The concept is simple, but rather brilliant for any wine lover. Every week there is a theme and Antoine selects five wines on that theme. You can choose to taste one, three or five of those wines while relaxing in the outside terrace with some live music in the background. But if you really want to get under the wineskin then we highly recommend journeying into the cosy recess of the Divine wineshop. Here you will benefit from the knowledge and enthusiasm of the resident wine expert who talks through the background behind that week’s theme and each wine, which are individually matched to canapés.
Witty and engaging, Antoine takes you on a grape journey that is as entertaining as it is informative. But it’s not just the wine that will keep you coming back to Bridges, although it’s enough in itself. The surroundings have evolved with the village of Ubud over many years, firstly as Bridges Café and more recently as a fine dining restaurant. Situated just across the bridge (where else?) from the centre of Ubud, a kilometre from the palace, the building has several levels offering a multi-layered ambience.
It is to one of the lower levels containing the main restaurant that we descend, our appetites well and truly whetted with wine and knowledge, to take our place for dinner. Below street level, the balcony setting looks over the river but is mainly a vista of palm trees and other lush, green foliage. Bridges classes itself as casual fine dining and it’s a concept that fits Bali like a hand in a glove; excellent food and exemplary service in a laidback setting. Bravo.
WHET YOUR APPETITE
As you’ve probably worked out by now, if you like wine this is a good place to go. But it’s not all about the liquid; the food is excellent. too The menu is select and mouthwatering and decisionmaking was far from easy. Our group gorged on a variety of starters including a wonderful foie gras, seared lamb and eggplant dumplings. The favoured main was the Bridges special twice-cooked duck breast lightly dressed with five-spiced soy sauce. The quality didn’t come as a surprise but the volume did with an unexpectedly generous portion. Chocolate espresso lava cake was a twist on a perennial Essential Bali favourite and there was just time, and just room, to fit a cheese selection complete with nut and apple toast, sliced fruits, toasted mixed nuts, date purée and vanilla-infused honey.