I spent two weeks in Ubud this past August/September, and on my first evening, I wandered into Minami for dinner. Since I am crazy about Indonesian food, I had fully intended to be eating Balinese cuisine that evening, but as I passed Minami, I was attracted by the cool jazz and the scent of flowers drifting out on the night air, and the open and airy interior called me in (I am big on atmosphere). I was presented with a tray of elegant appetizers-goma ae, with Minami's special sea salt (hand ground, with a subtle fish flavor), and tofu, creamy and rich--and my main course, sembe-encrusted "crackling shrimp tempura", was delicious. What a way to start my holiday!
A few nights later, having recovered from jet lag and with more of an appetite, I returned to Minami. I confess, even after three years of living in Japan, I was not a big fan of sushi and sashimi. However, Minami showed me what I had been missing, and I had one of the best meals of my life. I was presented first with another beautiful tray of appetizers-sweet onion with what I think was a sweet soy-miso sauce, two tiny bundles of lightly fried, crunchy greens tied to a bite of chicken, four small morsels of Tasmanian salmon and tuna sashimi, and a small pile of squid sashimi (to the best of my knowledge, this is correct, though after a few house drinks--a Bali Mojito and a yummy berry Sweet Blow, I MAY be confusing some of the details...). With the owner's recommendations, these appetizers were followed by another plate of sashimi served over radish and spring onions, a bento box with a white fish filet, chicken teriyaki, and crackling tempura prawn, then a tray with three delicate pieces of sashimi, one Tasmanian salmon and one sweet eel. And finally, after all of this, I savored a lovely, tiny chocolate mousse and a matcha and cream roll. Perfect!
Well, it is probably no surprise that I had at least four more meals at Minami during the rest of my stay in Ubud. And why not? Fabulous food, great ambiance, very attentive but unobtrusive wait staff (who seemed to truly enjoy working there), and an incredibly gracious owner and hostess.