Into the Unknown: A Gastronomic Experience with Locavore, Bali

Written by Katherine

August 17, 2022
Last Updated on February 29, 2024

We made our first trip to Ubud in 2019 and wanted to visit Locavore since it is one of the highly recommended restaurants in Bali. Many reviews mentioned that the restaurant is usually fully booked for months. But we still decided to try our luck to make a reservation. And what do you know, the restaurant was indeed fully booked for our preferred date. (´-ω-`)

With Bali’s reopening, Ubud is one of the places on our itinerary previously, so we decided to try our luck with Locavore again~! (´・ᴗ・ ` ) Probably due to the low number of tourists, the restaurant was still accepting reservations. So yay for that! Locavore became one of the highlights of our Bali trip since many highly recommended this restaurant. Needless to say, I was looking forward to the visit~! (๑˃ᴗ˂)ﻭ

BEFORE YOU GO

LATEST UPDATE (FEB 2024): Locavore at its original location has since closed since October 2023. But fret not, as the owners have gone above and beyond and created a new space called Locavore NXT at a different location in Ubud! You can dine here and even stay there for a night to experience the full experience! So, if you are interested, check out their website for more details. (ᵔ◡ᵔ)

Visiting the Ubud Main Street

Balinese Temple Festival

We were staying with COMO Uma Ubud, and the lovely hotel provides daily shuttle transport to Ubud Main Street. The staff informed us that there was a huge festival going on in the Ubud main street. So they advised us to get there earlier in case of heavy traffic in the area.

Photo of husband and I before we set out to explore Ubud before our meal at Locavore Bali

We tried to ask for more information about the festival. One of the hotel staff told us that the festival is not a yearly affair. Instead, it usually takes place every 10, 20 or 30 years, depending on the village. I tried to Google for more information, and it seems like it might be the Odalan, a Balinese Temple festival.

Specifically for this village, it seems like they celebrate every 20 years or something. Activities were going on in different parts of the street, and a lot of the locals were dressed in their beautiful traditional costumes. Penjor, which are decorative bamboo poles, were also seen everywhere along the main street. It was an interesting sight to see, though I would wish there was someone to explain everything to me. ( ´ ω ` )

A festival taking place at Ubud main street and the streets beautifully decorated with traditional decorations

Ubud Palace

Since we were early, we decided to visit the Ubud Palace. The Ubud Palace used to be home to Ubud’s royal family in the past. It has now since become a popular place of interest in Ubud. When we entered the Ubud Palace, decorations were also seen everywhere in the palace.

Interestingly, the Ubud Palace was not as big as I expected it to be. Also, it didn’t help that there wasn’t any signage around to tell you what you were looking at. Once again, I wished there was someone to explain everything to me. We need a guide. (*/ω\)

Things we spotted while visiting the Ubud Palace before visiting Locavore Bali for our lunch

Anyway, we didn’t understand what we were looking at, so we were just following the crowd and took some photos. For those interested, there would usually be traditional performances at the Ubud Palace in the evening. So, if you’re in the area, it is good to drop by to experience it~! (´• ω •`) Enough said it’s time to bring you to Locavore! ☆ミ(o*・ω・)ノ

Locavore, A Creative Dining Experience in Bali

Locavore is about a 7-minute walk from Ubud Palace. The walk felt longer than expected with the crowd as well as stalls along the pavement. After the demolition of the Ubud Central Market, a lot of shop owners have resorted to setting up stalls on the pavement. This, to me, makes the street a bit messy and hard to walk. We had to watch for the incoming traffic while trying to weave past the crowd and stalls. I wish there were a better way to manage this whole situation. (´-ω-`)

The exterior of Locavore Bali

Cost of Dining at Locavore, Not Bali-kind of Price

Anyway, once we reached Locavore, we were then led to our table. There is only one menu at the restaurant, and it costs Rp. 1,250,000++ per pax. The vegetarian option is available on request but from Google reviews, someone said it costs the same price as the original menu. So I am not sure if that is worth it but dining at Locavore is probably the most expensive meal we had in Bali. (O.O)

