The Dusty Café - Seminyak - Bali

The Dusty may be the smallest café you will find in Bali. It was recently opened by a young Frenchman, Nicolas Vitetta. It is similar with a bar in Jakarta called Treehouse for those who know. The design combines classic items like the big chandeliers, with some cheaper, recycled ones. I'm not sure about the definition of hipster but it could be one of those places where they hang out.

Located just next to the bar Maria Magdalena in Jalan Dhyana Pura, it serves a small menu of mostly healthy food, including sandwiches and salads. 
"Party Belt" Bruschetta (Rp60,000+15%)
"Astral Tower" (Rp67,000+15%)
I had the "Party Belt", a duo of Bruschetta (quite expensive at Rp60,000+15%) and the Astral Totem, a Quino Salad (Rp65,000+15%). It was not fine dining but both tasted good and it was fresh.

Overall: The Dusty has all the ingredients to become a successful neighborhood restaurant. It has good food (albeit some items are too expensive), friendly staff, and a cosy atmosphere. I will be back!

Note: The Wifi was not working but I imagine it is because they are just starting.
The Dusty Café
Jalan Dhyana Pura (also referred to as Jalan Camplung Tanduk) no4
Seminyak, Bali 80361

Phone number: +62 (0) 8 21 46 45 20 51
Email: dustycafé

Opening hours:
Everyday until 11pm

Menu of The Dusty Restaurant:

La Finca Spanish Restaurant (Bali)

La Finca is a Spanish restaurant located near Batu Belig beach, between Seminyak and Canggu. It is owned by Thomas Mack, a young, mix German-Chinese man who previously lived in Ibiza. The Mediterranean island seemed to have been a big influence in the making of La Finca. 

Nestled in a spacious open-air area and surrounded by rice fields, it is relaxing and laid-back. It is also quite romantic if you come in the evening. Hopefully there won't be too many developments around so that it retains its peaceful rural charm...

I visited on a Sunday afternoon and it was not too busy... The menu is rather short: It features a variety of Tapas, Sandwiches, Hamburgers and Salads. They also have "Carne a la Piedra" = Beef that you can cook yourself on a hot stone.

We had the Carpaccio with Manchego Cheese (Rp69,000++), the Roasted Vegetable Tower (Rp45,000++), the Grilled Squid (Rp45,000++) and the Beef Meatball Sandwich (Rp69,000++).
Beef Carpaccio with Manchego Cheese (Rp69,000++)
Grilled Calamari (Rp45,000++)
Roasted Vegetable Tower (Rp45,000++)
Meatball Sandwich (Rp69,000++)
The prices are very reasonable and the presentation of each dishes was great. Unfortunately, out of 4, we only liked two of them. The Beef Meatball Sandwich in particular was really too salty and we left half of it in our plate.

Overall: La Finca is a nice, well-managed concept. It offers good value for money considering the setting and the service, but the taste of the food could me improved I believe. I would still definitely try again as it could have been just bad luck.
La Finca Bali
Jalan Subak Sari #77, Banjar Tegal Gundul, Batu Belig
Denpasar, Bali, Indonesia 80361

Phone number: +62 (0) 361 274 0088 or +62 (0) 361 210 5080

Facebook: La Finca Bali
Twitter: La Finca
Instagram: Lafincabali
Google +: La Finca Batubelig 

Opening Hours:
Every day from 11am to 11pm
La Finca Tapas Menu

La Finca Meat, Burgers, Sandwiches, Salads

Bella Italia Restaurants (Bali)

Bella Italia is an authentic Italian restaurant with currently 2 locations in Kuta Bali (Jalan Kartika Plaza and Jalan Poppies II). Both are rather small, with an AC indoor area and an outdoor area. They are simply decorated to look like the kind of typical, casual restaurant that you could certainly find almost everywhere in Italy. 

