FRV Travel visits one of bali’s not so secret dining gems and chats with one of the proprietors and motors behind the restaurant’s success. Text by David Trauts
Down on the corner of ever busier Oberoi Road and Jalan Kayu Aya, and opposite the now equally bustling Seminyak Square, can be found The Junction, one of the quiet achievers of the Bali restaurant scene. This restaurant, which has been operating since 2008, was a pioneer in the recycled, natural look when it opened, but one of its greatest attributes is its incredibly tasty food. Quiet and unassuming behind its facade of washed back, white timber plank exterior, the dishes on offer inside are possibly one of the greatest secrets in town; and if you haven’t tried it’s definitely time you did.
According to owner Driss Tabakkalt and his wife Patricia Govaers, also known as Chef Nora, who are both also involved in other ‘Eats Street’ standards, Khaima and Cafe Bali, one of the reasons for the success of The Junction is that while the restaurant is simple, it supplies answers to many questions. “If you want to eat Asian we have it, if you want to eat light we have salads, if you want Western we have European dishes. We offer a fresh atmosphere, it’s open-air, air-conditioned and bright,” says Moroccan-descended, Belgian-born Driss.
Chef Nora has spent many hours refining the tastes and abundant flavours found in each dish at The Junction and those flavours just about jump off the plate, they are so fresh and healthy. It’s a great menu for both lunch and dinner, consisting of a large variety of salads, sandwiches, gallette and crepe, and main courses of meats and seafood. The French language can be heard all over the restaurant during the busy lunch time period as customers who obviously know their food flock in to savour the dishes. By night time the atmosphere becomes more seductive and the dishes more exclusive, but without the hefty price tag of some fine restaurants.
“One of the problems we have here,” starts Driss, “is that the menu is now so good and well refined that we find it difficult to change anything on it. Like any restaurant you want to upgrade the menu occasionally, but while I’m talking about this to regulars they say, ‘No, no, you can’t take that off, or you can’t take this off’ and in the end you realise that everybody is telling you that you can’t change a thing.” Driss believes they have hit on a winning recipe with The Junction menu. “You know sometimes in life, similar to something like Coca Cola, but by no means as grandiose, someone creates a recipe, and for some reason that nobody can explain it works wherever you go. This is what I think about this Junction menu, the concept could work anywhere and they will all love it.”
Things have changed rapidly on Jalan Oberoi ‘Eats Street’ over the past ten years. Many fine operators have moved in and set up shop creating myriad choices of eateries on all levels from high to low. When The Junction first opened there was hardly anything going on down that end of Oberoi Road at all, but look at it now. Right there on that crossroads it is now like the epicentre of the whole town, buzzing at all hours with people from all parts of the world. This unassuming restaurant on the corner has definitely made its mark and if you haven’t discovered it yet, for either lunch or dinner, we recommend it is time you did.
The corner of Jl. Laksmana and Kayu Aya,
Tel: +62 361 735610