Hippie Fish Ubud is not a typical Ubud ‘thing’, I thought at first. Bringing a nautical theme, instead of the teak wooden and classic style that Ubud is proud of, this Mediterranean restaurant takes a risky job of moving a beachside café and restaurant vibe to the middle of Ubud, right in the central area, only a few steps from the famous Ubud Palace and Ubud traditional Market. Yet, I find it cool! It looks like a break space from the green, magical and healing charm of Ubud, without the need of leaving the town.
Because of work-related connection, I was invited to visit the restaurant which just opened its door last December 2018. I was curious and keen to find out more about this place. My direct contact was unable to greet me in person, and he suggested me to meet Edo, one of the team members who hold a managerial role for the restaurant’s operational. Well, that’s fine. So, on a calm Saturday, I drove all the way from Denpasar to Ubud for this intriguing visit.
Seeing Hippie Fish from Ubud Market view, the façade is striking, outstanding from the surroundings. Triangle-shaped thatched roofs give shade to the combination of soft blue, white, and brown interior below. Close to the sidewalk is the drinking area, long bar tables, perfect for people-watching, adorned with cute swings on one side. I crossed the street and stepped into the restaurant. I mentioned to the staff that I had an appointment with Edo, and she brought me to a table where two guys were sitting and having a conversation. I expected a warm welcome and casual conversation in which I could dig more information about the restaurant. But, it was only a short introduction. Edo asked a staff to handle my visit, then he asked permission to continue the conversation with his friend, who later I knew as his partner, the chef and the man behind the menu. “Thank you. May I take a look around?” I said, putting aside the little disappointment and finding other enjoyments.
I like the vibe and ambiance the restaurant has to offer in the middle of Ubud. It has no ricefield nor jungle views that many people expect from an Ubud visit and does not need to. The open-air space with a rich element of the ocean on every corner, combined with the street and traditional Ubud market activities as enjoyable scenes, is more than enough to provide an afternoon shelter to anyone enjoying people-watching of the town’s humble and tireless daily life.
There are seashells beautifully put on each table. In the main area, in front of the bar station, a high, long wooden table paired with dozens of hanging lamps above is an Instagram spot on the day turning into a gathering table for the evening. Stepping further inside, there are two half-rounded sofa-styled tables, comfortable for hanging out about 4-6 people. Nearby, a small transparent wine room has some selections in case of needing something for celebration. Going up to the second floor, there are few tables. I will choose to sit here when in the need of privacy and put some distances from the traffic noises outside.
Back to the main area on the first floor, I ordered a cocktail, Let Your Hubby Home (Rosemary Gin, Lime, Berry, and Soda) to start the palate experience. A nice cocktail presentation with a small yellow duck floating on the top was served on my table. It’s so cute that makes me imagine the taste: fresh, light, and fun. Unfortunately, it was not. Don’t get me wrong! It was not that bad; I simply did not get it. Even after the fourth or fifth sip. I wished that it was just me, not the cocktail, for the main reason that I am not a cocktail expert at all. It’s a totally personal preference.
The next thing that came was more than a consolation but paid off, at least for me. The food I ordered, Market Fish, a choice of fillet fish and peperoncino (sambals), plus garlic spinach, pleased my palate, I can’t recommend more. I love it. It seems that Hippie Fish can be proud of the Mediterranean cuisine that they are offering. On my visit, the list of food on the menu doesn’t overwhelm me with an abundance of choices, but I hope the kitchen will provide more as more and more people coming to the restaurant.
I was still not convinced with the cocktail, but I realized that I’m not the guy to judge, and I am no longer can stand for another glass of cocktail. So, I ordered a cup of cappuccino for the dessert. It was around 5pm when the coffee was served, and I saw that this place was never empty. That day, there were always people come and go, for a beer, or a hearty meal. A couple who spent the whole afternoon at the swinging area was gone, replaced by a lady who at one point asked help from the staff to take a photo of her, demanded to repeat for several times, until she got that one Instagram shot.
After finishing the cappuccino, I spotted Edo at the bar, and I approached him to say thank you. He looked not so busy this time and unexpectedly I got some time to talk with him. A young man in his twenties, he left his country, Italy, and worked in Australia for several years before ended up on the Island of Bali. As he told his stories, I saw his phone, the screen was cracked, should be falling hard one time, the cracked lines are all over the screen, yet it was still normal and can be used normally. I imagined that I was listening to a Steve Job or Mark Zuckerberg type of business personality. He told me that it is now one and half year in Bali, and he felt so lucky and blessed because everything has come into one good moment: partners, colleagues, times, investors – now he has turned the ideas into realities with more than five café and restaurants to be managed.
“Everything is going so fast to this point, and now I need to step back a bit and slow down. Every morning, when I wake up, I asked myself, what is my purpose for life. I don’t think I have figured it out by now, so I keep asking that same question every time I wake up.” I was speechless and ashamed of myself. Every morning, the first thing I do is hitting the snooze button.