Poppies Restaurant – September 19, 2016

Opened way back in 1973 when there were still coconut groves separating Kuta and Legian, Poppies is a cosy throwback to the kind of Kuta restaurant that I remember from my first trips to Bali many moons ago. This most original of Kuta eateries is full of the kind of charm that is fast disappearing from the ‘new Bali’, and is the reason Poppies Lane is called Poppies Lane.
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Stepping through the almost hidden doorway up the top of Poppies 1 is like going through some kind of time warp. Let the old style ambience and classic jazz wash over you in this little oasis of tranquility amidst the bustle of Kuta. Solid wooden chairs and antique furnishings are scattered throughout the garden area, and compliment the tastefully old-fashioned décor. Numerous ponds and fountains provide a calming air, while friendly waiters pad to and fro along the interconnecting pathways between tables – some of whom have been working here since the beginning. Open all day, Poppies boasts an all-encompassing menu that takes in breakfast, lunch and dinner, with both Indonesian and international fare that has been perfected by longtime chef Agung, who divides his time between Poppies and sister restaurant Kopi Pot back up on Jl. Legian.
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Although it’s been almost a year time since I last visited Poppies, the welcoming smiles of the staff and nostalgic familiarity of an ‘old school’ Bali eatery instantly makes me feel like I was just here yesterday. A friend and I grab a spot in the garden bale and quickly order up a couple of refreshing Poppies Lime Sodas (20k++) happy to be enjoying the retro vibe. We get stuck right into a plate of the excellent Rocket Salad (57k++) that incorporates soft avocado, crunchy pear and walnuts doused in a classic blue cheese dressing. It’s a perfectly simple, satisfying appetizer, and gets the thumbs up all round. We also share out a portion of the classic Garlic Prawns (69k++) – simply divine, doused in the garlic butter and spread across soft slices of brown bread. For the mains, I tuck into the Pasta Arribiata (69k++), which is done to al-dente perfection and comes with a nice hit of chilli. The flavours are perfectly balanced and it’s impossible to fault, although I do feel a mild twinge of food envy when my friend’s Seafood Kebabs (112k++) show up. Served on two skewers atop a traditional sate mini barbeque, the mix of squid, fish and prawns is absolutely spot-on. A side of good ol’ chips, salad and marinara sauce adds the final touches.
Plates duly scraped clean, we decide to split a portion of the enormous Home Baked Mango Pie (39k++) to finish up on a sweet note. We’re not disappointed – the crumbly pastry, cinnamon dusting and in-season mango filling is an absolute winner, and we both leave feeling rather chuffed to have rediscovered this classic haven in the heart of Kuta.
Dan Ashcroft
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Poppies Restaurant
Poppies Lane 1
751 059
www.poppiesbali.com

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