Monday, August 22, 2016


While I was wallowing around the swimming pool this morning, no doubt looking like a hippo with early onset dementia, a young couple emerged onto the terrace. He had carefully coiffed hair and perfect tan lines, and she had a turquoise bikini and matching blue-tinted mirror aviators. They lay on the lounges, swiping away on their high-end phablets, until she was ready to perch on the edge of the pool in the classic bikini girl sunning herself pose; one leg straight, one leg drawn up, leaning back on her arms with her chest thrust out so far I thought she was going to dislocate a shoulder. He obligingly photographed her, then she spent the next ten minutes furiously instagraming the hell out of it.

The only time they actually got into the pool was to take a selfie, in each others arms (but not so close to obscure their respective abs). And naturally at no point did anything above navel level get wet.

This is why I love Instagram. Anything that requires pretty, pretty people to take themselves really, really seriously is an ongoing source of comedy gold.

After my swim I decided to test the local caffeine scene. The first place on the list was The Coffee Library.

The coffee wasn’t particularly inspiring but it’s a cute, friendly venue. Putaloco even climbed up to their loft library to check it out.

Because one coffee is never enough, we then proceeded to Sisterfields. It’s the only place in Bali I’ve had to queue to enter, but their coffee is superb.

Then I strolled down to Sea Circus, only to discover that I was getting kinda jittery, so I had gelati instead of coffee. Sea Circus has a laid back surf shack vibe, painted with bright pastel geometric forms, which seem to draw in confused teenaged American tourists like moths to a flame. As such, eating there feels a little like being in a John Hughes beach movie circa 1985.

Putaloco searched in vain for Kelly LeBrock.

In the evening, my foodie friend and I took a long walk north to Metis. Metis is easily the best restaurant I’ve been to in Bali, on any of my trips. It's also the most expensive, at around $75 for three courses and a cocktail plus tips and taxes. At home that might cover a two courses and a beer at a mediocre restaurant, but Metis is anything but mediocre.

After an amuse bouche of savoury custard-filled pastries, I had a cocktail made with Aperol, citrus and sparkling wine, and an entrée of stuffed tempura zucchini flowers in an exquisite lemon, chive and mustard sauce.

Main course was Tasmanian salmon fillet on a bed of rice, with a shimeji mushroom and citrus soya butter sauce that was somehow even better than the sauce in the entrée.

Dessert was a nougat semifreddo with rhubarb sorbet.

After that big meal, we took a short walk around the manicured gardens, pausing in the gazebo to watch pristine white koi gliding silkily through the dark water below.

Metis is wonderful, but, like Ginger Moon, it couldn’t exist in Perth. Leaving aside the price rise that would make it unaffordable to almost everyone, Metis makes liberal use of gas-fuelled ornamental fires, set into giant urns filled with water lilies or long concrete troughs surrounded by bubbling streams. In Perth, there would be incessant whining about the fires being ecologically unfriendly and wasteful and what if children stuck their faces in them? And isn’t the ornamental pond filled solely with white koi racist? The whole vast, glorious, superlative venue would be savaged by ten thousand small, spiteful voices.


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