When we’re in Ubud two months ago, we decided to try Nusantara by Locavore, a relatively new restaurant from the people behind Locavore Restaurant (read the review HERE). We tried to have dinner there on the first night we arrived in Ubud, but we were unable to find a parking spot along Dewi Sri street and a valet service didn’t seem to be available as well. So the next day, we parked at a dedicated parking lot on Suweta street. After walking around Ubud Art Market, we decided to walk to Nusantara again for lunch.
Nusantara serves a range of dishes from all over Indonesia, hence the name nusantara which literally means archipelago. So there are dishes from Sumatra, Java, Kalimantan, Sulawesi and, of course, Bali. After studying the menu, we ordered Cincang Karo (from Brastagi, North Sumatra), Kuluban (from Purwokerto, Central Java), Sambal Ganja (Pulau Weh, Aceh) and Nasi Liwet (Solo, Central Java).
For the thirst quenchers after a long walk in a sunny day, we ordered es tebu (freshly crushed/pressed sugar cane juice served with lime and ice cubes) & es teh kelor (muddled kelor/moringa leaves shaken with lime juice and homemade kelor tea). Both were refreshing although I couldn’t really taste the moringa flavor, just lime juice.
After that, we were served with an assortment of small dishes consisting of kerupuk beras (rice cracker), 4 types of sambal (sambal kecap/sweet soy sauce with chili slices, sambal asam manis/sweet and sour chili sauce, sambal kacang/peanut chili sauce and sambal tempeh/tempeh chili sauce), manisan mangga(candied dried mango), pajri (pineapple slices with spices & tamarind), asinan sayur (vegetable pickles) & bakso goreng (deep-fried meatballs). All of them were very interesting although I noticed that none of the chili sauces was spicy enough for my palate, but that can’t be help since many of their guests are not Indonesians).
I didn’t want to get my hopes high on the main dishes as I thought that they couldn’t possibly replicate dishes from North Sumatra or Aceh. But surprisingly, I enjoyed their version of cincang karo (minced pork belly cooked in young banana stems, cassava leaves, banana blossom, coconut and kecombrang). They managed to get the spices right and their version of sambal ganja (chillies, lemongrass, shrimp, shallot, garlic, belimbing wuluh and kaffir lime leaves) is quite spicy. Their nasi liwet (steamed white rice with pandan & salam leaves, lemongrass and coconut oil) is very flavorful, although I believe the nasi liwet is closer to Sundanese style rather than the Solo’s version. The kuluban (blanched kangkung, long beans, red spinach, melinjo leaves and bean sprout served with chilies, ginger, terasi, palm sugar and serundeng/grated burnt coconut) was also delicious and quite spicy.
We were also given a complimentary bowl of vegetable soup called Kalumpe (from Dayak, Central Kalimantan) which quite resembles sayur ubi tumbuk (smashed cassava leaves cooked with spices in coconut milk) from North Sumatra. After that, we didn’t order dessert anymore as we were already feeling quite full.
We overheard the Australian couple at the table next to us saying that the dishes were spicy when asked for their comment about the food, and the server kindly gave them a bottle of bir pletok to remedy that. Overall we’re very satisfied with the food and hospitality at Nusantara, The variety of dishes were very interesting and a good way to introduce Indonesian food to the outside world. I want to return and try other dishes, but I think if we’re coming for dinner, reservation might be needed.
Nusantara by Locavore
Jl. Dewi Sita no.09C Ubud
Phone: +62(361) 972973
Operating Hours: Mon-Sun 12-2:30PM, 6-9:30PM