A standout farm-to-table restaurant experience so good we visited twice during our five days in Ubud.
The laidback ambience of the open-air dining room was just what Wally and I needed after a full day of exploring Ubud and its surroundings. Situated at street level in front of the Alaya Jembawan hotel, the signature restaurant is an extension of the retreat’s wellness concept and a short distance from the bustling Jalan Raya Ubud, the main thoroughfare that runs through town.
Drawing inspiration from the culture and character of its surroundings, the interior has been expertly layered by designer Zohra Bouka, incorporating a mix of pale blue and celadon green, juxtaposed with curvaceous woven rattan chairs, lending the space a relaxed boho-meets-Bali vibe. Even the drinking water was beautiful, served from a glass pitcher, infused with what appeared to be a mix of shaved carrots, cucumber, lime wheels and coriander.
Le Cordon Bleu alumnus and raw food advocate Diana von Cranach has spent decades perfecting her own interpretation of the living food movement and brings her considerable creativity to Herb Library, with its craveable variety of health-conscious cuisine. There’s a range of inventive local and sustainably grown plant-based meals for herbivores, with responsibly sourced fish and chicken options for omnivores.
After checking out their menu online, I decided that I wanted to try the Cheese Sambal, a grilled tempeh sandwich oozing with parmesan and cheddar cheese, shredded cauliflower, lemon basil and tomato sambal. I became completely obsessed with the fiery, chili-based Indonesian condiment after we sampled at least three distinctive sambal varieties at Plantation, the restaurant at the Alila, where we stayed while in Ubud. I had only previously been aware of sambal oelek, the most widely available type in the United States.
On our first visit to Herb Library, Wally and I made the rookie mistake of ordering too much food. We had arrived in the late afternoon and I was on the cusp of being hangry.
We each started off with a “thickie,” their version of a smoothie — a delicious blended drink that was a meal in itself. I had the coconut milk, banana and ginger and Wally had the dragonfruit. He particularly liked the vibrancy of his and made sure I photographed it.
Wally and I had also ordered cold soup, assuming it would be served in a small bowl. I chose the carrot and healing roots bisque and Wally, the green gazpacho. What arrived was a small tureen of each that we could have easily shared.
The generous portions of food were delicious and full of flavor. By the time our main courses arrived, we were both incredibly happy and full and ended up taking our leftovers back to our hotel. –Duke
Ubud, Gianyar, Bali, Indonesia
Hours: 7 a.m. - 11 p.m. daily