The raw food revolution has been taking over Ubud as of late with a slew of new restaurants opening up around town offering vegan, vegetarian and plant-based cuisine. We have to admit, we’ve never been huge fans of raw food. It just seems like all the dishes are the same—think some variation of sliced vegetables and cashew cheese presented somewhat beautifully but oh-so bland. However, our recent trip to Moksa may just have turned us around on the whole raw food thing.
It’s a bit tricky to find Moksa, as they’re located down a small laneway in Sayan in the midst of rice paddies and irrigation canals, but their out-of-the-way location is key to their concept. Owners Made Janur Yasa and Chef Made Runatha (both formerly of Fivelements fame) pride themselves on building a vast permaculture garden that supplies about 50 to 70 percent of the produce for the restaurant. In the garden you’ll find bushels of basil, tons of tomatoes, tall stalks of lemongrass and more, all fed by a water catchment system and 100 percent organic.
Overlooking the garden is the restaurant with rustic wooden tables, a breezy bale, and a kitchen with an open window so guests can watch the chefs in action. Although it’s an entirely casual space, little touches add class like gorgeous plates and bowls from Gaia Ceramic and richly hued cloth napkins and coasters. More often than not, you’ll also find the owners making their rounds, stopping at each table to chat with diners and fill them in on the space and the food.
Our meal started with an amuse-bouche to cleanse the palate; a piece of purple dragonfruit skewered with lemongrass. As the mains started to roll out we were suitably impressed not just by the gorgeous presentation, but also how packed full of flavour everything was. Chef Made Runatha actually underwent a raw food cooking course in the U.S, and was formerly the head chef at the Fivelements’ award-winning restaurant, so he knows a thing or two about veggies and such.
The Tropical Jackfruit Tacos (IDR 48K) came with spiced and shredded jackfruit, tomato salsa, red pepper, red onion, cilantro lettuce and house made vegan coconut sour cream piled high on crispy corn taco shells. The texture of the jackfruit made it seem as though you were actually eating meat, the sour cream was smooth and just a tad sour, and the taco shell had a real crunch to it, which is something you don’t often find in raw food dishes.
The Kale Avocado Maki (IDR 40K) was an interesting take on vegetarian sushi without the rice. Instead they used nori packed full of alfalfa sprouts, avocado, jicama, carrot and red bell pepper served with a gingery soy dipping sauce on the side. The Tempeh Caesar Salad (IDR 55K) had big strips of cardamom caramelized tempeh ‘bacon’ on top, which beefed up the salad a bit, and the sauce was light and slightly peppery. The Asam Laksa Noodle (IDR 55K) was another vegan twist on a classic dish featuring rice noodles, fern tips, spinach, sprouts, green beans scallions, mint, char siew tofu and barbecued seitan (if you’ve not tried this before, definitely look it up. It’s a great substitute for meat), all swimming in a fiery laksa broth.
If it’s big hearty salads you’re after, the Chef’s Bowl (IDR 55K) is a good bet as it comes piled high with green curry rice, grilled eggplant, braised arugula, sautéed mushrooms, barbecued seitan, char siew tofu, dabu-dabu, kimchi, and mixed greens. It should be noted that this one (and a few others on the menu) is not purely made up of raw ingredients. The Grilled Vegetable Salad (IDR 50K) is another good bet with organic rocket, grilled eggplant, zucchini, baked red bell pepper, tomatoes and seared tofu drizzled with a balsamic reduction and topped with almond feta cheese and spiced pumpkin seeds.
Not surprisingly, Moksa is already gaining a loyal following of healthy eaters, vegans and vegetarians. However, we also highly suggest it for those who eat meat but just want to try something a bit different. The vibe here is relaxed and breezy, the vegetables come straight from the farm to the table, and each dish is prepared with a whole lot of passion and huge flavours.
Banjar Kutuh, Sayan, Ubud
T: +62 0821 4591 7884
H: Tues – Sun: 10am – 9pm
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