Cosy Italian Dining in Seminyak

Bali Indonesia Magazine, August 2015

Zibiru Restaurant is one of Seminyak’s great spots for Italian cuisine. Chic and cosy, it also serves as a cool evening retreat with various indoor and outdoor settings, plus a pleasant rooftop space for alfresco moments and romantic moon or starlit dinners for two. One of Seminyak’s hidden gems, Zibiru is tucked away from the main Seminyak traffic on the Jalan Drupadi side street, allowing only the soothing sounds from the nightly live band’s soul and slow jazz to accompany your dinners.

Although slightly obscured, Zibiru Restaurant’s roadside façade and elegant Italian-styled dining room with white windows is hard to miss. Loyal patrons may refer to it by its former name, Kebun Zibiru, since its opening in 2012, and later by its most recent, Zibiru Bottega & Cucina Italiana, since the opening of its new Italian wine parlour, or ‘bottega’ next door. The main dining room is homey and subtly-lit with tables arranged under an open-beam wooden ceiling. Outside, its lush garden is guarded by a family of Zibiru’s colourful mascot ceramic pigs. A staircase leads up to the secluded rooftop terrace.

We are met by chef-owner Luigi Calcagno at the bar that conceals the main kitchen. On virtually any evening, you’ll be able to bump into Chef Luigi like this and ask for his current recommendations, be it a rare new smoked fish just sent in from overseas, or his and his team’s latest innovation on the menu. You can forget the boring basics like Spaghetti Bolognese! Luigi’s menu at Zibiru Restaurant introduces you to some of his favourite home recipes, as well as flavours of Italy’s various regions. And it’s not all Italian, with some bits of French cooking thrown in, too.

Fresh local catches alongside imported fish and meats, home-baked breads, and pastas crafted from scratch daily make up Zibiru’s menu items. Chef Luigi also passionately explains that the organic veggies are harvested from Zibiru’s own environmentally-positive farm in the central Bali highlands. Our dinner starts off with his personal recommendation: a flavoursome smoked fish Carpaccio that has been cured with herbs and black pepper for two days straight, prepared fresh and tender and served with French bread toast.

From the drink list, we opt for Zibiru Tea, a refreshing blend of ginger, lemongrass, cinnamon and rosella (IDR 40,000), while Italian libations to try include Sbagliato, a combination of martini rosso, Campari and Prosecco wine (IDR 105,000). Our Tagliata Rugula come as juicy slices of imported tenderloin prepared ‘a la sous vide’ medium rare, resting atop a bed of rocket salad and with strips of Parmigiano-Reggiano (IDR 236,000). For something simple but truly tasty, try the Carpaccio di Piovra, thinly-sliced octopus topped with fennel, pineapple, thyme, pine nuts and a lemon emulsion (IDR 90,000).

Soups and greens are all fresh and wholesome, as are the pastas with favourites that include the Caramelle, fresh-tasting candy-shaped pasta filled with ricotta cheese and spinach in a homemade sage butter sauce and topped with parmesan cheese. The selection of Italian desserts will keep your sweet tooth satisfied. Avoiding the usual panna cotta, gelato and tiramisu, we go for Zibiru’s signature Sorbetto al Limone, aka ‘lemon sorbet’ (IDR 60,000), which comes served in a hollowed full-size lemon, and each spoonful leaves a cool, zesty and delicate taste on the palate.

Get here Saturdays and you’ll experience jazzy fusion rock with regular band Urban Groove interpreting great hits from the Rolling Stones, The Beatles, and Radiohead, and The Police into soothing jazzy renditions to accompany your entire evening. Read more

Zibiru Restaurant

Zibiru is an Italian restaurant in Seminyak, Bali founded by Luigi Calcagno in 2012. Zibiru offers farm to table regional cuisine in a traditional Balinese setting. Dinner 5pm - 12am. Live jazz: Wednesday, Friday, Saturday. Live opera: Thursday.