During our last trip to Bali this time, we got the opportunities visiting some of really great restaurants, not necessarily new ones, but places with good reviews and worth visiting. Staying at Ubud for a night (I know, it’s never enough to stay in this beautiful area only for a night, forgodsake!), we managed to visit 3 restaurants in 2 days, and we will start by writing about this memorable dining experience at the infamous restaurant called bridges Bali.

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bridges Bali is a casual fine dining restaurant in Ubud, which seems to be quite popular as one of Ubud culinary icons, and also a spot for local exhibitions, book launches, and many other events. Located adjacent to Tjampuhan bridge, the name can’t be more perfect to describe what you’ll experience in there: wherever you are, you’ll enjoy the view of the bridge, the river, and I assure you, it’s amazing that way.

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We arrived there at 5.30PM, the perfect time to enjoy a glimpse of the bridge (and restaurant) view before it went dark. The restaurant is easily spotted from the Campuhan street, and although it looks nothing near big from the outside, wait until you get inside and look around.

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The Padlocks of Love

Inspired by the love locks ritual spreading around the world, bridges placed a love tree by the old romantic bridge of Tjampuhan. This tradition is believed to become very popular in Italy at the bridge of Ponte Milvio in Rome after the film ‘Ho Voglia Di Te’ (‘I Want You’) based on a fictional book by Federico Moccia was made in 2007.

The love padlock is usually affixed to a bridge or a high building by a couple. This act symbolizes their promise to love each other until the end of time and is finalized by throwing away the key.

We were actually very lucky because when we arrived, a couple just finished dining there and were on the way to complete their “padlocks of love” package by posing in front of the love tree. *swoon* We were told that the package can be arranged with the restaurant by ordering your padlocks engraved with your names minimum 3 days prior to the event. The couple looked very full of happiness and we wish them nothing but the everlasting love! ;)

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bridges itself is divided into so many levels (if I am not wrong, it’s around 9 levels), starting from entrance level with reception desk, long table overlooking the view of greens, and a secluded area for more intimate dining experience by the inner side of the room. From this level, we can go upstairs to the wine cellar and dining room (smoking area and private room), or go downstairs for the main dining room and wine bar. So many stairs I lost track already, but worry not, there will always be someone to guide you around.

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As we were warmly welcomed at the entrance, we were brought directly to DIVINE, the new bar that bridges recently opens. The bar is located at the lowest level of the restaurant, accessible through the small stone arch just beside the entrance and also directly from the stairs in the restaurant.

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The journey down to the DIVINE was quite a struggle for us because it was almost dark and the path was narrow and it looked like we were walking down towards a cave or something. With stone wall by our left and right sides, it was quite terrifying for us because we had to carry all the photography equipment along the way.
However, the struggle was worth every sweat because what awaited us down there was just a simple definition of paradise.

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Getting out from the “cave”, we arrived at DIVINE, and were greeted personally the bridges’ co-founder, Mr. Claude Chouinard, who is a warm gentleman with great passion (and smile!). We were awed by the interior of the bar, which reminded us of Mediterranean house with modern touch, perfect for drinking and lounging, as well as socializing when the drinks start kicking in.

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Not mentioning that this bar is located at the lowest level of the restaurant (at the moment, because it seems that they’re expanding another level down, work in progress), the view from the bar is exactly very close to the Wos River of Ubud. It is breathtakingly beautiful and I almost forgot that I was in Bali at that time, it looked like a deep jungle to me and I couldn’t believe this is a view from a restaurant located in main street or something!

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After taking a lot of photos of the place, we were brought to a table which had already been set up for us. Apparently, we were about to enjoy some bar food paired with wines which are also specialties of DIVINE (it’s a wine bar, duh!). Interestingly, bridges doesn’t fool around with their dishes since the kitchen is helmed by Executive Chef Miles Belfield, who originally comes from Bahamas, raised in UK, and has worked in several prestigious Michelin-star restaurants across the world.
Something important to be noted too: bridges has many selections of dishes which are vegetarian (V), gluten-free (GF), and also diabetic friendly (DF)! Now everyone can be happy, right? XD

Organic Almonds IDR 50,000

Roasted organic almonds, spiced with cinnamon and rock salt. (V, GF, DF)

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Olive Mix IDR 45,000

Mixed olives – Spanish green and Kalamata (V, GF, DF)

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Asian-spiced Salmon IDR 95,000

Chilled Asian-spiced salmon, pickled radish and lime, served with charcoal bamboo bread.
LOVELY! Super fresh, lightly seasoned salmon slices that melted immediately in the mouth. Don’t forget the addictive charcoal bamboo bread, crunchy and fun to eat.

