Officials are investigating a restaurant built inside a cave in South Kuta after a TikTok video reviewing it went viral over the weekend.
The Cave is part of The Edge Hotel, which is located on Pura Goa Lempeh Street in Pecatu Village. A reviewer named Selphie Bong posted a clip about the dining place earlier this month on her TikTok, explaining that the cave has existed for millions of years, after taking around 300 years to erode a centimeter’s worth of rock.
“If you want to come [to The Cave], I suggest you come earlier in the morning. So you can explore the place, take a tour inside the cave and take pictures,” she said.
The video went viral last weekend after social media accounts reuploaded it last week. While some praised the concept as “edgy,” many Indonesian netizens expressed their disapproval of the restaurant over environmental damages. They also questioned whether the dining place actually meets safety standards for the guests.
Some pointed out that the cave’s stalactites and stalagmites might collapse with human interference, and the restaurant itself may be at risk of the geological formation caving in.
Selphie responded to some of the comments on her TikTok, saying that based on the information she received, the hotel found the cave while digging the site to establish the restaurant.
“I hope they can maintain the sustainability of the stalactites. My heart also hurts,” she said, noting that the stalactites are fragile.
On the other hand, Selphie commented that while the restaurant’s food temperature could be improved, she thought IDR1.5 million (US$100) per pax for a seven-course meal was good value for money.
Responding to the public reaction, South Kuta District Chief Ketut Gede Arta said that he just found out about the cave restaurant and has sent Satpol PP (Public Order Agency) officers to inspect the location.
Gede confirmed that the hotel unwittingly found the cave during construction and modified it into a restaurant. The Edge also reassured authorities that they regulate the dining place’s operational hours and limit guests to 20 per day.
The official, however, said he could not ensure whether the hotel had obtained a permit to build the restaurant in a cave in the first place. He said that his office has sent an official letter to Badung’s city’s Capital Investment and One Stop Service (DPMPTSP) about their finding.
Separately, Badung Regent I Nyoman Giri Prasta said that he will inspect the restaurant himself. He added, however, that as long as the cave was not used for religious ceremonies, then building a restaurant inside should be fine.
Pecatu Village Head I Made Semartu said separately that since beginning his duty in 2016, he had not heard about the restaurant until last weekend.