mint, which had a ridiculous cover charge. So we popped by the bar opposite it instead. It’s called Mantra, and I was pleasantly surprised by how UK-like it felt with its laid back crowd and grungy boho interiors. But they had this over-experimental musician who was making terrible scratching noises with his electronic guitar and miscellaneous gadgets, so we left before finishing our drinks. It was that bad.

Mantra’s effortless yard.

Day 2 saw us scooting off to Naughty Nuri’s for some sinful BBQ pork ribs. We were unfortunate enough to get stopped by the traffic police along the way because of our lack of helmets, but we managed to bargain the fines down.

Riding the moped with Colin.
At Naughty Nuri’s.
They have amazing ribs.

We headed towards the Kuta/Legian area after that, and was greeted by the most terrifying traffic jam. All the vehicles came to a crawl at the main road, and many bikers took to the side walk to bypass the bottleneck. It was a hair-pulling journey in the taxi, so we eased our trauma with a round of pampering massage and mani/pedicures.

Metis was in line for dinner plans, and although it was the “poshest” stop in our itinerary, it was surprisingly affordable. But because we ordered a fuck load and a bottle of red, the bill came up to about IDR7 million for the 9 of us. And because it was one of those restaurants where every single dish was impressive, I’m going to list down the items we had and which anyone going there should try. If it’s a small group and there’s not much sharing you can do, be sure to get their foie gras and lava cake, which were both equally heavenly.

Starters

  • Yellow Fin Tuna Sashimi
  • Trio of Tartare
  • Les Escargots
  • Traditional French Onion Soup
  • Legendary Pan Seared Hot Foie Gras
  • Grilled Scallops and Pan Seared Hot Foie Gras

Mains

  • Rabbit Leg and Sauté Macaroni Pasta with Foie Gras
  • Moulard Duck Leg Confit
  • Grilled Australian Lamb Rack
  • Grilled Australian Black Angus Ribeye Steak

Desserts

  • Le Moelleux (lava cake)
We remained happy diners at Metis despite missing the sunset view.
Had rabbit leg for the first time in the form of the Confit of Rabbit Leg and Sauté Macaroni Pasta with Foie Gras and Morel Jus.

On Day 3, we hit up Made’s Warung for lunch (I only liked the chicken satay there but some of my friends loved the mixed vegetables and Nasi Campur), did some shopping around the Seminyak, and then headed towards Rock Bar in hope of getting a table there to watch the sun go down.

The coastline on which Ayana Resort resides.

We arrived at Ayana Resort (where Rock bar is located) at around 5, and there was already a long, long queue to get into Rock Bar. We were told that the place is already filled, so we decided to have dinner along Jimabaran Bay nearby first (had fresh and scrumptious prawns, fish, and sotong at Juking restaurant but the crabs were a disappointment), and then return to Rock Bar after that for a drink.

Where all seafood dinners should be served.
The amazing Rock Bar.
These boys were forced to get a new pair of pants because the door bitch of Rock Bar thought their board shorts material was unacceptable.

Our last full day in Bali fell on New Year’s eve, and we decided to wind things down by spending the day at the villa. And this is what happens when you put us together, Big Brother style.

Weiming, the girl from Ipanema.
Bubbly with the villa’s caretakers to kick off NYE!
Freddy with Philly, the resident terrapin who was enjoying a stroke.
Tigers in the backyard.
This is the life.
Laughing was what went on 90% of the time in the villa.
For NYE’s dinner we ordered in the local fare.
Our beheaded babi guling (roasted suckling pig).
Hello 2013!
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