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Home / Indonesian Cuisine / Bali Eats Part 2: Sea Side Cafe's Seafood At Jimbaran
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Bali Eats Part 2: Sea Side Cafe's Seafood At Jimbaran
By Alfred May 26, 2009
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Bali Eats Part 2: Sea Side Cafe's Seafood At Jimbaran
Fast Facts
Seafood Sambal Cumi Sambal Kerang Udang Bakar
Indonesian Cuisine
Price Range:
S$51- S$60
Rating Range:
4 to 4.9
Food Centre:
Recommended For:
Reviewed by:

If you have overseas friends in Singapore and if say they want to eat Chilli Crab, where will you bring them?

Off the top of my head, I can name a few places like Jumbo or Long Beach at East Coast Seafood Centre, those seafood stalls at Newton Hawker Centre or Boat Quay or Clarke Quay, other restaurants in shopping centres like Tung Lok or Crystal Jade, some Cze Char places like No Signboard or any Cze Char coffeeshop.

As a matter of simple fact, certain places are actually meant for the tourist. Such places exist all over the world and are of course cleverly avoided by the locals. For example, Phuketians would tell you the Patong Beach area is expensive. Johorians would say Kukup is expensive. Heck, Balinese here will say Kuta Beach is expensive to dine but yet for us tourists, here is where we must dine because it is recommended in the travel brochures or in some local tourism websites.

The thing is usually such places are not orchestrated but manifested as a result of popularity. Maybe there just used to be 1 or 2 good restaurants having good business in the beginning and that started to attract others to setup restaurants there and slowly and steadily that place begins to develop a name for itself gradually and before you know, horde of customers are flocking there. Now that obviously would push up valuation of that area and shopowners would obviously begin to increase the rental and these overheads are obviously going to be passed on to consumers and it would become a cycle which would transform the place into one that has the competition where shops need to tout or charge astronomical prices to survive and then it would become what we would call touristy. That situation would be a dead end by itself and has absolutely no appeal to locals and would forever going to be frequented by tourists because if they depended on the locals, they would definitely be in the red. One of such place is of course the famous Newton Hawker Centre.

Yet when we go for a trip, it’s these places that we die die must go, isn’t that a laughable irony? Ok if you agreed with what I said but yet have been to Xu Cheong Gai in Kuala Lumpur, Tsim Sha Tsui in Hong Kong or Shilin Night Market in Taipei, then you can laugh at yourself now because another one of those places is Newton Hawker Centre in Singapore but yet you are clever enough not to go.

Ok Jimbaran is a fishing village in Bali and this place is highly recommended for seafood according to many brochures and the resort that we stayed even have a shuttle service to that place a few times a day. So really that almost ring a ‘Die Die Must Go’ in my head and so we decided to visit on our second night in Bali. The funny thing is while driving towards those restaurants, we suddenly came to this checkpoint and we were to find out that we have to pay just to enter the area where the restaurants are. Now that’s a little funny to me because we’re technically entering a public place which is the beach. We were entering not to see some ancient sculpture or read a piece of any history but to decide which restaurant to dine. It’ll make more sense if they issue a ticket for parking but entry?

Anyway we then were recommended a restaurant by the guy who were collecting money at the checkpoint. He said “Go to Sea Side Cafe. They are good!”. Being naive, we thanked him and count our luck to have a stranger giving us good information as we make our way to find the Sea Side Cafe.

BBQ pit

Dining area

We found it quickly, parked our car and then head into the restaurant. Now since this place is famous for seafood, then we must expect good quality right? In that case any high price should be justifiable right? And so we thought. The prices were very steep. Squids were selling at Rp260 000(SGD$30+) per kg. Mussels were selling at Rp 90 000(SGD$10+) per kg and prawns were selling at Rp290 000(SGD$40+) per kg. We took half a kilo of squid, a kilo of mussels and half a kilo of prawns.

We were then ushered to the beach where there were like 20 tables which were sitting and facing the ocean. It was going to be a candle light dinner. Now that will be a million dollar view during sunset but unfortunately we arrived late at 8+ so all we saw is the same as what you can see at home by painting your wall black.

