Balinese classics at Mr Wayan, Ubud

I noticed that Mr Wayan was appearing on lots of ‘Best Ubud Restaurant’ lists and, as it is also located conveniently close to where I live, I thought I ought to check it out.

You’re welcome.

Happy Hour at Mr Wayan

My first visit was for drinks. They have a happy hour until 7pm and you can sit out the back and watch the sun setting over the rice fields.

Sunset at Mr Wayan at Happy Hour
Sunset from the restaurant at Mr Wayan

Happy Hour was the frustratingly unshareable (but ubiquitous around Ubud) offer of ‘Buy Two Get One Free’ and we opted for beers as drink prices were very inflated, even without the 17% tax and service.

The cocktail list had some unusual and clumsy-looking choices, certainly not on a level with other Indonesian, fine dining places like Nusantera, Hujan Locale or Merah Putih, although I was impressed to see Isola wine finally making an appearance on the wine list (although they were out of stock).

Anyway, it’s certainly a nice spot for a sundowner and the real test was going to be the food. The menu looked extremely promising and I was looking forward to a return visit to try it out. 

Dinner at Mr Wayan

On the evening I came for dinner with dining companion Stu, we noticed that there was an entrance to the rear which had been decorated, as if for some kind of performance. And sure enough, after a few moments, a big group of tourists arrived and took their seats in two rows, just in front of our table and facing the decorated entrance. The waitress approached us and told us that they were showing a Kecak dance performance for a private group of Dutch tourists who were staying at the adjoining hotel, but that we were welcome to watch.

She also apologised, which wasn’t a particularly good sign.

The show started as we were ordering and was performed by young girls between the ages of approximately 8 and 12. It all felt a bit odd to have these young girls, caked in make-up and swinging their hips whilst we sat there eating

appetizer plate of sambal with mixed crackers
Appetizer plate of sambal with different kinds of crackers

Whilst the group were served from a set menu, we were able to choose from the extensive list of Indonesian dishes. Water was served to us straight away and was free all night and so, having seen the drinks menu (2 Islands Shiraz at 500k), we decided to eschew the over-priced alcohol and go booze-free.

So, letting loose on the food, we went for a curried octopus dish to start, along with some steamed vegetables with peanut sauce. Then for main, one fish wrapped in banana leaf and one barracuda. We also ordered red rice on the side. The waiter took no notes and after confidently repeating our order incorrectly a couple of times, he went off to the kitchen.

a selection of Balinese dishes
Delicious spread of Balinese goodies

He appeared with a our food, asking “You order altogether, right?”

Weeeell, no but looks like it’s here now so pile it on. And ‘piled’ is the word. The rice was served in a big basket, the steamed vegetables could have served a table of four and the fish banana leaf came housed in two bamboo tubes. As we know, the greedy cat has a healthy appetite and Stu is not short on space around the middle, but even we struggled to finish everything.

Balinese dishes
Clockwise from top: Red rice, vegetables with peanut sauce, barracuda, spicy squid, fish in banana leaf

All the food was delicious; Balinese specialities cooked very well and with bags of flavour. Quantities were more than sufficient and the price without booze was a very reasonable 450k.

Definitely a good option for eating great Indonesian food at a reasonable price and I’d be keen to go back when there are no made-up children with starey eye-lined eyes dancing around. 

Should you check it out? Wayan earth not?

Dos

  • Check out the sunset in a group of three to really get the most out of Happy Hour!
  • Forget the booze if you have an eye on the bill, but if you do fancy a tipple I highly recommend the Isola rosé
  • Leave some room for dessert

Don’ts

  • Go too crazy, portions are filling

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