COCONUTS HOT SPOT — On the way to Balangan Beach last weekend, we stumbled across a sort of hidden paradise along the windy road that leads you to the pantai.
We’ve passed the tall brick archway numerous times whilst headed to the beach but never knew the extent of the colorful garden oasis that lies on the other side of the entryway.
It turns out the place is a bungalow village, called the Alchemist that’s complete with a sizable outdoor garden restaurant and bar.
Of course because it’s Bali, the restaurant has a range of vegan and vegetarian options on offer. If you’re looking for something healthy, you can choose from tofu ceviche, vegan caprese (also made with tofu to replace the cheese), vegan moussaka, or a sweet potato burger, among other options.
But fret not, fellow meat-lovers, the restaurant’s also got a range of burgers and sandwiches/wraps and assorted Indonesian dishes. Prices seemed pretty reasonable for Western food in the area, ranging from Rp 35-60k for most plates.
There’s also a breakfast menu, but the choices aren’t that dazzling and consist mainly of egg, toast, and fruit plate combos that are what you’d usually expect at any homestay in Bali.
So that’s why we leaned towards the lunch and dinner menus.
Because the regular (mozzarella-containing) caprese was “sold out,” we settled for a plate of bruschetta to start, followed by a falafel wrap and pasta carbonara.
Pleasantly surprising us, the bruschetta turned out to be large portion-wise and included crostini with a selection of roasted veggies, melted cheese, along with one fresh-tomato and basil toast.
The falafel wrap was nice and fresh, coming in a multi-grain tortilla with a small salad on the side, but it was the pasta carbonara that stole the show. Let’s be real: in Bali, ordering carbonara is typically a major gamble. You’re likely either going to wind up with something super watery or so dry that not even dumping olive oil on the plate would salvage it.
Well we’re happy to report that the carbonara at the Alchemist didn’t fit into either of those boxes and was actually quite creamy—not watery, amin. A runny egg served on the side sealed the deal, providing affirmation that this plate of pasta was legit.
The place wasn’t terribly crowded for a Sunday afternoon in the high season, but there were people trickling in and out as we got there. You certainly won’t need reservations for this laid-back resto, but just realize the island time vibe is strong and it’s possible the resto is under-staffed so you can expect friendly service, but not OTT service waiting on you hand-and-foot.
In the end, it’s really the chilled out, lush garden atmosphere that makes the place. Everywhere you look, there’s green and small pops of color in the form of retro decor. If you have extra time on your hands, the bungalows in the back certainly look worth checking out—especially the one that looks like an upscale treehouse!
Coconuts Hot Spots are notable new restaurants or undiscovered gems around Bali that we think are worth a visit.
Jl. Pantai Balangan (headed towards the beach, on your right side after Orange Mart)