There is an option to add on drink pairing, of which the restaurant would pair each dish with creative drinks. We didn’t opt for the drinks pairing since we don’t really drink. And since the menu is already so expensive, we didn’t want to spend another Rp. 550,000++ on drinks. We did, however, order some other drinks to go with our meal, not that it was worthy of any mention. Haha! (´・ᴗ・ ` )

My drink and the table setup at Locavore Bali

The Beginning of the Journey into the Unknown at Locavore Bali

Locavore usually updates its themed menu every four months. The menu this time is known as The Unknown: An Edible Mystery Explored. The dishes are all created with ingredients that are usually not used in mainstream restaurants, hence the unknown since people usually don’t eat them.

Dishes were served in four segments: Exploration One, Two, Three and Four. And staff would usually explain to us about the dish when it’s served. Sometimes, the chef-in-charge would be the one doing the explanation, but most times, it would be one of the service staff.

Exploration One

This segment consists of a total of 9 dishes, and they were all served together except for the soup. The presentation of the dishes is similar to how fine dining restaurants do it but in a more casual setting. There was some confusion about which part of the seed bun dish was edible. (*/ω\) The staff didn’t explain exactly which is the one to eat so luckily we ate the right thing. HAHA! (・・;)ゞ

Some of the dishes we had for Exploration One at Locavore Bali
Spice rub cured fish & rhizomes leave salad | Cassava coriander seed bun | Grilled cucumber

The smoked fish bone “butter” was a hit with a lot of diners. But my favourite was the rhizome leaves salad with coconut dressing. The butter was a tad bit salty for hubs and me, while the taste of the salad, for me, was just so yummy. (b ᵔ▽ᵔ)b

More dishes we had during Exploration One of our dining experience
Smoked fish bone “butter” | Prawn head sago cracker & Wild pickles salsa

Exploration Two

One of the best dishes, in both hubs and my opinion, is from Exploration Two. Nothing comes close to its taste and uniqueness, and it was the slow-roasted watermelon!

The chef-in-charge came to our table to prepare and serve the dish. He would explain the dish and remove the meat from the watermelon. When I said meat, the slow-roasted watermelon tasted like meat to us! w(°o°)w It was flavourful and brought along with it an element of surprise in its taste. If they didn’t serve it in front of us, we probably would have thought it was meat.

Dishes we had for Exploration Two at Locavore Bali
Lobster in citrus cashew butter sauce | Slowly roasted watermelon | Goat tartar in genjer leaf

The lobster and goat tartar were both good but pale in comparison to the watermelon. Special mention to the goat tartar as it doesn’t have any weird taste. It was marinated well and tasted good with the genjer leaf. Note: the tartar is inside the leaf, not the two blobs on top. (´・ᴗ・ ` )

Exploration Three

Dishes in Exploration Three came with an unexpected favourite. As someone who has NO LOVE for veggies, the charred cabbage with wood ear mushrooms was one of my favourite dishes in this segment! When paired with the broth, the umami was off the charts. I think I need their recipe for this. (๑˃ᴗ˂)ﻭ

Another unique dish was the Koji fried chicken wing, which is hubs’ favourite as well. No cutlery was given for this dish, and I was wondering why. And out comes the fried chicken wing that we would have to eat with our fingers~ ٩(◕‿◕。)۶ This is not your usual chicken wing. They removed the bones and had herbed prawn stuffing inside. It was a fun dish to enjoy. ( ´ ▽ ` )

Dishes we had for Exploration Three at Locavore Bali
Charred cabbage w/ wood ear mushrooms in broth | Koji fried chicken wing

Honey-spiced duck breast was the last dish. We were given a “lethal weapon” to cut into the duck. I was expecting a big piece of duck, but well, it wasn’t big and probably didn’t need such a big knife. |・ω・) The flavour was good, and the accompanying carrot was SUPERB. I really need their recipe for my veggies diet, please. (´・ᴗ・ ` ) There was a fourth dish in this segment, but it tasted too normal to mention.

