We love a good view — and that’s the first thing we noticed when we arrived at the joint grand opening of Mr. Wayan, By the Sea and Expat Roasters brew bar at the top floor of the Beachwalk Shopping Mall in Kuta a couple of weeks ago.
With Kuta Beach in sight, the space felt like a cool mix of some of Bali’s best – local cuisine, (a somewhat) panoramic view of the ocean, and coffee to go with that. We’ve heard of both Mr. Wayan and Expat Roasters before, but truth be told, we didn’t really know what to expect.
Established in 2016, Mr. Wayan has notably become one of the most recommended places for Balinese cuisine in the highlands of Ubud. Here, local dishes are introduced with a “high-end” presentation using contemporary culinary techniques, in an attempt to elevate traditional cuisine within Bali’s growing international dining scene.
It quickly became popular not only among foreign tourists, but also domestic tourists, especially among Indonesian celebrities who popularized the restaurant by sharing images from their visits on social media.
Mr. Wayan’s new location in Kuta seeks to make its rendition of traditional Balinese cuisine more accessible to tourists visiting the island, after a successful and ongoing run in its first location. The restaurant is bringing some of its signature dishes to the south coast of the island, including Nasi Goreng Bongkot and Lawar Kenus.
During the grand opening, Coconuts Bali got to taste these two dishes — and, we left pretty impressed.
The Nasi Goreng Bongkot (IDR 90,000/USD 6.38), which they described as an aromatic ginger torch flower fried rice, looks pretty simple on sight but is flavorful from the very first bite. It might not be your typical Indonesian fried rice, but it’s got a handful of spices and is cooked just right to entice you for another portion.
Meanwhile, the Lawar Kenus (IDR 50,000/USD 3.54), a dish of chopped baby squid, snake bean and grated coconut, was creamy to the taste, with a zest to it from the spices. It’s quite clear from our first tasting that Mr. Wayan, By the Sea, will indeed offer that unique taste of Balinese cuisine, and perhaps reach even more people with the crowds that Beachwalk draw.
As for the coffee — after opening its first Brew Bar in Seminyak, Expat Roasters is bringing its coffee to the Kuta area with this location just next door from Mr. Wayan, By the Sea. Both establishments offer an outdoor seating area, which is perfect for when the weather is nice (and thankfully, it mostly is these days), with that extra touch of gorgeous Balinese sunset on the periphery for the early evening.
At the helm of Expat Roasters is Shae Macnamara, who decided to open the Kuta location to fill in the market gap in the area. The constant influx of domestic and international tourists in the area allow Expat to offer what he labels as the “specialty coffee experience” to the masses.
And that’s exactly what Expat Roasters is known for: specialty coffee. Macnamara, who is from Australia, is both the founder and head barista at Expat Roasters. His accolades include winning the ASCA 2016 Australian Coffee in Good Spirits. He tells us that his mission is to bring a culture of good brews across the island, while working closely with local Balinese farmers and producers in sourcing good coffee beans.
At Beachwalk, Expat Roasters continues to offer its signature coffee and espressos, as well as its preferred alternative brew method, the V60, also known as a pour-over. They’re bringing with them their signature house blend, known as Nomad, which is a combination of three Indonesian coffees – an Aceh Gayo from Sumatra and two local Balinese beans from the Kintamani region. Beverage and pastry prices range between IDR 35,000 to IDR 45,000 (US$2.48 to US$3.19), while their selection of toasties are priced around IDR 70,000 (US$4.96).
Mr. Wayan, By the Sea is at Beachwalk Shopping Center, Level 3
Open: 11am-10pm, daily
Phone: (0361) 973178
FIND IT (part deux):
Expat Roasters is at Beachwalk Shopping Center, Level 3
Open Sun-Thurs 10:30am-10:30pm, Fri & Sat 10am-midnight
Phone: (0361) 738454