COCONUTS HOT SPOT — It’s a bold move, opening up a neighborhood butcher shop in Ubud.
Ubud’s food scene is like *so hot* right now — but it’s dominated by vegan and raw food trends, catering to the new wave hippies and yogis that make the pilgrimage to the Balinese jungle town in search of spiritual enlightenment, a la Eat Pray Love.
It’s the last place in Bali where you’d think people would come in looking for racks of ribs, charcuterie, and smoked sausages.
But if anyone’s committed to cutting up meat and cooking it in style, it’s Eelke and Ray, the duo behind Locavore, the ingredient-driven dining hot spot that’s continually graced Asia’s top restaurants list and notably has a two-month waiting list — a rarity for Ubud.
In June 2018, the pair launched Local Parts, a butchery which is the latest jewel in the cap that also includes their Indonesian cuisine restaurant Nusantara, cocktail bar Night Rooster, and Locavore to Go, a more humble, casual iteration of their OG spot Locavore.
The latter is actually adjoined with the butchery (they share a wall and you can pass between the two inside) and is the site of weekly Saturday night Butcher’s Table dinners, where a cart containing a feast of selected cuts is wheeled out. In a juicy, tantalizing display, you watch the meats get carved up right in front of you before they’re placed on your table.
The meal is RSVP-only, a roast-to-order concept consisting of appetizers, mains, and dessert, all for IDR350k++ (US$24++). The event offers a fresh menu each weekend based on what’s available, and since the space is small, you’d be wise to book at least a day in advance (but sometimes you can get away with booking the morning of).
Local Parts sources all their meat from Bali (except the goat and lamb, which come from Java), and it has to be cruelty-free. The staff also follows a nose-to-tail, whole animal butchery philosophy. Testimony to the “whole animal” fact: We ate beef heart for the first time when we visited last weekend.
When asked how they can ensure their meats really come “cruelty-free,” Eelke told Coconuts Bali that they’ve cultivated relationships with their sources, and been to each farm multiple times. They know their suppliers well, he says.
While the concept is divine for the carnivorous, indicative of the reality that Local Parts is a risky business venture in the neighborhood and a departure from the appetite of most Ubudians was that Coconuts was the only media that showed up to a tasting at the Butcher’s Table last Saturday night. Too many vegan foodies in this hood to come out for a meat fest, perhaps?
“It really is a passion project,” Eelke told us at the tasting.
“We realize this is not the main demographic in Ubud, but we think there’s a market for it.”
“It’s been a dream to open a butchery like this,” he said, with a twinkle in his eye, telling us that he and Ray have been experimenting for years on getting their charcuterie just right.
Our “Butcher’s Table” meal started off with two “small” plates which were actually quite sizable: bone marrow to be scooped and spread on sourdough toast, and a beef heart herbed salad with confit sauce gribiche (a French dressing that’s like mayo, but the eggs are cooked).
The bone marrow was butter — but better. Even creamier, with a savory twist. Kasida, the boss over at the Locavore to Go kitchen, told us that all it took was sticking the bone marrow in an oven with some herbs. So simple, yet so wildly rich in flavor.
Accepting the beef heart salad with a brave face, we are now humbled before it — and can say that it was one of the highlights of the evening. Crispy apples and greens contrasting with the smooth creamy egg in the dressing. Nom.
For the mains, beef shank with a braising sauce and “Balinese heritage pig” porchetta with a creamy apple purée were rolled over to our table.
While the shank was tender and flavorful, it was the pork roast that stole the show. The fatty meat, stuffed with sage, oregano, sultanas, cashews and sausage meat, combined with the crackling skin and creamy sauce was a cloud nine moment. A harmonious blend of textures: crispy yet moist (yes, we said it!).
A shared salad was served on the side, but our hearts and minds were busy elsewhere. Sorry, side salad. Tonight, you remain on the side.
Dessert came in the form of chocolate-filled donuts with a scoop of cinnamon ice cream and mango sorbet, and was, sad to say, the trough of this very peak-filled meal. The mango seemed like it needed to be served separately as a palate cleanser, and just didn’t jive with the cinnamon and chocolate combo.
If you can’t make it to the butchery or a Butcher’s Table night, you can still get in on all the meats by ordering through Local Parts’ online shop. They’ve got quite the (free) range of chicken, duck, beef, pork, fresh sausage, pâtés, lamb, charcuterie, salami, sourdough bread, and pickles, preserves, and chutneys on the menu. Home cooks, you can even buy duck fat and bone broth.
Deliveries in Ubud are free, but outside of town Local Parts charges the equivalent as a Gojek fee for the distance to cover their cost of transport. But, our tip is to online shop and pool together with your friends because orders over IDR1 million (US$69) are free.
Or, catch their VW food truck, which is currently doing a “Butcher’s Summer” tour around Bali. Here are the stops and schedule:
August 12: Samadi x StarterLab Sunday Market in Canggu
August 14: Outpost Canggu
August 25: ‘Backstage’ Workshop with Slow Food – Localab in Ubud
August 29: Anthony Bourdain remembrance in Sanur
10 3/4 Jl. Dewi Sita, Ubud
Coconuts Hot Spots are notable new restaurants or undiscovered gems around Bali that we think are worth a visit.