More dishes we had during Exploration Three of our dining experience
Honey spiced duck breast w/ slow-roast carrot | Heritage Balinese rice w/ kulim, egg yolk & pickled jicama

Exploration Four

The final exploration is when desserts are being served~! To be honest, their dessert is nothing to shout about as compared to their main dishes. I do find it interesting to have the dragon fruit leather, which tasted sour. But both dishes were normal in this final segment.

A palate cleanser was served after we were done with our desserts. It was not a small portion, and it was REALLY SOUR. Our bellies were already ready to burst by then. Haha! (*/ω\)

Dishes we had for the final exploration at Locavore Bali
Black banana ganache tart | Black rice brem dragon fruit sorbet w/ white rice brem ice cream | Palate cleanser

Things Worth Mentioning about Locavore Bali

Take a Break, Have a Breather

Midway through the meal, the staff asked if we needed to take a break before continuing. It seems like since they were serving SO MUCH food in one meal, some diners might want to take a breather before continuing. Hubs and I were okay to continue so we didn’t stop. I feel like once we stopped, it would be hard to continue, though. Haha!

A good thing to note is that the restaurant only has ONE restroom. Usually, the staff would inform the diner when the cubicle is in use and would let them know when it’s available. With a full house, I was keeping watch of the restroom activity so hubs and I could take turns going in when it was available. (´・ᴗ・ ` )

Food Explanation at Locavore Bali Felt Emotionless

As mentioned, usually a staff or the chef-in-charge would explain the dish when it is being served. I know they usually just memorise and read off a script, but sometimes it felt emotionless. It was as if like they just wanted to get it over and done with, to get back to their work.

I mean I know the restaurant is busy but this segment always felt a bit off with me when some of them speak in a very monotonous manner. Maybe the restaurant could make this better. ヽ(´ー` )┌

I Only Want the Main Menu…

One of the staff mentioned that a lot of people said the drinks pairing helped to elevate the experience. He kind of said something like, “Why would you come to Locavore and not have the drinks pairing?” with a look of disapproval. Let’s just say this kind of rubbed me the wrong way.

I mean, we already paid A LOT for the main menu, and I don’t think there is anything wrong with not going with the drinks pairing. For those who know how to appreciate drinking, I would say go for it if you want to have the full experience. We came to Locavore for the food, and if you are gonna tell me drinks are highly recommended for the experience, then please include that in the full menu in future. Or maybe this staff need to learn how to communicate better. ( ` ω ´ )

Overall Experience – Worth It or Nah?

The price of dining at Locavore is expensive by Bali standards. I think that is one thing that everyone can agree on. So the next thing you’re gonna ask me is whether it is worth it to dine at Locavore for your next trip to Bali.

Personally, I think that it is a good one-time experience. We were able to try dishes that we didn’t know about, and they turned out to be so delicious. The photos might look like the food is not a lot, but, at least to us, it was a super filling meal. As I mentioned, our bellies were bursting towards the end of the meal. I would say if you can afford it, do give it a try. But be prepared for some hits and misses in the dishes, and I hope it will be more hits than misses for you. Do remember to make a reservation if you are visiting Locavore in case they get booked out.

However, if you are in Bali to enjoy a good time with some local cuisine, then you can obviously give Locavore a miss. For the price, you could probably eat a lot of warung food for a week. Haha! (´・ᴗ・ ` )

Anyway, remember when I said we didn’t get to dine at Locavore on our last visit to Bali? We visited another highly recommended restaurant called The Sayan House, and I would highly recommend them. (´• ω •`) ♡

Information about Locavore Bali

LOCAVORE

⏰ Opening Hours: 12.30 PM – 3.00 PM (Tues – Sat), 6.00 PM – 10.00 PM (Mon-Sat), Closed on Sundays
☎️ Phone Number: +62 821 4495 6226
📧 Email: reservations@restaurantlocavore.com | Reservation

You can find out more about Restaurant Locavore here:
Website | Facebook | Instagram

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💰 BEST Cards to Use for Your Overseas Spending

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