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Cheese Platters IDR 290,000

Choice of four cheeses – served with assorted breads, raisins and toasted walnuts (V)

Wine can never be separated from cheese, so we were glad to try their four cheeses platter, along with some breads, raisins and toasted nuts. My favorite was the Camembert De Normandie (third one from left in the picture below), a soft, full-flavored cheese from Normandy. As for the blue cheese, I gave up before I tried it.  XD

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Roasted Cauliflower IDR 50,000

Roasted cauliflower with Tahini and white eggplant (V, GF, DF)

I have never considered myself a cauliflower (or vegetables) fan in general, but I was totally impressed by this dish. There is nothing but vegetables here, but I felt like one or two meat were involved. I couldn’t agree more to our host, Mr. Claude, that this is one of his favorite dishes in the bar, because it was really that good. The crunchy cauliflower met refreshing eggplant, drizzled with Tahini, a condiment made from toasted ground hulled sesame seeds, with a consistency similar to peanut butter. It gave a tasty finishing without ruining the actual taste of the veggies.

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Prosciutto di Parma IDR 95,000

Prosciutto di Parma and Gruyère cheese straws (DF)
My personal favorite bar food, this was not only pretty but also very enjoyable eaten with wine. The cheese straws were something that definitely makes me returning to this place, period!

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King Prawn Bonbons IDR 80,000

King prawn bonbons with chilli salt and lime sauce
You know, sometimes before eating a dish, you fall in love right away to the dish and don’t even dare to eat it. That’s what exactly I felt upon seeing the presentation of this dish. Honestly, it was so appetizing to see the golden-colored balls, but they were just too pretty. The tasty bonbons were crispy in the outside and solid in the inside, perfectly enjoyed with the sweet, savory, and sour dipping sauce. YUM!

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I think we were pretty lucky because the weather was fine that day, although it was a little cloudy during the noon but it didn’t rain. The magnificent view of the bridge and river is indeed breathtaking and we couldn’t be more thankful for this opportunity. In the picture below, we can see that there is yet another staircase leading downhill, even closer to the river, actually we were told that they are planning to expand a level down in the near future. Can’t wait to see what they are going to build there!

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DIVINE Wine Shop

Beside the wine bar, DIVINE also has a separated wine shop located one floor above the entrance level. Featuring over 330 labels and more than 10 grape varieties from all major wine growing regions, all wines are stored in a constant temperature of 17 degrees and the old premium wines even in permanently controlled 11-13 degrees. We got the opportunity to visit this shop and was going ga-ga over the collections. They are also available online and the deals with free delivery options are quite attractive, too!

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Beside the DIVINE Wine Shop, there is a hidden staircase leading to private room, where we had our entrées. The private room has a long table with 10 chairs, with dimmed lighting and warm ambiance.

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While the entrées were being served, Mr. Antoine Olivain, the head sommelier at bridges, introduced us to the wine we would be having, and started the decanting process, which is believed to make the wine tastes better. The sommelier himself is a fine young man whose looks reminded me of Michael Buble, is claimed to be Ubud’s expert on all things wine. Hailing from the Alsace wine region, with a wine-maker father, a career in wine was a natural choice for Antoine, who worked through Portugal, Spain, Germany and Hungary while gaining his master’s degree in Wine Business Management.

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Gorgonzola-Apple Brulee with Rucola Salad (V) IDR 100,000

Poached apple filled with Gorgonzola crème brûlée served with a salad of rucola, pickled fennel, orange, candied pecan nuts and balsamic glaze
Refreshing salad with flavorful dressing, the addition of orange and balsamic glaze was amazingly good.

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Miso-Infused Salmon IDR 135,000

Seared salmon marinated in miso on top of tomato carpaccio, served with a salad of nori, dried fish flakes and pistachio nuts, tossed in yuzu vinaigrette
Whoever invented this dish needs an instant raise because this was simply a genius! The salmon was half cooked, leaving the inner part soft and smooth, but you got the smokey flavor from the outer part. The salad tasted really good, with mixed flavors from nori, fish flakes, and pistachio nuts (who can think of that!?), and the distinctive specific taste of yuzu was overwhelming, in a good way.

