Tuning in to Vegan Treats at Manik Organik

Our waitress welcomes us in from the street as we leave the bustle of scooters, push-bikes and foot traffic at the roadside. Manik Organik in the intimate surrounds of Sanur, Bali is passionate about healthy food and a natural lifestyle; its airy bungalow-styled dining area sets the scene for a meal that will nourish our bodies. Lots of healthy vegetarian, vegan and raw vegan choices are discovered, as we recline into our deck chairs and cosy in for the evening. There’s an open mic area where local musicians come to strut their talents, but tonight it’s the rhythm of Manik Organik’s vegan specialties that will recharge our batteries.

The service here is prompt, and delivered with an endless string of smiles. Our drinks are served within a matter of minutes to ensure optimum freshness; my sweet pineapple, passionfruit and orange juice is sipped ever too quickly through a dried bamboo straw. A slice of pineapple has been lovingly carved into the shape of a sun and wedged onto the lip, its bright rays giving my glass a bold glow.

Entrées arrive soon after – a serve of piping hot and crispy vegetable spring rolls with a side of tomato chilli jam, together with warm rice paper rolls to be dipped in a glass of kecap manis and chilli. These are gobbled up in no time, and it’s not long before we’re tucking into our mains – servings of nasi campur and tempeh steak with mushroom sauce.

Both meals seem modest in size and we wonder whether our bellies will be satisfied afterwards. The nasi campur proves to be filling, as it is colourful. Wedges of tofu in a chilli sambal are scooped up with brown rice (nasi), spicy red onion sambal and spinach slaw; as the name suggests, it’s a mix of flavours that are happily explored. The tempeh takes its inspiration from a western-style roast, yet presented in true Balinese style – chunks of roasted vegetables laid out in a sequence aside grilled tempeh and cheeks of lime. The sauce comes in a vessel so it’s the diner who can combine the flavours whichever he or she desires.

There’s a small spot in our tummies for dessert and the traditional Balinese favourite bubuh injin is the undisputed choice. It’s a dish comprising a big dollop of sticky black rice layered with delectable coconut cream and a sprig of mint. This dessert is gloriously thick, rich and sweet as it goes down a treat. The same goes for the date rolls, delicately plated in the middle of a heart shaped out of palm sugar.

We’re farewelled warmly and encouraged to return soon. It’s a strong possibility we will, given that our meals, including drinks, only cost us the equivalent of $35 Australian dollars. As Manik Organik’s tagline insists – “it’s all good.”       

Try to goodness at Manik Organik for yourself. Jl. Danau Tamblingan 85, Sanur, Bali. Phone: +62.361 8553380.

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