COCONUTS HOT SPOT — A new restaurant/cafe/boutique combo has opened up in Bukit on Jl. Uluwatu right before Pecatu Indah Resort, and you can’t miss it if you’re making a trip to Uluwatu. Literally. A giant black sign with the restaurant’s name in white lettering, all-caps, is visible from a stretch away of the double-story building on the otherwise pretty low-key street.
El Merkat, which features predominantly Mediterranean-style cuisine (think options featuring cheeses, meats, and wine), comes from the same people who brought us the breathtaking but bougie El Kabron. You know, that always-Instragrammed, iconic (and expensive) Spanish cliff-top bar with the gorgeous white-washed infinity pool, overlooking the Indian Ocean between Bingin and Dreamland.
So it makes sense with the success of El Kabron, the group would come up with a new venture that opened its doors late last year, though you should know that El Merkat’s got a much more casual cafe vibe about it, appropriate for its roadside location on the main track down to Uluwatu.
The restaurant’s got an impressively comprehensive menu which weighs towards breakfast; two out of three columns on their main menu are essentially breakfast/brunch category headings like healthy bowls, tartine, eggs—which is split into the usual breakfast eggs (aka eggs benny) and the unusual all day eggs. The Wasabi katsuobushi Florentine (Rp 85k) has caught our attention in the latter category: smoked tuna, creamy spinach and seaweed, wasabi, and katsuboshi flakes. While the next item on our ‘to-try’ list has to include their Cuban (Rp 65k) or jalapeño roast chicken (Rp 65k). If lunch is what you crave, don’t skip over the ‘rolls’ section, with a variety of grilled wraps like green vegan hummus (Rp 55k) and Mediterranean pumpkin (Rp 65k).
On the dinner column, there’s a whole tartare section with beef (Rp 68k), tuna (Rp 65k), and salmon (Rp 75k) options. While we loved the fresh bites of wasabi, watermelon, and tomato in our tuna tartare, be advised that this is more of Mediterranean-styled plate so you’re not going to get a generous slab of meat, but more of a salad mixture that’s akin to a poke bowl.
For dinner, there are also salads, carpaccio, and roasted meats, but we recommend checking out their specials they’ve got going right now. You can get pasta + birra (pasta and beer), their daily pasta with a Bintang for just Rp 75k. When we went, they had a choice of penne or spaghetti with pesto, carbonara, or bolognese. There are also other packets: sangria and bokata (Rp 105k), Plaga and bokata (Rp 99k), and a bucket of five Bintangs for Rp 99k (buy 4, get 1). Thursdays also feature homemade paella (Rp 240k, up to 2 people). Then clear your pallet afterwards with a scoop of gelato (Rp 35k).
El Merkat’s got a boutique upstairs and as its name suggests, a full-on market is on the way, set to open up in that empty front attached to the restaurant.
While it’s definitely a step up on the price scale from most of the neighboring food and beverage options on this stretch of Jl. Uluwatu, it does offer a nice place to socialize over sangria or chill with a cup of coffee when the time calls for it and for those “day-commuters” headed to Bukit just for a surf, it makes a great pre-break brekkie or apres surf stop.
Coconuts Hot Spots are notable new restaurants or undiscovered gems around Bali that we think are worth a visit.
Jl. Raya Uluwatu Km. 9, Uluwatu 80361
Wednesday-Monday 8:30am-11pm (closed Tuesday)