Probably not the easiest place to reach, Pantai Berawa is surely not its ever-growing sisters Batu Bolong or Echo Beach, but it’s definitely a place that adds flavour to its already niche neighbourhood of Canggu. The glowing red Japanese lanterns grabbed our attention from far away, and the modern setting also piqued our curiosity furthermore – with vintage photographs of turn-of-the-century samurais, geishas, and even yakuzas on the furthest wall, a stencil murals of golden koi fish on another, and the bustling bar and kitchen behind the izakaya section of the room.
One Eyed Jack tries to emulate the izakaya theme through their well-constructed menu – helmed by chef Ralph Menchaca, an alumni of the famed Nobu restaurant chain. The idea is to have authentic izakaya-style dishes but with an escalated touch here and there that makes it more tasteful and well, memorable. We were served numerous excellent dishes that progressed from two plates of fresh salads (one of them was wonderfully balanced, set on top of wonderful slices of wagyu beef, which was the “today’s special”), a few rice cake discs with spicy salmon on top, a couple of truly divine sashimi slices (tuna and amberjack Hamachi), and then a bowl of rice that’s just unexplainably delicious called Soboro Don. That last one brought a heart-warming taste of home to our bellies. But our dinner that night was far from over. We still had a sterling soft shell crab, a few skewers of succulent yakitori (an izakaya staple) of tomatoes, shitake mushrooms, and chicken thighs, before finally wrapping things up with a perfect chocolate melt cake set with a scoop of what is probably the most delicate matcha ice cream we have ever tasted.
Clearly, when the theme is izakaya, the place must have a fine list of drinks. Their cocktail list offers some playful Japanese-themed tipples such as A Night in Roppongi, Tokyo Hustle, Yakuza Oyabun, and Memoirs of a Geisha. The house, however, recommended the bar’s favourite classic, Lychee Martini. They were delicious and it was not until it was time for dessert that we realised we had finished them all, and the guys at the bar sent us another izakaya signature: sake. Not just any sake, but mango-infused sake. Subtle, cool, light, but it sure creeps up on you after a while – which is why we adore it.
in a nutshell
Founded by the genius guys behind the already established La Finca, the basic idea of izakaya is escalated into levels that we could never have imagined here. But it was definitely for the better, because One Eyed Jack’s overall score in our book makes them the best Japanese in Bali so far.
One Eyed Jack
Jl. Pantai Berawa, Canggu
T: +62 819 9929 1888
Daily: 5 PM – 11 PM