Indonesian street food gets a contemporary kick at Arang Sate Bar, a chic brasserie-style setup located right in the middle of all the Ubud action on the corner of Jalan Raya Ubud and Monkey Forest Road. You may know the owners, Chef Agung Nugroho and his wife Kirsten Weimar, from such Seminyak ventures as Chandi and Fat Gajah. Chef Agung also worked for NYC hotspots Nobu and Spice Market. Here they aim to shine the spotlight on regional Indonesian dishes, but with unique twists that take sates, sambals, and local sauces to a whole new level.
Set in a two-storey space just across from the Royal Palace, Arang Sate Bar offers an almost Parisian style vibe with a large covered terrace with a huge panelled glass wall, marble-topped tables and sleek black wood and wicker chairs. Follow the terrazzo floor tiles inside and you’ll find a long bar where staff concoct all manner of drinks from iced coffee to innovative iced teas, mojitos and margaritas made with local herbs and spices. At the back there is a semi-open kitchen and a set of stairs that leads you to the upper level where there is another light-filled dining area.
Most of the dishes here are made to be shared, so you’ve got a great selection of small plates to start with including veggie, seafood and meat options. The Black Pepper Pork Dumplings (IDR 48K) come with three gyoza-style dumplings stuffed with pork and Chinese sausage, doused in a soy-based sauce with just a hint of sweetness, and sprinkled with chives. Each bite is a brilliant combo of complementing flavours and textures.
The Salt & Pepper Squid (IDR 48K) is another good bet with crunchy deep-fried squid tossed with grilled green bell peppers and green chili slices and dusted with paprika. You can definitely taste the salt and pepper in the golden crust on the squid, but be warned that there is no accompanying sauce or dip to smooth out that saltiness, so best to have some bevvies on hand to wash it down.
Of course the main stars here are the sates, and they’ve got a wide variety of skewers to choose from, each based on a different regional specialty from across the Indonesian archipelago, but modified with new flavours and twists. You can order each by the skewer or as a 3-skewer hot stone set that includes a green salad or white rice on the side.
Options include the Tea Smoke Duck Breast (IDR 42K/98K) with an orange, mint and pineapple sauce, the Lamb Bleu Cheese “Bakso” (IDR 48K/115K) in a soy pineapple glaze and the Butterfish Miso Dashi (IDR 38K/92K) wth scallion, tobiko and kaffir lime. And unlike many other sate-centric spots, vegetarians are well catered to here with smoky meat-free specialties like the Tofu Miso Rub (IDR 28K/68K) with black sesame seeds and the Oyster Mushroom (IDR 24K/58K) with soy, ginger and kaffir lime.
Sample a number of sates in one go with one of their Tasting Platters that come with 5 skewers, 4 different sambals including pecel peanut, sambal kemangi, sambal matah and a sweet soy chili reduction, plus a watercress and sprout salad and organic white rice. We opt for the Meat Sate Tasting Platter (IDR 180K), which comes with the Oyster Mushroom and Lamb and Bleu Cheese “Bakso”, as well as Soy Ginger Pork Belly, Ribeye Steak topped with a quail egg, and Asparagus with garlic butter and pickled chilli. Out of the lot, the mushrooms and the lamb bakso are the definite winners.
If you’re looking for refined Indonesian cuisine that’s not quite fine dining, but definitely not your usual street food or warung type fare, Arang Sate Bar is your spot. The vibe here is pretty casual and cool and the service is friendly, and the dishes are innovative, authentically Asian, and expertly executed. Definitely worth checking out if you’re on the main Ubud strip.
Jalan Raya Ubud No. 8
T: +62 0361 479 2199
H: Daily: 11am – 11pm