Restaurant Review: Sage, Ubud in Bali
There’s no doubt that Ubud is Bali’s culture capital; the town is steeped in art, tradition and nature. The area boasts some amazing eateries, but for me, the one restaurant that most captured the spirit of Ubud was Sage, a small vegan, teetotal establishment on the outskirts of town.
The restaurant is small and has simple décor but that adds to their relaxed vibe. It’s not cluttered and celebrates natural resources by using beautiful wooden tables and lots of greenery, as well as huge windows which let in lots of light. In some ways this attitude spreads to the menu: there’s not a huge choice but everything there is special, boasts natural flavours and is all very appetising!
In true Balinese style, diners are asked to take off their shoes before entering. They’re so bohemian they don’t even have a website, just a Facebook page. The cutlery is served in bundles with inspirational notes attached, similar to fortune cookies and not as cliché. The dress code is come as you are and on the night that my boyfriend and I dined, there was a real mixture of people eating from young families to couples and even a few solo business workers.
In my opinion, a vegan restaurant is only as successful as its vegetables, which is perhaps why Sage has its own allotment. Well, two actually. And what’s more, you can taste the freshness. The menu is fun and doesn’t belong to one particular cuisine but features a range of dishes with a mixture of global influences.
To start we shared a Lady Killer salad – no, I’m not entirely sure how it earned that name! That being said, it was delicious-very simply it was a huge bowl of wilted kale topped with a homemade tahini dressing, sprinkled with seeds and olives. The sauce was creamy and packed with flavour and I felt like a Victoria’s Secret model after we’d finished. However, this feeling faded slightly when our mains arrived and completely vanished after one mouthful of dessert.
For my main, I had the nourish bowl, and it did indeed leave me feeling full of goodness. Just like our starter, the ingredients used were fresh and local, although this time marinated in a garlic sauce.
Rhys opted for the hula burger; there was no meat in sight, but I challenge any meat lover to try it and dislike it. It was packed with flavour, topped with grilled pineapple and served with delicate beetroot crisps.
We also ordered a side of ‘facon’ aka veggie bacon. The chefs at Sage bravely claimed they could create a bacon substitute in the form of tempeh and, boy oh boy, did they deliver. I’d go as far as saying it’s better than bacon. Yes, really. It was salty and smoky with the same tender yet chewy texture.
We were surprisingly full at the end of our mains, but our waiter twisted our arm when he stated that they do the best coconut cake in town. This is a big claim considering most restaurants offer coconut cake. Even more amazing is the fact that Sage don’t use eggs! But again, they delivered the goods. It was fluffy, sweet and light with a delicate marzipan flavour. The icing was mousse-like in texture and I could have licked the plate clean.
If I lived close to Sage I’d visit as often as possible, but, seeing as I’m a 22hour flight away, I’m urging them to release a cookbook!
Although there’s no alcohol on the menu, they have a great selection of drinks. We both opted for mocktails which were thirst quenching and rather funky in appearance. Think bright-pink coconut water topped with a slice of melon.
On paper, this restaurant doesn’t scream luxury, but, in my opinion, Sage epitomises Ubud; it’s bohemian, relaxed vibe compliments their simple but delicious menu. Too often my holidays leave me bloated from too much alcohol and rich food, however eating here is the perfect antidote to that. It still feels special and is a must visit, for carnivores as well as herbivores!
Address: Jl. Nyuh Bulan No. 1, Banjar Nyuh Kuning, Ubud, MAS, Gianyar, Kabupaten Gianyar, Bali 80571, Indonesia / +62 361 976528