Our lunch at Locavore is coming to an end. This Balinese farm-to-fork restaurant from Dutch-born chef Eelke Plasmeijer in the town of Ubud has delighted with delicious dish after delicious dish – each paired with cocktails that are out of this world. The Papuan crab with cured kampung egg yolk and jasmine flowers, for example, is served alongside a mixture of homemade jasmine soda, dry sake, Angostura bitters, brandy and pickled bangkuang (the edible root of the jicama vine). A spin on the Corn ’n’ Oil cocktail – turmeric, wild honey, tamarind, gin, coconut, bitters and kemangi (lemon basil) – is wonderful with gurame fish, tamarind and beans.
Not wanting to leave, we are enthused to learn that Plasmeijer and his team have just opened a bar a stone’s throw from the stylish green-and-teak-clad restaurant. We stumble into the hairdryer heat of Ubud – where teams of Eat Pray Love groupies wander around in search of their zen. A side street and an unassuming door provide a far less spiritual – but to my eye far more enjoyable – diversion. Night Rooster is perched above a general store, and is a place where science and gastronomy meet spirits. We take a pew on the balcony in the falling dusk, taking in the handsome ironwood floor and cherrywood doors that lend a colonial air, before perusing the decidedly modern drinks menu.
Here head barman Raka infuses, melds and muddles his own concoctions; my Almost There (Rp130,000, about £8) is a heady punch of tamarillo mixed with raw honey, kemangi leaves, bourbon, rum, burnt cassia bark and basil blossom. Also tempting are the spicy-sounding Loloh 2.0 (about £7.50), combining Havana Club rum with ginger, turmeric, mint and lime, and the smoky Ashes (about £8), with vodka, rye whiskey and “blowtorched fruit, served on a “rock pine forest mist”. The expats at a table inside are all swilling back Nee-Gronis (about £8), with Tanqueray No Ten, lime juice and sweet vermouth, and devouring tomato and cheese tostis (about £3.30) and prawn dogs (about £4.50) that, given our generous lunch, we have no room for.
Instead, we watch the world go by, eventually seeking out the sweeter and naughtier end of the drinks menu. The Eggnut (about £8) marries vanilla-infused egg white with bourbon, scotch and pineapple; the sharp hit of spirited grain hits the back of the throat, but is soothed by the white creamy foam. Warmed by the homegrown spirits – and the general good mood – we find ourselves unmoved at 10pm, enjoying this most unpretentious and friendly bar, with its welcome respite from the heat and treasure-seeking hordes of tourists outside.