This long-established restaurant is a forgotten gem which deserves to be better known. Established over 30 years ago, we were astonished to see that during our four visits, we were the only customers in a restaurant which was the stand out for food, service and value in all the places we visited in Ubud.
DH discovered Cafe Griya, which was close to our hotel, on a solo expedition and called in for a snack of fish sates and chicken sates. Sates are a particular favourite of his and he came back to our hotel raving about how delicious these were, so much so that an hour or so later we both went back for some more.
The restaurant itself is quite large, with a lovely patio area at the rear which overlooks one of Ubud's many creeks, filled with trees and flowering plants. It is a very pleasant spot to just sit and enjoy the view. Soon our sates arrived, this time fish and pork. They are served in a small clay brazier which is filled with coals and keeps the sates sizzling, along with a plate of steamed rice and some satay dipping sauce.
The fish sates were a surprise, as I was expecting the fish to be minced and moulded onto the stick as many other fish sates are, but these were made of fish firm enough to be threaded onto the sticks in chunks. Not normally a big fan of fish, I loved these sates, they just worked really well. Each serving consisted of eight sates, which were good value as in many other restaurants we saw servings of four offered for a similar price (65,000Rp) to Cafe Griya's eight.
With drinks (two iced coffees and two soft drinks) the bill came to 250,000Rp, not bargain basement but very reasonable for such an enjoyable meal.
A couple of nights later we returned to Cafe Griya for dinner; this time we had a serving of three cheese samosas as a starter. I was intrigued by the samosas as I've not encountered one stuffed with cheese before. These were so more-ish, with traditional, very flakey pastry, melted cheese filling and a perfect, mildly spiced chutney to go with them. Dividing them fairly was difficult :-) Having had a large lunch we were content to follow these with a batch of chicken sates and another of fish sates. Both were as good as on our previous visits.
Two days later we were back for lunch, and this time we started with a full serve of the cheese samosas each. The combination of the cheese and the chutney is a very happy match.
For mains DH had grilled fish, which was like a sword fish steak and I suspect the same type of fish used for the sates as it was firm, smothered in caramelised onions and served with salad and hand-cut french fries. I had Mee Goreng which was a very light and extremely tasty version of this classic dish, with a good balance of flavours.
The food was so good and so reasonably priced, and with friendly service and a beautiful garden to look out at we couldn't understand why this place was not packed to the gunwales every day. I'm told by Bali regulars it is because it was very popular some years ago when there were fewer restaurants in Ubud, but other places have caught the public's fancy more lately. I do believe this gem should be rediscovered, though I would be very disappointed to return to Ubud and not be able to get a table :-)
The menu also offers a range of barbecued meats, chicken, fish, pork, beef and ribs which we didn't get to try but will most definitely on our next visit to Ubud. Can't wait!
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