There’s nothing quite as comforting as home cooking, and Chef Wayan Kresna Yasa is serving exactly that at his new restaurant, HOME by Chef Wayan, in the up-and-coming neighbourhood of Pererenan in Bali.
Born and raised on the island of Nusa Penida just 30 minutes from Bali by ferry, you’ve probably heard of (or tasted) Chef Wayan’s creations for the Potato Head family, where he most recently worked as its Global Executive Chef and Culinary Director.
Having honed his skills prior to that at Michelin-starred restaurants in the US – including Blue Hill Stone Barns in New York – he’s now back in Bali with not just a new restaurant, but a new cookbook called Paon that features 80 traditional Balinese dishes and recipes, along with essays and photography that capture his unique and zero-waste philosophy of cooking.
For our latest edition of Eat Like A Chef, he takes us along his very own foodie tour with five of his favourite eateries in Bali:
Dapur Bali Mula in Les Village, North Bali
For real Balinese cuisine, visit Dapur Bali Mula in North Bali! Chef Jero Yudi welcomes guests into his home at this unique Balinese kitchen in Les Vllage, Buleleng, where everything is made fresh in-house with local ingredients, including the famous Balinese home brew rice alcohol, arak.
I first met Chef Yudi when we featured him in our Paon cookbook, and was quickly converted to his “less is more” mantra. These days, I order his homemade coconut palm nectar, juruh, on special delivery for my restaurant in Pererenan three hours away from North Bali just to use it in a few of my dipping sauces. It’s that good!
Warung Makan Pak Sedan in Pengosekan Village, Ubud
I discovered Warung Makan Pak Sedan in 2006 when I lived in Ubud, and it’s remarkable how nothing has changed there in 16 years. They serve the same delicious plate of Balinese nasi campur (mixed rice plate) with ayam betutu (smoked chicken), sate lilit (ground chicken satay), lawar (mixed steamed vegetables) and a little bit of sambal (chili relish).
The place is small, right next to the Pengosekan petrol station, and I swear it looks exactly the same as it did all those years ago (a rarity in ever-changing Bali). Maybe that’s why I like it so much – the food is simple, delicious and predictable, making it the ultimate Balinese comfort food.
Room4Dessert in Sanggingan, Ubud
Everyone should go on the adventure that is the tasting menu at Room4Dessert at least once when they come to Bali (or more if they can get a table! Hint: Book early)! This one-of-a-kind, boundary-pushing dessert bar is the creation of Chef Will Goldfarb, whom I met in 2014 when he asked me to help him open “R4D 2.0” in Bali (the original Room4Dessert was in NYC).
This place, and this team, will always have my heart. Everyone works hard here to put something exciting on the table and take diners on a journey. Guests rotate between different dining rooms, the edible garden, the terrace and the bonfire pit for an unforgettable evening.
SKOOL Kitchen in Canggu, Bali
SKOOL is a beautiful restaurant newly opened last year, right on the beach with unimpeded views of the incredible sunsets Canggu is famous for. The wood fire kitchen is headed by Chef Vallian Gunawan, who is definitely one to watch. I love the food here. I can taste the smokiness from the wood fire cooking and this brings up many happy childhood memories for me because my mom cooked everything over a wood fire at our home.
Chef Val and his team put so much care and attention into their menu, made with fresh ingredients, simple plating and delicious flavours. The cocktails are amazing, too, don’t forget to do some pairing!
MASON. in Canggu, Bali
It’s no secret that the food at Mason is good – just look at the crowds on their patio on any given night at this popular Batu Bolong Street hot spot. Chef Ben Cross is great at putting together a menu that has something delicious for everybody.
Personally, my wife and I love the slow cooked lamb shoulder, spiced cauliflower and smoked tuna dip with flatbread. We order those dishes as a base each visit and build from there! The space has a nice terrace, a chill ambience and friendly service. Remember to book in advance!
Headed to the Island of the Gods? Get your hands on the LUXE Bali guide: