A visit to Will Meyrick's Hujan Locale in Ubud

It's been raining hard for some while that afternoon in Ubud, and the streets color in Waze has turned red signalling heavy traffic everywhere. As we passed through some shortcuts to evade those traffic jams, it begun to look like our car are driving on a river stream instead of on a road. Thankfully Ubud sits on a hill instead of on a flat lands like Jakarta so the waters quickly ran away instead of forming impassable pools.

Nonetheless we still need to wait for some while in our car, looking for a good timing to step out as weren't sure our tiny umbrellas will be able to save us from getting drenched on our way to Hujan Locale.

We weren't deterred with all the situation though, as we're quite thrilled to try out Will Meyrick's newest restaurant "Hujan Locale" and what sort of uniqueness he puts on the table this time. I always find Will Meyrick's Kitchen Sessions fascinating so I'm kind of setting a high expectation for the dinner. And after all, a visit to Hujan Locale wouldn't be complete without some actual rain wouldn't it?

Hujan Locale

Occupying the building where Jendela Frech Bistro was, next to the buzzing Seniman Coffee, parking space is always an issue, especially for cars. However as Hujan Locale located quite close to the street's southern entrance, guests can park their cars at the public parking space near Anomali Coffee and walk a short distance to the venue.

Hujan Locale is Will Meyrick's fifth restaurant after Sarong and Mama San, both in Bali, E&O in Jakarta, and Mama San Hong Kong. Later this year according to Hujan Locale's PR Lia, there will be another restaurant opening in Malaysia, and two more in Bali: one is Maluku and the other is Mama San Thai.

Hujan Locale itself takes shape as an extension to the localization effort Will Meyrick has already done in Sarong, and focusing more on the slow food kinds, with "found and foraged" and "farm to table" style cooking. That means, expect to see some creative recreation of both local and international dishes on the menu.

Greeted by the staff, we were quickly ushered into our table where Lia has already waiting there for some time.

While there's not much of a view outside, the rustic comfortable French Vietnam atmosphere do help sets the guests mood in a comfortable laid back mode. To adds some accent to the relaxing atmosphere, you can find simplistic illustration prints on parts of the restaurant, including on its plates.

The Eating Experience

After consulting with our host Lia, we begun our dining experience with some entrees that together will provide a good insight into what Hujan Locale is all about. So let's jump in!

First came the wood-roasted bone marrow with parsley lemon garlic capers andaliman bread crumbs with gentlemen’s relish and brioche (IDR 70K). The home made brioche was soft, and it was seared with a bit of butter to achieve its crusty surface. The bone marrow itself has a mild and creamy flavour, it has a melt in your mouth consistency, while the roasting adds in a smoky aroma to the bone marrow.

Next came the Portuguese squid ink rice with crispy calamari and gremolata aioli (80K). Blackened using the squid ink, the dish looks striking in its white plate. It has a slightly umami taste and what best described as a gentle sea flavor, which provides a nice tease to my taste buds. The chunks of squid meat in between the dish also provides a good contrast between the softness of the black rice, and the rubbery character of the squid. It's easy to say that this squid ink rice was one of the high notes of our dinner in Hujan Locale Ubud.

The Home salted Balinese grouper with sambal matah torch ginger flower was the most surprising dish as we weren't expecting ikan asin, even though the menu clearly written so. Drawing inspiration from the Portuguese Bacalhau, it's a mix of softened salted fish and assorted Balinese spices, which was quite an unfamiliar territory to me. Not that I disliked salted fish, it was just that I never had it with toasted bread, or cooked in such way. I'm curious how it would taste with some lime juice added in though, and pairs it with some crackers or Indian bread.

Next came the Head to tail goat sausage paired with "rujak", it contains all of the goat parts in coarse chunks, which creates the nice crumbly meat texture in the midst of the chewy casing. Surprisingly it has a proper goat character that stopped before going overboard, hence my very picky eating partner when it comes to meat can enjoy it as well.

The accompanying rujak while provided a balancing zest and spiciness, sits quite in a far end of the spectrum thus creating a high contrast to the sausage. It's among the spiciest zestiest very Indonesian taste I have ever encountered, and it comes from a bule chef, in a such fine restaurant. Amazing.

The Smoked “mac and cheese” with sour cream fenugreek cumin and chat masala (50K) serves as a safe getaway for our 6 years old, whose taste bud hasn't really welcomes the more mature flavor palette. By the way it was all good for adults as well, should you crave for one.

And that's all of the entrees we crazily ordered, forgotten that Will Meyrick's dishes seldom comes in single portion. So there we were, already gasping for breath when we finally arrived to the main section of the dinner.

Crispy fish served with a sweet chili sauce coriander lime leaf and deep fried basil (150K) was a nice surprise, the sauce brings sweetness and just mild spiciness that enhance the goodness of a crispy fried fish. Added as the accent was the fried basil and curry leaves (temurui) that usually found in Acehnese Ayam Tangkap dish. Nicely done!

Hujan’s spice rubbed seared rib eye steak served with wood roasted garlic confit tomato and a mint gribiche (160K) was definitely a dark horse of the dinner, as it possessed the tenderness and flavorsome quality rarely found in local beef. Paired it with the creamy sauce, the roasted tomato, and the succulent roasted garlic, it created a merry composition that compliment each other really well. Top notch.

The Farm raised organic spring chicken with madras butter roasted pumpkin carrots cassava apple black radish and mustard leaf kachoori salad (100K) is another dish well done. I love how the chicken attains the good balance of moistness and the firmness. The flavor has a noticeable zesty character that goes well with the chicken's natural savoury flavour. The crusted rubs you see flocked on the chicken skin provides a flavorsome addition to the chicken. Kudos for serving cassava instead of the usual potatoes, and generally I just love baked veggies and this one was done well. The provided salad, again, put a nice contrast into the savory zesty dish.

Thank you Will Meyrick and the wonderful Hujan Locale people for the invitation. (byms)

Hujan Locale
A hedonistic harvest enriching the cuisine of Asia with the heritage of ‘home’

Open 12noon - 3pm
And 6pm - 11pm

Jalan Sri Wedari 5,
Ubud, Bali, Indonesia
+62 361 849 3092

What's Next?

Find more Hujan Locale pictures on Instagram using hashtag #hujanlocale, or see more of the pictures here: