Bali is many things to many people. For us, it’s the slow pace of life that makes this slice of the Indonesian archipelago such a welcome contrast to busy metropolises around the world. Bali’s popular pseudonym ‘Island of Gods’ is perfectly suitable; exotic temples are scattered amongst idyllic paddy fields, volcanic mountains and overlooking the ocean.
The food scene is also heavenly. The cuisine on offer is as diverse and dynamic as Bali’s sea to mountain landscape. Visitors enjoy endless choices of cuisine in local or international restaurants with them vying for attention in an increasingly competitive market.
In bohemian Canggu, you can experience some of the best places to eat in Bali. Canggu is a resort village close to Echo Beach in Bali’s south coast. Emerald rice paddies provide a backdrop for trendy cafes and restaurants, and the beaches are some of the island’s most popular surfing destinations for beginners and pros alike.
Canggu is more zen than neighboring Seminyak and less frisky than Kuta; it maintains an earthy vibe and is home to fashion brands, beach clubs, and surfer bars. The little enclave is an excellent destination choice if you want to enjoy food, art, chill-out tunes and boutique bottled drinks. For me The Slow captures what Canggu is all about.
The Slow is an island stay featuring accommodation, all-day dining, a plethora of unique drinks, and an art gallery. Husband and I recently experienced a fortunate stroke of serendipity in Canggu, child free, on a rainy Sunday, with a crew of great mates who were also at a loose end given the weather.
The restaurant is a sophisticated jungle of fittings, furniture and ferns. A polished concrete floor blends into the walls of transparent thatched native wood beside floor to ceiling windows.
We nestled into comfy dining chairs, ready to enjoy a long lunch made even more enjoyable by a robust cocktail menu and broad wine list. On the day we visited, the mellow pop and instrumental music was almost drowned out by the loud tropical downpour. But the indoor – outdoor flow of the restaurant made the experience more exotic.
Head Chef Robbin Holmgren, is a family man with a relaxed friendly disposition. After working his magic in the kitchen, he was happy to greet us during our main course and share stories about his Swedish upbringing and family holidays camping in the snow and cooking on campfires.
Our lunch party agreed that Robbin’s ‘open fire smoking technique’ style is uniquely delicious and we all enjoyed the fire braised component to most of his dishes. Some great examples are the Burnt Baby Leeks, Burrata, Tuna Crudo and Grilled Squid.
Robbin was once the Head Chef at Jamie Oliver’s 15 in London and he talked to us about this career defining experience, explaining the times he experimented and perfected his “contemporary European” dishes. When sourcing produce, Robin values seasonality and sustainability.
At the Slow, the food is healthy for you and the planet. Portion sizes are a sensible balance of flavor and volume crafted to satisfy guests whilst discouraging waste.
The Braised Short Rib, Mushroom Caramel, Parsley salsa, Onion Rings is perfect when shared between two. The Tuna Crudo, Spicy tomato, Celery, E-05 Dressing,Yoghurt (image) is a surprising dish that pleasantly incorporates one of The Slow’s healthy mythology inspired Tonics (E-05).
The food on your plate at The Slow tells the story of Robbin’s culinary journey from Sweden to the heart of Canggu.
The Slow itself tells the story of a haven wrapped inside another haven.
And what story does Canggu tell on that lazy Sunday, our tummies filled with nourishment, our faces smiling and laughing?
No word is needed; it’s all a symphony of content, satisfied sighs.