This Caturday is brought to you by these two hipstamatic shots I took of cats found at a restaurant Tina visited on our way out of Bali. The restaurant was called, Wali Beach Cafe, located in Jimbaran Bay.
There is going to be a lot of Bali-related blogging over the next couple-few days, weeks, months, years … I don’t know how long. I’ll use the blog to decompress, journal, brag, belittle, compare, contrast, and wonder about Bali.
So if you get sick of it, too bad. So sad.
For a full review of our hilarious adventure at this restaurant, dip below the fold. Just so you know, do yourself a favor and never, ever eat at Wali Beach Café. I’ll tell you why …
Our flight out of Bali was at 2 a.m. Friday morning. Our driver picked us up at 6 p.m. after a late checkout from our hotel in Ubud, and we told him we wanted to spend the evening at a restaurant or bar until closer to our flight time. He recommended an open-air seafood restaurant right on the beach, boasting that the prices and food were great.
The trip from Ubud to the restaurant, located just minutes from the airport, was about an hour and a half or two hours. When we opened the car doors at the restaurant, the stench of fish hit us dead in the face. I said to Tina, “I think we have to trust our driver on this one.”
We were greeted warmly by the staff and were led out to a table on the beach, which was kind of cool. There were lots of empty tables, though, and there was a “mariachi” band playing on the beach using battery operated amps for a bass and one guitar. There was a drummer using a single snare and cymbal. They were playing a Jack Johnson cover, that — to be blunt — sucked badly.
Never trust a restaurant with a Jack Johnson cover band
Near our table, there was a couple and their table was filled with plates of food. We thought surely the prices must be awesome. Look at how much food they have.
We were handed two menus and we ordered a large Bintang beer and Tina had a glass of wine. Tina said, “Oh, these prices look great.” I agreed.
But then I looked closer, after breaking down the prices, they were *not* great at all. In fact, they sucked.
I should have taken a picture with my phone, but the prices where in per 100 grams. One hundred grams is approximately 1/4 lb isn’t much.
Since the air was just this side of rancid, we decided to order a couple things off the menu. That way we were committed to a table full of lackluster food.
To order, you went up to a counter and chose the amount you wanted. So I ordered six of what the menu called “fresh” prawns. On the scale, that came to about 300 grams. When the waiter picked up another prawn, threw it on the scale and said, “For you, I throw in another prawn … no charge,” I thought, screw you.
“Let’s go with 200 grams of prawns.” I just didn’t trust this guy.
I heard the waiter sigh.
Waiter, this soup is cold
Then I said, I’ll order a small lobster. The waiter disappeared and returned with a lobster clamping and twisting about. He placed it on the scale, and it came to about 400 grams, which let me tell you, is small. Most of the weight is in the shell.
The waiter put the lobster on the scale, which wouldn’t stop moving, and I never saw the actual weight for myself.
As an appetizer, we were brought to bowls of fish soup. We each took a bite, and pushed the bowls away. The pieces of meat tasted fishy. The broth was salty. I almost gagged.
When we were brought our dinner, it came with some sautéed spinach and white rice. The four prawns looked pathetic, and tasted like they were a week old.
The lobster came out and looked okay and tasted mediocre. Like I said, the weight is in the shell. For a one lb. lobster, there was maybe a 1/4 lb of meat. If that.
While you were sleeping, Sandra Bullock stole your heart
While we were eating, we noticed a dog sleeping about seven or eight feet from our table. On a wall, there were these two cats from this week’s Caturday. Suddenly, the dog woke up from a nap and I heard the noise as if it were playing with a squeaky toy.
“Did that dog find a squeaky toy?” I asked Tina.
“I don’t think there are squeaky toys in Bali,” Tina said.
I looked up and saw the dog chasing a screaming rat through the sand about 5 feet from our table.
“Check, please!” I shouted.
We paid our bill, which came to roughly $45. All that for a beer, a glass of wine, shitty soup, rice, spinach, nasty prawns and mediocre lobster.
This is what we ate after 10 glorious days in paradise.
The punchline is not funny
After pushing ourselves to eat the food and out of fear that complaints would get us killed, we decided to just pay and leave. As we walked out, Tina and I were pleasant. I paid the tab, but left no tip on top of the service charge.
We walked out the front door and our waiter jumped in front of me and said, “How was your dinner?”
“Fine,” I smiled and moved to go around him. I thought I saw our car, which was parked about 50 ft away.
The waiter blocked me and said, “Excuse me, sir. We’re sorry to inform you, but your driver left. This happens all the time. Let me call you a taxi. Where are you staying? What hotel or villa?”
In my mind, I panicked. We left everything in our driver’s car, all our clothes, souvenirs, and, most importantly, our passports and all my equipment, lenses, cameras and laptop. If what this man was saying was true, we were eph to the ucked.
I said, “He didn’t leave. His car is right there.” I pointed and tried to move past him again.
He blocked me again. “No, no, he’s gone,” he insisted. Even though I towered over this man, he still intimidated me.
“Really, really,” he held his hands up like he was surrendering to me. “This happens all the time. Your driver had to leave. Let me call you a taxi. Where are you staying? What hotel? What villa?”
Even though I knew my driver was still there, it didn’t stop hellish scenarios from speeding through my mind. I finally pushed past, and got to the car. I reached for the handle. It opened and our driver was napping inside.
The waiter might as well have told us, “Jesus loves you! He’s right here. He’s all around you. Believe me.” And despite his insistence, my skepticism kept my focus in tact. Our driver assured us that he would never leave us and laughed it off. We didn’t feel comfortable after that point. We felt dirtied and deflated. Our intelligence and our good times had been assaulted.
Back in the car, Tina thanked me for keeping strong and not letting that guy convince me. She said that the vulnerability of the possible truth scared her to no end. If it weren’t for my diligence, she may have had a little nervous breakdown.
Wali Beach Café was the most deflating honk of the trip.
If you’re in Bali, and your driver takes you there, tell him to turn the car around and go to McDonald’s. They surely have better, more reasonably priced fish than this joint will ever have.