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Soy-braised Wagyu IDR 130,000

Australian wagyu beef braised with orange-infused soy sauce till moist and tender then slightly caramelized, served with creamed fennel and roasted button
OMG, by this time, I was totally sold to bridges! This dish was nothing but perfection. This is something that you’ll remember for the rest of your life, in term of the goodness. The wagyu was very well-seasoned, and the kind that melted in the mouth immediately when it touched your tongue. The sauce was excellent, enhancing the sweetness of the fresh wagyu but not overpowering. Bravo!

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By that time, we were already quite full, but as if those weren’t enough yet, we were about to continue with mains. *dies* Mr. Claude recommended some mains to order, and we moved to the dining area, 2 levels below the entrance level, with the open deck. We don’t have the picture of the night situation but the picture below is the said area, which was captured before we went down to the wine bar.

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Amuse Bouche

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Balinese Spiced Duck Leg IDR 150,000

Slow-roasted duck leg seasoned with Balinese spice paste served with yellow vegetable curry, cashew nuts, cardamon-infused steamed rice and fresh herbs

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Seafood-Carrot Velouté IDR 210,000

Grilled salmon and prawn served in carrot velouté with orange wedges, crispy bacon, dried shrimp sprinkle and asparagus-nasturtium flower salad, with your choice of rice or crispy noodle

Amazing, amazing, amazing! I must say this was MY ULTIMATE FAVORITE amongst all the mains we tried that night. The presentation, the flavor, the ingredients, everything was complimenting each others perfectly. First, the seafood were just awesome. Big chunk of crunchy prawn and thick well-grilled salmon on top of crispy noodle, served in carrot based sauce. The sweetness of fresh seafood really worked great with other savory ingredients, making it well balanced where every flavors can be experienced without overlapping each others.

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Lamb Trio IDR 275,000

Herb crusted lamb loin, lamb chop and lamb croquette, served with goat cheese gnocchi, layered vegetables, baby carrot, mint chimichurri and balsamic jus

Lamb is not our first choice in term of meat, but we can assure you this can work for everyone, even those who don’t like lambs. Like, seriously. There was no typical lamb smell, it could mean two things: they use really good lambs, or they cook it very well and removed the smell. The meat was very tender and hard to resist. Must try.

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Twice-Cooked Duck Breast IDR 195,000

bridges twice-cooked duck breast lightly dressed with five-spiced soy sauce, served with fried jicama dumplings, sautéed snow-pea, baby corn and carrot, pickled shiitake mushroom and your choice of cardamom-infused steamed rice or potato purée
My another favorite that night, this dish just took my heart completely. I loved everything on the plate, period.

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Opera Mousse IDR 85,000

Vanilla, coffee and chocolate mousse layered on joconde biscuit served with salty caramel sauce, crushed pistachio nuts and vanilla gelato
After experiencing such a great dinner, we could only hope we finished the night with great desserts. And really, bridges didn’t fail to impress us with their extensive selection of desserts.
The first to try was this Opera Mousse, served quite uniquely with joconde biscuits. The result was this combination of crunchy and smooth pairings of the mousse and biscuits, which was very fun to eat, not mentioning the yummy sauce and gelato.

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Chocolate-Espresso Lava Cake IDR 85,000

Rich chocolate-espresso lava cake served with a light Cointreau cream mousse and vanilla gelato
I love lava cake, and I love Cointreau. So this dessert was like a double hit in a plate. The lava was thick, fragrant, and delicious. Cake was dense but smooth. I can eat 5 of this by myself. XD

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Chocolate Cheesecake IDR 80,000

Chocolate cheesecake served with mango purée, fresh strawberry, candied cashew, crème Chantilly and mango sorbet
Another marvelous creation here, a very moist chocolate cheesecake with medium sweetness, paired with refreshing mango purée and sorbet, and other tropical fruits. Don’t forget the beautiful Chantilly that made the plating looked super gorgeous! Better yet, this dessert is actually categorized into Diabetic Friendly, how can you believe that?!

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This has been a very, very long post, and although I didn’t want to make it this long in the beginning, in the end I babbled around too much just because I was extremely impressed with this dining experience at bridges. It was our first time there but we know that wasn’t the last one. Impressive dishes with relatively great prices, heart-warming service, and superb ambiance, this is what bridges offers to you, and we truly felt everything in our hearts that way.

A memorable night for us with great food, great wine, and great company.

Thank you, bridges. We shall come back again soon and hope that you’ll stay awesome, if not more!

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*All prices are subject to 7% service charge & 10% government tax

** This review is written based on our visit on 11 April 2016.

 

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BRIDGES BALI
Jl. Raya Campuhan
Ubud – Bali
Ph. +62 361 970095
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Opening Hours:
Mon – Sun 11AM – 11.30PM