Bali: Warung Pulau Kelapa, Ubud

The Front Yard and Signage of Warung Pulau Kelapa

The Front Yard and Signage of Warung Pulau Kelapa

After dropping all my luggages at 100 Sunset Boutique Hotel and filling up our belly at Warung Lawar Kartika with Lawar (Balinese meat salad), Sate Lilit Sapi (Bali Beef Sate) and Sop Sapi (Beef Soup), my ride took me to Ubud. Ubud is a very nice place to relax in Bali. It’s not so crowded as Kuta is and still has the ambience of Balinese villages with paddy fields surround it.

Warung Pulau Kelapa 2

The front yard of Warung Pulau Kelapa looks Balinese but when I entered the front part, I saw some interesting centrepiece that reminds me of Javanese arts with some fresh coconuts that were taken from Warung Pulau Kelapa’s garden. I guess it makes the guests feel that they are in Pulau Kelapa. Before I told the story more, I should’ve tell you earlier what Warung, Pulau and Kelapa are. Warung is an Indonesian name for small eatery place while pulau means island and kelapa is coconut.

Bagian Depan

Coconut

The warung looks so homey with abundant plants surround it with Balinese and Javanese mix on decoration as you can see the above pictures.  I have heard this place ever since I’m in Canada from om* William Wongso, one of the most prominent figures in Indonesian culinary industry.  Om William knew I was going back to Indonesia in May then he asked my itinerary. When I told him once of places I would love to visit again was Bali, he was so excited that I should visit Warung Pulau Kelapa in Ubud.

Om William assured me that I would fall in love with the garden at Warung Pulau Kelapa and hearing many stories from the chef of the warung, Chef Lambon.

As a foodie, I can’t refuse the offer to have a bite at Warung Pulau Kelapa. This place was recommended by om William Wongso when he knew I would be in Bali for 2 days, he told bli Yudi to take me there. Om William also told me you should learn from chef Lambon who has very creative dish that still has a root to his Balinese heritage.

We greeted by one of the waitresses and Bli Yudi was asking directly where Chef Lambon was. Then she gave us the menu. I gave bli Yudi the freedom to choose what we were going to munch. When we still browsed around the menu, Chef Lambon came and he suggested some of the dishes. Orders had been requested and I was looking forward to taste them.

Bli Yudi & Chef Lambon

Bli Yudi & Chef Lambon

The foods were coming. Let see what we were going to have here.

Asinan Kecombrang Rujak

I fell in love with Asinan Kecombrang (Torch Ginger Salad) immediately once I tasted it. Very unique flavour! Sweet, sour and a hint of chilies just like asinan. The splash of kecombrang (torch ginger) taste makes this dish is so sexy on the tongue. For my liking, the asinan needs to have more chilies, but I understand my spicy rate is a bit higher. So for people who have low to medium rate of heat, this asinan will be superb. Overall, Asinan Kecombrang is worth to have and perfectly balance. Rujak Buah (Fruit Rujak) tasted more similar to Eastern Javanese Rujak with the hint of petis (dark shrimp paste). Very refreshing as well.

Iga Penyet Banana dessert

Since we had rice with beef lawar and beef soup at Warung Lawar Kartika, we decided to skip the rice to company Iga Penyet (Beef Ribs Sambal). The Iga Penyet was good too. But we could not refuse the offer of the banana dessert which I forgot the name. This banana dessert reminded me a combination Pisang Epe (Makassar Grilled Banana) and Pisang Ijo (Makassar Green Banana which is used sweet coconut milk custard for the sauce) since the banana was grilled and bathed in sweet coconut milk custard. Just like most Asian desserts, our sweetness is not really sweet compare to North American desserts.

After tasting the foods, Chef Lambon brought us for touring Warung Pulau Kelapa’s garden. Tour to the garden was one of my joy too. I was like a kid on the playground. Yeah I just missed the greenness of tropical garden.

The Backyard, On the Way to Garden

The Backyard, On the Way to Garden

Manilkara zapota (Sawo, Sapodilla, Chiku) Plant in the backyard

Manilkara zapota (Sawo, Sapodilla, Chiku) Plant in the backyard

There are stairs to go down, to take us to the garden.

Follow me to take this path to the garden

Follow me to take this path to the garden

On the way to the backyard garden, I saw two Warung Pulau Kelapa crews and they just harvested some veggies to be brought to the kitchen. So you can assure the vegetables are fresh from the garden.

Fresh vegetables were just picked up from the garden

Fresh vegetables were just picked up from the garden

After you take the stairs down, you will see a creek and bridge to be crossed. Cross that bridge and some stairs up will see herb and vegetable garden of this Warung.

The Bridge

The Bridge

Chef Lambon and the Garden

Chef Lambon and the Garden

Behind the Garden, there is a beautiful view of rice paddy field.

Rice Paddy Field

Rice Paddy Field

We will see many plants of vegetables and herbs to support the Warung.

Amaranth Greens (or Indonesians call it "Sayur Bayam")

Amaranth Greens (or Indonesians call it “Sayur Bayam”)

Cassava Leaves

Cassava

In Indonesia, both cassava leaves and roots are consumed. I honestly have a hard time to find whole cassava leaves in Canada. The only form of cassava leaves that I can get is frozen ground cassava leaves.

I used to have white bunga turi for Eastern Javanese Pecel but I never saw the purple ones until I came to this warung.

Beside Sesbania grandiflora to complete pecel, there is daun kenikir (Cosmos caudatus) that is grown at that garden as well

Cosmos caudatus (Daun Kenikir in Indonesian or Ulam Raja in Malaysian)

Cosmos caudatus (Daun Kenikir in Indonesian or Ulam Raja in Malaysian)

Cassumunar Ginger (Zingiber cassumunar Roxb)
Cassumunar Ginger (Zingiber cassumunar Roxb)
Kencur Leaves (Kaempferia Galangal, Sand Ginger)
Kencur Leaves (Kaempferia Galangal, Sand Ginger)
Turmeric Leaves

Turmeric Leaves

Through email om William told me that I have to taste Chef Lambon’s Stir Fry of 4 rhizome leaves or greens. Unfortunately I only remember 3 of them which are Cassumunar ginger, Turmeric and Kencur Leaves. So after we walking around the garden, chef Lambon picked up some of those leaves. While we were waiting for him cooking the stir fry, coconut water was being served for us. With cane sugar syrup and lime on the side, the coconut water tastes so good especially after walking around in a hot day.

Coconut Water with cane sugar and lime on the side

Coconut Water with cane sugar and lime on the side

These rhizome leaves definitely have health benefits since I know most of those rhizomes are used for jamu (Indonesian herbal medicines) beside using them in cooking. In Indonesia, the leaves of kencur (kaempferia galangal) and turmeric are used to enhance some dishes but I never knew that Cassumunar ginger leaves can be applied for cooking before until I tasted this dish. This stir fry rhizome leaves is so simple yet flavourful not too mention the health benefits of them.

Stir Fry Mixed Rhizome Leaves

Stir Fry Mixed Rhizome Leaves

Fresh and no MSG should be the motto of this Warung. If you are interested to go here, check the address below on your google map.

Warung Pulau Kelapa
Jl. Raya Sanggingan – Lungsiakan
Ubud, Bali
Indonesia

Note: *om is an Indonesian call for uncle, a respectful way to a man who is older than us.

About the Author

An Indonesian born who lives in Winnipeg, Canada for more than a decade and decided to move a bit west. Edmonton is now where she is based on. Indonesia Eats is a memoir of her homeland.