In Thailand one often comes across heaped trays of fried grasshoppers as you twist your way through the hoards of street food vendors. They are wok-fried, and are supposed to be crunchy and delicious, but I have never been tempted. Maybe in future?
Having just returned from Bangkok, I half expected to see Fried Dragonflies on the menu of this quaintly named newcomer to Ubud. I was relieved to discover that they were not on the menu, so I did not have to try them after all.
Whilst the menu at Dragonfly does have many Asian touches it is really best described as modern International.
Dragonfly is open for breakfast with a healthy muesli (yoghurt and honey), egg dishes (scrambled with home fries or a Benedict with smoked salmon), American pancakes (banana and blueberries, banana and pecans or plain blueberry) and vegetarian Tofu Veggie Scramble.
The entrees at Dragonfly take you on a gastronomic journey around the world. A Mezze plate from Greece (hummus, tabouleh, falafel, cucumber salad and pita bread); from Mexico, Quesadillas (tortillas covered with melted cheese, salsa and guacamole) with or without chicken pieces, and Nachos (corn chips, guacamole, beans, melted cheese and salsa). Closer to home, there is martabak from Muslim Asia (vegetables sauteed with herbs between layers of egg pastry), Japanese Endamame Dumplings (steamed soy bean and spinach dumplings) and Fresh Vietnamese Paper Rolls (prawns wrapped in fresh damp rice paper with fragrant mint leaves, coriander and basil thrown in for good measure).
The Avocado Prawns are very International, as are the Spicy Chicken Wings. An Asian Tasting Plate combines tasting portions of four items. For something different to pick at whilst sipping your drink, try the Deli Plate - a selection of six different cheeses, three varieties of olives, caperberries, anchovies and sun-dried tomatoes.
The soups at Dragonfly include a real Spanish Gazpacho, a traditional Indonesian Soto Ayam (chicken with glass noodles and herbs) and a Thai inspired Pumpkin (coconut milk and ginger).
No menu today seems to be able to escape the Caesar, and this one is no exception. However, their Pomelo and Prawn Salad has all the tastes of Thai (hot, sour, sweet and salty) in one dish. Very refreshing! A Vietnamese Chicken Salad combiners shredded chicken with cabbage and herbs,
The list of Mains is small but varied, and includes a few interesting dishes, both Indonesian and International in origin. Ayam Taliwang must be Lombok's most famous export. There are many versions but I seem to like them all, including this one.
L-R: Vietnamese Chicken Salad, Seafood Pasta and Martabak.
The Chef's Curry combines vegetables (white eggplant, broccoli and capsicum) with your choice of chicken or tempeh. The curry with tempeh is a vegetarian option, as is the Skewered Vegetables (eggplant, mushrooms and red capsicum, doused in a herb vinaigrette).
Pumpkin Gnocchi is served with a sauce that has the distinctive taste of Italy's gorgonzola cheese. Rosemary Chicken is breast meat coated with that pungent herb - a perfect combination. If you prefer, you can have your chicken barbequed in the form of two large plump chicken drumsticks.
The Seafood Laksa is full of noodles and a variety of seafood in a well-spiced coconut curried broth. Grilled Prawns are threaded on sticks of lemongrass, and Dragonfly's Seafood Platter (called Ubud on the Beach Grill) includes prawns, white fish and calamari, served with yellow rice, kangkung pelecing and sambals. The wonderful Seafood pasta combines tri-colour fettuccini with shrimps, calamari and snapper, tossed in a spicy tomato sauce.
The friendly but professional waiters actually seem happy to be working there and that always rubs off on the customers as well. Very reasonable prices make this another welcome spoke in the wheel of Ubud's ever-increasing dining options. There are so many professionally-run good-value restaurants in Ubud now that the place is seriously challenging the Seminyak-Kerobokan area as Bali's best restaurant area. It always had the top-end quality restaurants but now it is getting the good value places as well.
And the only Dragonfly is on the logo!
Jln. Dewi Sita,
Tel: (62-361) 972.973
Open: Breakfast/Brunch from 8.00 a.m. Lunch/Dinner till 11.00 p.m., daily
Price: $30 for two (+ drinks)
This is an abridged version of the full review that appears on the BaliEats web site, Bali's comprehensive restaurant guide: www.balieats.com