I visited Bella Italia after hearing some good comments from friends who assured me it was one of the best places for Italian food in Kuta. The owner is Italian, and he is on the floor almost every night, hosting and serving guests. I saw a second Italian man helping as well, probably a partner. 

I went to the branch in Kartika Plaza, which was almost full. It is probably best to make a reservation if you come with a small group. Since it is crowded, I found the service to be a bit rushed and it gave me a reminder of why I don't like to eat in central Kuta.
Bruschetta (Rp37,000++)
Margarita Pizza (Rp69,000++)
The prices are reasonable, but not too cheap for Bali. I took the pizza Margarita at Rp69,000 (+17% tax and service) and the bruschetta (Rp37,000++). The pizza could have been excellent but the cooking of the dough was not perfect and it was too soft. I think that it probably has to do with the type of oven they use (not a wood-fire one).

Overall: Bella Italia may be one of the best Italian restaurants in Kuta. It does not mean much though since the competition there isn't really hard. It is actually similar with some restaurants in Seminyak such as Ultimo, Warung Italia, Sirenetta or Pizza Marzano = It serves decent, affordable food in a simple atmosphere.
Bella Italia Kartika Plaza
Jl Kartika Plaza No 8X, Kuta, Bali 80361, Indonesia
Phone number: +62 821-4635 0365

Bella Italia Poppies
Gang Bedugul - Poppies Lane 2, Kuta, Bali, Indonesia
Phone number: +62 (0) 361 766 917


The Manhattan Fish Market - Seafood Restaurants

The Manhattan Fish Market is a restaurant chain specializing in seafood dishes, either poached, grilled, fried, baked or flamed.

They are originally from Singapore, with branches in several countries in Asia and Middle East. In Indonesia, you can find them in Bali and Jakarta for the moment.

I took one of their signature dishes, the Small Flame (Rp129,000 +16% tax and service), which seemed very appetizing on the picture from the menu (you can see all of it here).
Small Flame (Rp129,000++)
They brought me the dish after a few minutes, and flame-grilled it for a few seconds in front of me. It is amusing but I'm not sure it serves a real purpose.

I was quite disappointed with my food as I realized it was just 3 tiny prawns, a fish fillet, some vegetables, french fries and rice. It tasted ok but it fell short of what I expect when paying Rp150,000 for non-imported items. Apart from the original presentation in a pan, there is nothing that differentiate their fish from much cheaper restaurants.
Overall: Unfortunately, as many restaurant chain, The Manhattan Fish Market is mostly about marketing. You buy an atmosphere and an image, but in terms of value for money it is poor.

I would recommend it to you only if you are receptive to themed restaurants and the fantasy world they bring you into. If you care more about finding proper food at a normal price, it is best to avoid.

The Manhattan Fish Market Bali
Near Kuta Beach and Lippo Mall Kuta, Jalan Kartika Plaza 10
Kuta, Denpasar, Bali
Phone number: +62-361 757 106
Opened from 11am to 11pm

The Manhattan Fish Market Central Park Mall
Central Park Jalan Let. Jend. S. Parman no. 28 kav. 34
Phone number: +62-21 2920 0015
Opened from 10am to 10pm

The Manhattan Fish Market Grand Indonesia
Grand Indonesia Shopping Town, Sky Bridge 
Jalan M.H. Thamrin no. 1
Phone number: +62-21 2358 1055
Opened from 10am to 10pm

The Manhattan Fish Market Kemang
Lippo Mall Kemang
Phone number: +62-21 2952 8382
Opened from 10am to 10pm

The Manhattan Fish Market Lotte Shopping Avenue
Phone number: +62-21 2988 9466
Opened from 10am to 10pm

The Manhattan Fish Market Supermall Karawaci
Phone number: +62-21 547 3668
Opened from 10am to 10pm

Facebook: MFM Indonesia 

Watercress Café and Revolver Coffee (Seminyak)

Watercress is a café/restaurant located on Jalan Batu Belig in Seminyak. It is mostly appealing for the healthy options of its menu, particularly for breakfast. It also serves a small range of pastries (American ones), healthy juices and extracts, and coffee from the brand Revolver (whose main branch is on Jalan Oberoi).

