After a very lazy time on Nusa Lembongan, we headed across to Ubud for the second part of our holiday, ready to do some seriously good eating. We stayed at Honeymoon Guesthouses, owned by Janet de Neefe, who has run food businesses, festivals and accommodation in Ubud for 25 years. The guesthouses are spacious and comfortable, although we found our outside chairs already occupied when we turned up (see above).
Food-wise, we spent our first night at Indus Restaurant, which is part of the de Neefe empire - the hotel puts on free transport to and from the restaurant and you get a 10% discount if you're staying at Honeymoon. Indus is beautifully situated, with a terrace looking over a lush river valley - we got there right on dusk, so we only had a few minutes to enjoy the view before focussing our attention on the food.
I had the vegan nasi campur (IDR70k - $6.70) - a plate of rice and goodies including pumpkin, curry eggplant, tofu, snake beans, jackfruit and the best tempeh I've ever eaten. Cindy went for the jackfruit rendang, with green beans, coconut milk, crispy shallots and red rice (IDR85k - $8.10), which was nearly as good. We left enough space for our first real dessert of the trip, a slice of Casa Luna's famous lime tart (IDR60k - $5.70) - it easily lived up to the hype.
We had five mornings at Honeymoon Guesthouses to sample the full range of breakfasts they offered up (breakfast was part of the package) - it was such a treat to have fresh fruit and fancy juices for breakfast every morning.
This was followed by our choice of main: banana-stuffed pandan pancakes, banana fritters, French toast with palm sugar syrup, eggs and, most impressively, a vegetarian nasi campur. Tempeh for breakfast is the best. Coming back to cereal for breakfast has been one of the hardest parts of the holiday being over.
Our other Casa Luna food-related experience was a half day cooking class the involved a tour of the Ubud market (right before it changed from the locals market to the touristy one). It was fun to get a rundown of the local produce and to get a sense of how locals do their shopping.
After we finished at the market, we headed back to the cooking school to get stuck into some Balinese cookery. A group of about 12 of us pitched in to produce a ridiculous feast: two kinds of coconut salad (urab pakis), a tempe curry, a roasted eggplant sambal (sambal tuwung), a fried chilli sauce (sambal goreng), a raw chilli seasoning (sambal matah), fried noodles (mie goreng) and a fish curry (ikan mekuah). The hands-on parts of the course were tag-teamed, so people took turns grinding up spices pastes, chopping and frying things.
The food was astonishingly good, and the course was well suited for vegos (the mie goreng was split into two batches - one with fish sauce and one without). While we ate the savouries, the instructors whipped up a batch of pandan pancakes stuffed with palm sugar and coconut, an amazing way to end a fantastic meal. Look out for some of these dishes on the blog in the next few months.
We had a wonderful stay at Honeymoon - the staff were super helpful, the pool was great and everything we ate or drank that had any connection with the place was delightful. We'd definitely stay there again.