Chef Ben McRae adds a Balinese twist to International favorites with craft cocktails, well selected wine and a curated beer menu. A trendy gem of a rooftop restaurant, located at Bisma Eight Hotel
Our accommodation in Ubud - Bisma Eight - was proving to be a gem of a hotel, and both Chris and I were having a blast exploring the area and playing at the hotel. Perhaps its best feature was the roof terrace which overlooked the thriving jungle outside. We had heard good things about the hotel’s restaurant as well, and when we discovered that it occupied much of this roof, we knew that – if nothing else – it would be an atmospheric place to dine.
Just as we had been told, Copper Kitchen and Bar turned out to be much more than just a pretty place, and like the hotel, it lived up to its reputation. As you walk up the stairs from the hotel lobby you’re immediately greeted by the fresh air, hanging plants and flowing fabric surrounding the space. In keeping with the name, copper is used quite prominently – most impressively to top the length of the bar itself.
Copper Kitchen and Bar is located in a small air conditioned room (a welcome reprieve on hot days) and opens up to a large outdoor terrace further looking onto the views of the Jungle. Comfortable couches and little nooks fill the space keeping the vibe casual and intimate. On the opposite side is another long outdoor space where the restaurant portion of Copper can be found.
Executive chef Ben McRae – an Australian who has made Ubud his home, has been in the business for eighteen years. He has worked in prestigious restaurants right across the Asia-Pacific region, including Iguacu in New Zealand and Issaya in Thailand. When you meet the Chef (and you will because he comes out at every serving to see how everyone is doing) he’ll give you a big handshake, a wonderful smile and tell you all about what you’re eating. We would later do a cooking class with him, and he proved to be just as friendly as this first impression had suggested.
While the menu is his own (and this was what was available when we visited), the Copper Kitchen likes to organize collaboration nights with well-known chefs from around the world. Recently, they flew in Matthew McCartney from the Katnook Estate Winery in Australia, while previous events have seen chefs come from as far away as South Africa. If you are lucky enough to be in Ubud when one of these take place, I have no doubt that it will be something not to miss...I love it when chefs collaborate! The results are always a delicious surprise!
Every meal we had at Copper was delicious and so creative, our tastebuds never got bored. The menu is international with dishes ranging from housemade olive gnocchi covered with nasturtium leaf pesto, forest mushrooms and wild fern tips to spiced barramundi served with tomatoes, chile pickles and curried pumpkin puree. The menu is varied and you can expect an Indonesian twist to it all.
Some of our favorites were dishes like, tuna sashimi served with nahm jim dressing and chilli jam,and the wok fried tempeh goreng with kemangi (lemon basil), kecap manis (sweet soy sauce), fresh veggies and red rice. Another dish, not to be missed is the crisp salmon. Crispy salmon skin, tender salmon meat all mixed with nahm prik (a spicy thai sauce) and pickled watermelon was probably my absolute favorite...my mouth is watering as I type this.
Now of course if you’re lounging poolside you might want something a little more casual and that’s where the wood fired pizza comes in. Our favorite was topped with shredded chicken, sambal, and sweet potato – perfect for enjoying in the sun by the infinity pool. All the vegetables were exceedingly fresh, having just come from Bisma Eight’s personal farm located just outside of Ubud.
Copper Kitchen and Bar has an extensive list of craft cocktails which include both in-house creations and internationally known favorites. Chef Ben also takes his beer and wine very seriously, and has insisted that a range of good craft beers and wine be served as well. Speciality beer and wine can be hard to find in Bali, so this made a welcome change for us. Our choices were made according to the pairing recommendations of the chef, and they went very well with our food.
It is safe to say that The Copper Kitchen and Bar is a must visit when in Ubud, even if you aren’t staying at the hotel. Its relaxed atmosphere make it the perfect place to eat with friends -- and despite the upscale food -- it is not at all formal or pretentious. Chef Ben makes sure of this with his sociable presence, while at the same time making certain that your taste buds will be very, very happy.
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