Will Goldfarb

“Will is a very special guy,” writes El Bulli pastry chef Albert Adria in the foreword to Room 4 Dessert, Will Goldfarb’s debut cookbook. “Passionate about his work and, indeed, about everything that surrounds him.” From Paris to Catalonia, Goldfarb has cooked in high-powered kitchens around the world, immersing himself in the local culture. Room 4 Dessert, his dessert bar in Bali, celebrates the Indonesian island’s culture, produce and diverse influences: just like his dining recommendations.

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The Best Indonesian Food in Bali

If I want to have the best Indonesian food in Bali I go Kaum at Potato Head. It’s a restaurant serving phenomenal Indonesian food in a casual, beautiful setting. The dishes are a combination of Indonesian classics and creations inspired by different islands across the archipelago. The chef, Wayan Kresna Yasa, was our opening chef here at Room 4 Dessert in Ubud.  He’s really a noteworthy chef. I can’t say no to any of Wayan’s sates (satays), particularly the babi (pork). I always have a rice dish which blows my mind. And when the moringa soup is on the menu, it’s a can’t miss. You can also find Wayan now at the dynamite plant-based Tanaman, in the new Potato Head creative center. Sneak in now while you can still get a table.

“If I Have An Evening Free, This Is Where I Go”

My first choice for dinner is Pica in Ubud, by Cristian Encina. It’s super fresh and super delicious. Fish. Grilled steaks. He’s Chilean, but I would say the food is slightly more Peruvian. I always have the same thing. A classic ceviche. A rare grilled steak with a side of salsa verde. A tres leches (three milk) cake with passion fruit seeds. Divine. If I have an evening free, this is where I go.

Sate lilit bangkal at Kaum. Photography: Courtesy of Kaum

Date Night in Ubud

While the most romantic lunch in Ubud is probably Bambu Indah, if I have the chance to go on a lunch date with my wife, we go to Hujan Locale in Ubud. It’s by chef Will Meyrick – he’s great. Don’t miss the salt cod croquettes or the chicken wings stuffed with prawns. Any of the fragrant lamb curries and vegetable rice dishes are winners, as are the betutu (spiced) chicken or duck versions. The menu changes frequently and also features a great beer list. Hujan Locale is also next to the best coffee in Bali which is Seniman Coffee Studio. Seniman grows coffee locally, ferments the beans and roasts them, all on-site. There’s a full roastery there.

Where You’ll Find Me Snacking

If I want to have a snack in the afternoon, I go to Warung Satay Kakul in Ubud for freshwater snail satay. It’s fantastic. Like the name suggests, the eatery serves super fresh barbecue-grilled snails with soup made from banana heart. There are a lot of rice fields on the island and, by extension, a lot of rice field snails. I still have the guilty pleasure of going to Gaya Gelato in Sayan, just next to my house.

An Essential Address in Canggu

I like to get down to Canggu to see Ben Cross at his restaurant Mason. He’s one of my best friends – we worked together for five years at Ku De Ta which is going back about 10 years now. He’s absolutely crushing it at Mason. It’s fantastic. I could come up with a whole menu of dishes that I like to eat there, but one dish I really love is the charcoal eggplant puree.

Where To Dine in Seminyak

La Lucciola is a restaurant I’ve been going to for years. It’s in Seminyak. It’s always great. It’s super fun. It’s been there for decades before there was anything else on the beach in Seminyak. It’s simple Italian. It’s a great lunch spot. Lucciola’s casual approach breeds a relaxing atmosphere for a beachfront lunch. I like the lightly grilled chicken paillard: a taste of Milan in Seminyak. Also in Seminyak is Sangsaka, which is from chef Kieran Morland. Kieran is an old friend of mine from the Ku De Ta days. You can see traces of his background from New York’s Momofuku Ssam Bar and The Wapping Project in London. He has a true passion for Indonesian flavours and products and you can always get a refined taste of local food here. Here he serves a tight menu of small plates influenced by Indonesian spice and tradition. He also owns Merah Putih. Sangsaka is a smaller, more intimate version of the two restaurants.

Drinking Cocktails in Bali

When industry friends are visiting, we always have a martini at Naughty Nuri’s next to Room 4 Dessert. The most beautiful, perfect setting for an afternoon Negroni is at Four Seasons Sayan.

Weighing In on the Babi Guling Debate

A dish I miss when I’m away from Bali is babi guling (roast suckling pig). There’s a lot of debate on who does the best babi guling. There’s one that I like, but I would say that it’s not a good option for anyone with a timid stomach. It’s called Babi Guling Buk Ari. She has the best pork soup. It’s the best, by far. I would say that Babi Guling Pande Egi is probably the best next one. I’m also a big fan of Babi Guling Ibu Oka. It’s touristy, but it’s still great. I have no shame about putting Ibu Oka out there.

Where To Try Bali’s Most Famous Chicken Dish

The best betutu (chicken cooked in a richly spiced sauce) is at Warung Makan Rama Ayam Betutu. It’s fantastic. There are about six of them all over the south of Bali. It’s like a franchise, but by franchise I mean it’s one woman with one bowl and one chicken, and they make the sambal fresh in each one. It’s definitely the best. They still do the rice over charcoal, so everything is super smoky. It’s phenomenal.

Barbecue octopus at Cuca. Photography: Courtesy of Cuca

In-Between Meals

Como Shambhala is exquisite and probably one of the most beautiful properties in Bali. Or anywhere, for that matter. It’s just a great place to go and use the spa for the day, even if you’re not staying at the hotel. It used to be a private estate and what they’ve done to transform it is fantastic. One of the best secret spots on the island for holistic health is Tirta Usada at the Warwick Ibah hotel in Ubud. I’ve been going there for years and it’s fantastic for holistic healing and homeopathy.

The Best Way To Prepare For Your Flight Home

Cuca in Jimbaran Bay is always great. Kevin Cherkas does a great job with the restaurant’s menu of tapas-style plates. That’s the best place to stop if you’re doing an airport run. Have a little drink at the Sundara day club at the Four Seasons Jimbaran Bay, then head to Cuca for dinner. That’s a wonderful pre-flight program.

Selected Works: Room for Dessert (2018)

Our guides are fact-checked and updated regularly. Read more here.

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