Our food arrived quickly and we were given complimentary steamed rice and stir fried kang kong.

[xrr label=”Grilled Sotong:” rating=”4/10″ group=”s2″]

[xrr label=”Our seafood meal:” rating=”4.8/10″ group=”s2″]

Now maybe my expectation was raised after being put through the process of hearing all about Jimbaran from making the trip there to picking my own seafood at the counter but quite frankly my tastebuds hardly fail me and on this occasion, I found myself having to retrain my tastebuds to accept the taste of the food which was way below mediocre for the kind of publicity it had and the price that I saw at the entrance.

[xrr label=”Grilled clams:” rating=”4/10″ group=”s2″]

The mussels looked as if it was boiled and tossed with some tasteless chilli sauce and it tasted really really bland, so bland that I couldn’t eat more than 2. The squid which I thought was to be grilled looked more like stir fried with the same chilli sauce. The prawns were grilled but didn’t taste any much better than if I were to grill it myself. The complimentary stir fried Kang Kong tasted like it was cooked few hours ago. The entire meal just didn’t taste like it was cooked right before it was brought to our table. Of course, what truthfully went on behind the scene, we’ll never know. But I wonder how many customers they served had cursed and swore when leaving the place.

Meanwhile let me tell you that the meal cost us Rp394 000(SGD$50+) and it was to be the most expensive meal and yet the worst meal in my entire 11 days trip. That is what I call really ‘Terrible Value’ for the money spent because I can eat better food for half that amount spent in a Singapore coffeeshop anytime.

No amount of spectacular view or immaculate service can cover up for the lack of food quality, in my opinion at least. If anyone ask me if he should eat at Jimbaran at Bali, two words – FORGET IT!

Price: SGD$10 to $40 per kg

Recommendation: None

Conclusion: Possibily the worst seafood meal in my entire life. Nothing I paid for here is of any value to me. I can even watch the same sunset for free at Kuta Beach.

Likes: Nothing.

Dislikes: Quality of food is not acceptable for the price.

Address Overall Rating

Sea Side Cafe
Jimbaran, Bali.

[xrr label=”Food:” rating=”4/10″ group=”s1″]
[xrr label=”Value:” rating=”4/10″ group=”s1″]
[xrr label=”Service:” rating=”5/10″ group=”s1″]
[xrr label=”Ambience:” rating=”6/10″ group=”s1″]
[xrr label=”Cleanliness:” rating=”5/10″ group=”s1″]
[xrr overall=true group=s1 label=Overall:]

Readers' Comment(s) : 3
Lim Boon Tiong says:

The SG$50 you paid for this meal, 80% of the money goes to the table on the beach with the superb sunset view (too bad you miss it).
the other 20% value goes to the food.
This is what we call “KAR CHAI TAO” which you got your head chopped on the table.
come to think of it, if you didnt ask that guy about the restaurant recommendation, you might end up eating at another restaurant which served better food? You never know….

I will avoid Jimbaran if I ever visit Bali… I have been warned. 🙂

Posted May 27, 2009
Alfred says:

Yes KAR CHAI TAO. You are right that maybe the security guard and the restaurant ‘PAKAT’. Come to think of it that checkpoint looked pretty dodgy, maybe he only stops rented cars, who knows. It’ll be wise to walk around a few restaurants and look at the price before deciding which one to dine. Well we paid ‘school fees’ for you so hope you can do better next time! 😛

Posted May 27, 2009
Thres says:

Wow! the price in The Sea Side Cafe is really crazy! thanks for your share, we will tell this to our friends. Im in Nusa Dua now with my husband (English) & my son. Just yesterday we had nice meal in Jimbaran beach “Teba cafe”. The cost for prawn we paid was Rp140,000/kg anykind of fish is Rp80,000/kg. They serve with rice, kangkung (spicy hot & not spicy), 3 type of sambals & nice peanuts. Next time when you go to Bali, we can recommend you to go there, but before you choose the food, please asking for the price first.

Posted August 15, 2012
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