Latin-American inspired in Bali: Barbacoa
We very nearly didn't make it to Barbacoa. My fault, generally, because at some point of the trip I get super lazy and start looking at the most convenient food options. It all started one day in Bangkok almost a year ago when we were stuck in our hotel due to torrential rains but it being our last day, we were adamant about having food from our favourite restaurant, Suppanniga. After 20 minutes of debating whether or not to head out or stay in (we would almost certainly get stuck in a jam if we took a cab or be terribly rain-soaked if we took the train), we checked Foodpanda and realised they could deliver to our hotel. If you're wondering, the app to use for delivering food or odd requests (like picking up laundry) in Indonesia is Go-Jek. It's their version of China's WeChat, a single mobile platform for multiple functions other than food delivery. They do deliver Barbacoa, but I'd highly recommend you visit the restaurant to enjoy its rustic atmosphere.
Barbacoa is in Jalan Petitenget, which isn't too far from Seminyak where we usually stay, about a 10 - 15 minute cab ride. The food here is Latin American inspired, with tacos, ceviche, spice and a fascination with asado (barbeque) and cooking over wood-fire charcoal. The loft style dining area is spacious, beautifully tiled and complemented with dark wood beams. If you choose an outdoor table you get a view of their private rice terrace to enjoy sunset cocktails with. Their suckling pig is only available for dinner, so if you arrive for lunch note that you won't get to try one of their 8 hour wood fired asado specialty, suckling pig.
We (me) obviously wanted to eat everything on the menu, and good on Shawn, he really tried. Of everything we ate, the only thing I wouldn't go for again are the Grilled Chorizo (with red pepper jam or chimichurri), but only because they're just chorizos, nothing out of the ordinary. As far as meats are concerned there are definitely more interesting options to go for. I don't know why we got chorizos, I think we were just craving it and somehow imagined it'd be anything other than what chorizos would be.
Though the menu boasts appetisers that are tapas sized, they're still very generous in portions and we found ourselves struggling after awhile despite ordering "just a little". In all honesty I was hoping they'd be tiny so I could go on to order a second round of food.
Fish tacos are my must try anywhere in the world I go if I see it on the menu. The background to this is that Shawn and I once found the PERFECT fish taco in Singapore. It had the most amazing fish, crisp and fresh without being greasy, there was no funky new age topping. Just good ol' mayo, lime, slaw and some jazzed up sauce we never quite figured out. It changed our world. Then when we came back to it later it turned out that the restaurant changed its recipe to accommodate people who complained that the most awesome fish taco on earth took too long to prepare. Some nerve! Long story short, Shawn and I now chase fish tacos around the world trying to fill that gap in our fish taco repertoire. Even though I cringed at the mango salsa, am happy to say that the fish taco at Barbacoa was delicious if not life changing.
I chowed down on the grilled corn because I'd never tried this famous street food before, and it was good. In hindsight I don't remember offering Shawn any but I'm sure he's fine. The jalapeno chilli croquestas were more of a comparison since we often have cheese-stuffed jalapenos as a bar snack. These at Barbacoa were fluffy, spicy, and snugly held together by the warmest breadcrumbs. Very delicious and I wouldn't have mind if the meal had stopped here so we could enjoy more of their starters, which were so far excellent and complementing our cocktails so well. We also tried the sashimi tuna ceviche (ginger, grilled pineapple, basil, coconut cream, corn tostadas, IDR100,000 / USD7.50), which was tasty but I didn't find particularly interesting. Bali is going through a ceviche renaissance of sorts and every restaurant had some form of tuna ceviche on its menu.
Mains & Sides
The chorizos wiped us out somewhat before we got to the star of our show, the lamb cutlets, served with a side of burnt carrots (parsley, lemon and maple vinaigrette, IDR65,000 / USD4.80). The salad offerings were pretty spectacular, being neither very salad-y nor boring, but we settled for an additional side of cabbage gratin. It felt very right, in that moment. The lamb cutlets were perfectly grilled, juicy, and had a lovely char right around the edges. It went perfectly with the chimichurri and burnt carrots.
We were seated outside and Shawn had asked me to take a photo of my cocktail against the rice terrace, insisting "you won't regret it", and I of course wanted to obviously prove him wrong and subsequently fail miserably, so I didn't. That is why I have no awesome shot of my very lovely CoCoHo cocktail (Malibu, silver tequila, lime juice, sugar, dulce de leche, coconut, IDR105,000 / USD7.90). It was delicious but the only shot I have is of the drink on the table which is utterly boring and I forgot what point I was trying to prove. Eat like me, but don't be stubborn like me.
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Jalan Petitenget No.15, Kuta Utara, Kerobokan Kelod, Kuta Utara, Kabupaten Badung, Bali 80361, Indonesia
Open daily 12pm - 12am