On the day I visited, most of the customers seemed to be Australians, which is not surprising considering the owner is Australian himself. He may have some French blood too as the playlist was made of songs popular in France a few years ago.

Watercress could be easy to miss as it is small and simple. I would have ignored it but it was quite busy from the outside and it made me curious to try. We had just eaten so we only went for a Lassie (Rp35,000+16% tax and service), a Smoothie (Rp35,000++), a Blueberry Muffin (Rp30,000++), and an Apple Rhubarb Crumble with Ice Cream (Rp55,000++).

The service is friendly but a little disorganized. They waited about 10 minutes to tell us that our first smoothie order (Mango) was unavailable, and it then took another 10 minutes to bring the food and drinks to our table.
None of the items we tried impressed us. It was home-cooking at best, the kind of cakes you could eat at your son's friend birthday party. It was a bit of a disappointment and it made us feel Watercress is a tad overrated. Their prices aren't that cheap either. I should probably try a "real" dish next time though...

My impression about Watercress is that it is the café of a community. It is a place where people go because this is where they will meet like-minded people. If you are a bit of a hippie, a hipster or just plain hip, Watercress is probably the place for you and you'll fit right in.

We were staying in the garden area and it was quite noisy as it is just a few meters away from the road. Corner House or Grocer & Grind, which are very similar to Watercress are more relaxing in my opinion, especially in the morning. I guess I would sit in the back of the restaurant next time I visit instead.

Overall: I may come back to Watercress but with very little excitement. My only expectations would be to eat a decent breakfast under 10$.
Watercress Restaurant and Revolver Coffee
Near Naughty Nuris
Jalan Batu Belig #21a
Seminyak, Bali, Indonesia 80361

Phone number: +62 (0) 361 7808 030

Facebook: Watercress Bali
Twitter: Watercress Bali

Opening Hours:
Every day from 7am to 6pm

Sesto Senso by Hide Yamamoto (Jakarta)

Sesto Senso is an Italian restaurant owned by a Japanese Chef, Hide Yamamoto. Located in Lotte Mall Kuningan, it is similar in concept with other recently opened venues such as AW Kitchen and Popolamama. All of these are managed by Japanese but sell mostly Italian dishes.

The design of Sesto Senso is modern minimalist, which made me feel like it was soulless, a bit as if I was sitting in the waiting room of a brand-new hospital. It is a good thing the waiters were warm and friendly to compensate for that feeling. I also enjoyed the view of Jakarta's skyline from the large window.

The menu (available in detail here) features all the popular Italian classics, particularly pasta. The prices are rather expensive, about 20% higher than average.
Pocket Size Pizza Margarita (Rp89,000+21%)
Spaghettini Aglio Olio Peperoncino (Rp85,000+21%)
I had a Pizza Margarita (89,000rp+21% tax and service) and the Pasta Aglio Olio Peperoncino (85,000rp+21%). The Pizza Margarita tasted ok, but certainly not as fine as those you can have in authentic Italian restaurants. It was quite small too. The pasta portion was rather tiny as well and the taste was very common. The thing I preferred actually was the free bread they gave as an appetizer (from their own Flour Flour Bakery). 

Overall: Being used to eat authentic Italian food, I was a disappointed with what I ate in Sesto Senso. I did not see any Japanese or innovative touch in any of the dishes. I could try again if I happen to be in Lotte Mall, but I wouldn't come specifically from far away only to eat there.
Sesto Senso & Flour Flour Bakery
Pasta and Antipesto
Ciputra World Super Block - Lotte Mall
Jalan Prof. Dr. Satrio Kav.3-5, First Floor
South Jakarta

Phone number: +62-21 2988 9153
Fax: +62-21 2988 9155


Opening Hours:
Every day from 10am to 10pm
Pasta Menu in Sesto Senso