Here’s cheers to another glorious Bali sunset.
Ji Restaurant (pronounced Gee and meaning temple in Japanese) is a beautiful space and a surprising dining experience. Focused on Japanese and Southeast Asian cuisine, the multi-leveled restaurant, which is officially called Ji at Bale Sutra 1706 on the lower floors, and Ji Terrace By The Sea upstairs offers much for tourists and locals alike in the now bustling Canggu area.
Text: DAVID TRAUTS
Being part of the Tugu Group, which has had a luxurious hotel, steeped in Indonesian history and local artefacts on Jalan Pantai Batu Bolong for over 20 years, knowledgeable guests would already be aware that they are in for a design treat, but upstairs in the new Ji Terrace they might be surprised to find an lavish array of delicious Japanese dishes conceived by Chef Colin Buchan and his culinary team.
Casual dining while overlooking the Canggu views.
After doing a short tour of the downstairs area of Ji at Bale Sutra, including the street facing Front Bar, where guests can try myriad cocktails and a selection of sake, and The Red Room, which is an over 300 year old, reconstructed Chinese temple, now a spacious dining room in tones of red, we headed upstairs to the second floor passing the main bar and other intimate dining spaces and right to the top where you find Ji Terrace By The Sea.
The terrace has 180 degree views of the Indian Ocean and Old Man’s Beach, one of Canggu’s favorite surfing and tourist locales. Ji is a bustling hot spot around sunset as tourists and locals arrive for a (Happy Hour) cocktail or two, enjoy the sounds of the guest DJs and sit down for a view of the famous Bali sunset. The two menus from Bale Sutra and Ji Terrace are available in all parts of the restaurant so there is plenty to choose from.
The signature Maki rolls, Dragon of Ji.
We started with a couple of tasty cocktails, a coconut and Cachaca Coco Sexo (100k) and lemon grass infused vodka, sake and crème de ginger beer mixed, the Cherry Shogu Martini (100k). Obviously having a cocktail in hand is the only way to enjoy a blazing red sunset.
After sitting down at the table overlooking the whole spectacle of Canggu Beach and dying embers of another sunset, we chose a selection of Japanese favourites, which promptly started arriving to the table, ready to share.
Dishes: Amah’s Baby Back Ribs, Osaka Salad. Cocktails: Virgin Sayuri, Kublai.
Steamed Edamame with soy dip (25k) is always a healthy start, and there was much to follow. Two pieces of tuna belly sushi Otoro Nigiri (75k), Spicy Yellow Tuna Maki rolls (85k), a stand out set of eight pieces of their signature Dragon of Ji Maki rolls consisting of prawn, tempura, avocado, tobiko, spicy mayo (110k). A little crunchy and very tasty. Next up arrived two pieces of Seared Gyuniku Nigiri (75k), which is kobe style, seared beef on sushi and absolutely delicious, and then more sushi arrived. The Sake Kyabis Nigiri (50k) salmon with crème fraiche, black caviar and dill – another exciting taste and concept.
Then from the mains list, a very tasty Grilled Salmon with Eggplant (130k). The salmon is marinated and served with cuper lime, eggplant with garlic. Hokkaido Miso Ramen (100k) from the Bale Sutra menu, is made with egg noodle in miso broth, pork belly, miso egg, enoki and shimeji mushrooms, and we finished with a shared Green Tea Cheesecake (65k) and just like everything else was divine and inventive.
Private spaces steeped in history abound – Cambodian Apsaras dancers look on.
After finishing dinner and walking down through the levels of antiquities and artworks collected by the Anhar family, who are responsible for the Tugu style and properties, I couldn’t help but think how fortunate Bali is to have them around. Purveyors of Indonesian culture are definitely few on the ground in the modern Canggu.
Also, congratulations to Scottish born chef, Colin Buchan who has done an excellent job creating the delicious Japanese menus of both restaurants. Mix those delightful dishes with the exquisite art and artefacts from all over the Southeast Asian region and the stunning views over Canggu beach, the experience of Ji Terrace and Bale Sutra is a must-try for any foodie or tourist to the area.