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.
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.
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.
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!
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.
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.
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.
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!
Organic Almonds IDR 50,000
Roasted organic almonds, spiced with cinnamon and rock salt. (V, GF, DF)
Olive Mix IDR 45,000
Asian-spiced Salmon IDR 95,000
Cheese Platters IDR 290,000
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
Roasted Cauliflower IDR 50,000
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.
Prosciutto di Parma IDR 95,000
King Prawn Bonbons IDR 80,000
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!
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!
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.
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.
Gorgonzola-Apple Brulee with Rucola Salad (V) IDR 100,000
Miso-Infused Salmon IDR 135,000
Soy-braised Wagyu IDR 130,000
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.
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
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.
Lamb Trio IDR 275,000
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.
Twice-Cooked Duck Breast IDR 195,000
Opera Mousse IDR 85,000
Chocolate-Espresso Lava Cake IDR 85,000
Chocolate Cheesecake IDR 80,000
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!
*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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