BALI, Indonesia – In a land where excellent two-dollar street food meals coexist with a few fancier, Western restaurants, what do travellers usually go for? Well, each region of Bali has its own quirks, but one thing is sure: Canggu restaurants are dominated by the Western culture. And in the middle of it all stands a unique eatery called Gypsy.
A similar analogy can be used for the owners of the restaurant: in a sea of Australian-operated restaurants catering to mainly Australian tourists, this Quebecois team stands out, no matter what!
There’s one more reason to make Gypsy a destination: Robin Filteau-Boucher is a TV chef in Canada. He was featured on Les Chefs, the French-Canadian version of Top Chef, on seasons 2 and 5. Many from his hometown of Montreal will thus recognize him.
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Finally, owner Kevin Latrem is also well known in his own right, being part-owner of a few super-hip bars in Montreal.
What’s not lost in this cavalcade of namedropping is the quality of the food, décor and service. A modern-casual-chic design with beige tones, reclaimed woods and concrete walls; a precise service and a beautiful cocktail list; and first and foremost, an inventive, local-oriented menu.
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I had the opportunity to visit the place on my last trip to Bali… And here’s what I saw!
Gypsy, On Top Of All Canggu Restaurants – The Meal
Should I eat inside or outside? The weather is – obviously – perfect and there’s a slight cooling breeze. But the design inside is nice to look at, too! “Why not both?” Kevin Latrem suggests that I sit at the windowsill, where a large concrete counter has been built. That way, I can sit right in between and sip a very nice watermelon gin fizz.
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Since I have total confidence in chef Robin’s abilities, I ask him to simply send me whatever dishes he fancies.
First: a pea gazpacho. It’s served cold, of course. I think it’s superb. It’s light, there’s barely any seasoning which, in this case at least, suits the dish very well, and it’s smooth and cooling. A light way to start a meal!
Next, a tuna tataki dish with edamame, cucumber, radishes, a couple of mushrooms and a ginger aioli. This sushi-grade tuna is barely seared on the outside, more akin to sashimi than tataki. Listen, I definitely have a parti pris for tatakis and sashimis, and I especially love these raw pieces of fish when they’re flawlessly fresh, barely seasoned and paired with other items that don’t steal the show from this extremely light-tasting protein. So, yeah, this is simply great food.
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The first dish is somewhat Spanish in inspiration; the second one has Japanese roots; of course, we have to go somewhere completely different with the third plate of food!
Octopus, salsa verde, corn, sour cream… Inspired by Mexico, by way of Montreal and France, and on my plate, in Indonesia! The octopus, probably cooked sous-vide, is wonderfully tender. It’s clearly one of the best-crafted octopus dishes I’ve ever had.
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To finish, I get a gigantic dessert: crunchy doughnut, warm caramel, vanilla ice cream and crushed peanuts. Simple, sticky, huge, stuffing. No one leaves Gypsy hungry.
Gypsy, On Top Of All Canggu Restaurants – Conclusion
I never talk about price points in my blog posts. I don’t think it’d be fair to do so. But I’ll make an exception: Gypsy is not more expensive than the über-healthy, organic-paleo-detox-juicing-kale-and-quinoa restaurants in Canggu. Not only does it taste better, but on top of that, Gypsy has an inclination to use local products whenever possible, which isn’t the case for the health crowd. And the total bill for a meal at Gypsy is probably a quarter of the price us Westerners would pay at home for the same experience.
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Gypsy, to me, is a no brainer, when in Bali.
Gypsy Kitchen and Bar
Jalan Pura Batu Mejan, Gg. Munduk Catu No 1, Echo Beach, Canggu, Kuta Utara, Kabupaten Badung, Bali 80351, Indonesia