As some of you know, I spend a third of the year in Bali, specifically in Ubud where we own a house. With decent internet my husband is able to relocate the office and I can continue blogging while Jasper goes to a little school nearby with children from across the globe. It takes a few days to melt into the magic of this island where everything moves with more ease and less speed. One of the many reasons we love Ubud is that it is relaxed and away from all the tourist haunts of Kuta and the scene of Seminyak. You can experience authentic Balinese life while also being able to indulge in some Western comforts. So, on my last trip to Bali, I teamed up with photographer Ulrike Reinhold to shoot one of my favourite restaurants: Bridges Bali.
Nestled into the side of a ravine with views of the Campuhan River below, Bridges is a multi-level cosmopolitan bar-restaurant. Its relaxed and welcoming atmosphere is in every respect an amalgam of Western and Balinese sensibilities. This marriage is evident in every aspect: its owners, staff, food as well as decor.
Sourcing locally made furnishings and fittings, co-owner and visionary Claude Chouinard, has created an environment that delights the senses. Claude travelled to small villages off the beaten track to find an array of unique pieces. The stunning copper lights, for example, were found in a tiny village of copper workers in Java. The centrepiece of the restaurant is the huge local carving of the Barong, Bali’s highest deity, that dominates the main wall. Remarkably it works beautifully with the Raj aesthetic of Bridges while paying homage to its location; you cannot mistake that you are anywhere else in the world.
Claude understands that for a restaurant to really work it needs more than just a great design. Attention and time is given to staff training, as well as the audio ambience, something which most restaurants ignore and either have terrible acoustics or play inappropriate music. The kitchen headed by chef Nicholas Lazzaroni produces visually stunning and delicious food. Moreover, the well-stocked wine list and shop, featuring wines from ten countries, is a rarity in Bali.
By the way, if you have design talent, why not create a concept for Bridges’ new bar? The vision is to create the most romantic bar in the world, where even a single person would feel comfortable and welcome. Entries are sought globally; the winner gets to travel (twice!) to Bali to advise on the actualisation. Entries close 11:59pm Hong Kong time on 31 July 2012. For more information, click here.