It is a quaint watering hole for travellers wanting to escape the hullaballoo of the city. It is quiet but not dead-quiet, simple but not drab. Instagrammers will certainly find a cornucopia of subjects for their TBT postings. Its furniture is a patchwork of marble-top tables, sofas, Cogswell chairs with bright cushions, and semi-slumber chairs. Each customer can go pick a corner of the restaurant to mark as temporary space for dining, sipping coffee or tea, reading, or a tête-a-tête. The bric-a-brac on display are after a magpie’s heart: classic telephones with those dials, old clocks, old radios etc. that hurl you back to the days of simple, non-globalized living. The signs are a riot that they would make the grumpiest of people laugh. I am referring to the eclectically designed restaurant that has become a favourite of mine in Bali. It is called La Tartine and is located in Sanur.
The ambience is welcoming; a service crew meets you at the door, menu in hand, and patiently waits while you make up your mind on where to sit. Breakfast is served from 6am to 10am. If you are staying at Hotel Putri Tempoe Doeloe, which is located at the back of the restaurant, you need to get your breakfast coupon at the hotel lobby and present it to any of the service crew. If you forget to, don’t sweat it – the staff, dressed in black and always with a smile, will take care of it.
Breakfast choices cover local and international fares which you can alternate during your stay – scrambled egg, tartine of the day, mie goreng (fried noodles) or nasi goreng (fried rice). The meals are served with coffee (with or without milk), orange juice, croissant or pancake, and a plate of papaya, watermelon, and melon. It is a long, leisurely breakfast that would have you pondering on the past, present, and future of your life coupled with what to do after breakfast. Shall you go for a massage at the Puri Esthetic Spa or take the car for a city tour? Definitely, it’s hot yoga class for two hours in the afternoon.
Lunch or dinner choices can either go light or heavy. Scrambled feta cheese salad, a bowl of vegetables, feta cheese, grilled potatoes and tomato cherry pesto, is filling that it will tide you over until dinner. You can pair it with Pesto control, an open-face sandwich of vegetables generously slathered with pesto if you are still famished. But if the two are still too light weight, under the menu’s Indonesian Taste section is something to tickle your palate. Called Nasi Goreng Black, it is fried rice with black mushrooms, black olives, raisins, egg, and kerupok (cracker in English) served in a quaint aged wooden box. The addition of black mushrooms and black olives distinguished itself from the commonplace fried rice. Diners have the option to add chicken or shrimp toppings.
Under dessert is listed a variety of sweet delights to end meals on a sweet note. My attention was drawn to two dishes. The name of the first dessert is what really got my attention – Unicorn Poop! It elicited more than a fit of giggles from me and my gal-pal, Fistri, on our trip in November. We ordered it and discovered we were digging into chocolate cake with orange confit and hot chocolate sauce that paired perfectly well with hot sencha green tea. The second dessert option had a less eyebrow-raising name as the first but still quirky. Called Love Cake and described as “very loving” on menu, it’s a smooth melange of far-from-saccharine sweet meringue, whipping cream and strawberry coulis that glided easily on the palate and wrapped itself thinly around my hips.
Dining at La Tartine reworks one’s idea of a culinary experience. As the unpretentious ambience puts the diner at ease, the menu steers one to make healthier choices that doesn’t mean bland dishes. Flavours abound! As the tagline on the menu goes, “eat here and diet home” [sic].
Jalan By Pass Ngurah Sanur 209 Sanur, Bali
Tel: +62 361 286 542
Hours: 7am – 11pm