It was after my second visit when I was led to write about my experience, simply because the first one was a quick lunch with a colleague and I did not have much observation back then. Second time around, the cafe was less crowded since it’s the eve of Nyepi (everyone else closes shop and they didn’t join the flock, smart, eh?).
But what triggered me in the first place was when I found out that they’re currently #1 Nusa Dua restaurants on TripAdvisor. #1 babe, #1! They rose fast to being the leader of the pack. And that pack, in case you don’t know, is a pack of lions if not sharks. Fine dining restaurants in Nusa Dua tourism enclave, luxury bars and stunning dining venues by the beach, on the cliff, you name it. Secret Cafe? They don’t have all those perks.
Tucked humbly on a less popular route to Nusa Dua, Jalan Siligita exactly, the cafe is owned by Ms. Indra, a lady from Pekanbaru, Riau in the island of Sumatra. She came to Bali in 1998 and were in between jobs until last year. She was in full spirit while telling me honestly that she did not have any culinary background. She started everything from scratch. She loves food of course but did she know anything about making a proper sandwich? She rather surfs.
Her love of surfing and Bali brought her to an opportunity to approach surfers, making friends with them and eventually create something so humble, small, not big, comfy, not pretentious, Secret Cafe. The walls are adorned with surfboards, Indra’s paintings, bicycle and basically all the things that can fit in. Her furnishings are collected one at a time. She became friends with the flea market guys or just about anybody who are selling old sofa or unused fences.
On to the food. Indra said she is trying to be as simple as possible. No complicated plating. Farm-fresh veggies and all-favorite options. I must have liked my toast focaccia very much as I ordered it again for my second visit (just to be sure, just to be sure). It was amazing. The hint of mustard blended well with the ham and the crispy bites of my focaccia. It’s hearty. It’s healthy. It’s the perfect lunch, not far from where I work daytime. Ain’t it everything one can ever want?
Secret Cafe sources their coffee from Illy. Again Indra convinced me that she has no barista background. Her persistence in learning from the coffee company’s workshops is what brought her to serving proper coffee. She said, Illy is even used by the five-star hotels nearby, why wouldn’t we do the same? Made sense.
Their menu is affordable. Way too reasonable compared to a popular cafe and patisserie at a nearby four-star hotel. And don’t even compare them with Seminyak fancies. So, Indra, I’ll come back to your focaccia, surprise me with your “Today’s Menu” and I will have more of your limited edition homemade cakes yes (oh I will tell you more about Indra’s cakes next time).