Wednesday, 23 December 2015
Healthy foodie heaven at the Garden Kafe in the Yoga Barn, Ubud, Bali
The Yoga Barn is an Ubud institution - yogis from all over the world make the pilgrimage to its humble walls to contort themselves into incredible poses and find their inner zen. Yogis, yes, but also just people like me - I was there for the food (perhaps unsurprisingly).
The Garden Kafe is pretty much as famous as the Yoga Barn itself. Ubud is quite the destination for the healthy foodie (I've got another blog post coming soon all about the town and its various eateries), but Garden Kafe is largely considered the best of the bunch.
Upon arriving in Ubud, Garden Kafe was my first stop (and conveniently, it was just round the corner from my charming hotel.) Aaaand I loved it so much that it was almost my last stop before leaving the town two days later.
Located off the main road, you have to walk down a little path to find Yoga Barn, which creates the impression of being in a little oasis in the middle of the lush Balinese jungle.
There's a lovely chilled vibe and a fab traditional interior - think bamboo, thatched roofs, palm trees all around. Diners can sit on floor cushions or chairs, depending on how yogi-esque you're feeling.
The cafe was full of hippy yogis and travellers, young and old, each time I visited. There were lots of people there alone, like moi, and I'm pretty sure everyone was a tourist.
But let's talk about the food now, shall we?
The menu is, to put it simply, INCREDIBLE!
Well, if you're into healthy food, anyway.
After a month of choosing between fried noodles and fried rice, I was so excited to see all the yummy offerings, with lots of raw, vegan and veggie options. (The whole menu is here, if you, like me, enjoy stalking food online.)
What's more, the prices are amazing, especially when compared to the likes of Tanya's in Chelsea who do the same sort of food for about six times the price. You're looking at under £3 for a main at the Garden Kafe. I KNOW! Why does Ubud have to be so far away from home!?
On both my visits, I kicked things off with a smoothie.
There was the super-antioxidant shake (raw organic cashews, cacao, honey, flax & banana blended
with hand pressed soy milk):
This was absolutely dreamy. So creamy, thick and rich! Oof, I could drink that every day.
The smoothies aren't served with straws (to save the planet and whatnot) but rather with spoons, which I enjoyed.
On my second visit I had the fruit lassi (coconut yoghurt blended with mixed fruits):
It was good, for sure, but not quite as good as my first smoothie and, although I was excited by the prospect of a dairy-free lassi, didn't taste as yummy as the regular yogurty lassis I'd grown used to on my travels. I was glad to have tried it though and it was delightfully refreshing.
Food-wise, there was so much I wanted to eat. I could've eaten there for a week and still not got through everything that appealed to me!
My first Garden Kafe experience was an absolute winner. Behold, raw vegan lasagne:
It was basically layers of courgette, tomato sauce, vegan pesto, cashew cheese and tomato and it was so damn tasty. It might sound weird if you're not used to raw food, but you're just going to have to take my word for it. SO delish.
On visit number two I chose the macro bowl but with tempe rather than tofu.
Basically ALL the steamed veggies, roasted seeds and tempe on a bed of red rice with a lemon-tahini dressing. Yuuuuum!
(Never heard of tempe? I've only come across it once in the UK but it's EVERYWHERE in Indonesia and I developed quite the taste for it. Soy beans are basically fermented and turned into a cake, and that's tempe. I like it far more than tofu, that's for sure, and it's a great veggie protein source.)
As well as the eat-in menu, Garden Kafe has a selection of baked goods and nourishing treats to take away. I couldn't resist a slice of banana bread which I then proceeded to smother in peanut butter and eat for breakfast the following day. Because everything is better smothered in peanut butter, amiright?
The service at Yoga Barn was quick and the staff were friendly - I wasn't at all rushed to leave after finishing my food, which was great.
So there you have it! I'd go back to Garden Kafe in a heartbeat if it wasn't a bajillion miles away. And I suggest you do too.
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