Puri Ganesha is one of those truly special places where you’ll feel at home as soon as you arrive. If you are looking for peace, a chance to escape from it all and some of the most innovative, delicious and healthy food you’ll eat on your travels then Puri Ganesha, on the beautiful paradise island of Bali, might well be the answer to your dreams. Puri Ganesha ‘Homes by the Beach’ is located in North West Bali, a world away from the busy tourist areas in the South. This is a real retreat where you can experience first rate cuisine in a unique location.
There are plenty of things to do at Puri Ganesha, one of our new favourite places on the planet. Spend days staring at the sea, lounging in the library, relaxing by the pool and of course eating deliciously nutritious vegan food. By night you can soak up more of the tranquility and you have the added bonus of a sky filled by the the moon and the stars, we could easily lose a month here.
A place to indulge all of your senses
With just four exquisite villas with up to three bedrooms and each with a private pool, this is truly a place that indulges all of your senses. Everywhere you look there are pretty things to feast your eyes upon (a foregone conclusion in a place that was created by a former interior designer).
The design of the resort is a cool shabby chic, with flashes of painted wood colour in beautiful greens and pinks in the library, spa and restaurant. Elsewhere colour comes from scatter cushions with beautiful patterns and an abundance of tropical flowers; even the napkins at mealtimes seem to be making a beautiful statement.
Then there is the ever present ocean view (best enjoyed from our oceanside day bed) where the sound of the lapping waves became the continuous soundtrack to our stay. Accompanied by birds and the hum of insects, then the distant call to prayer from the nearby local village it was a true pleasure to tune in and just listen.
Discreet and friendly service awaits you
We slept exceptionally well during our stay, relaxing in our comfortable 4 poster bed and waking up to the sun rising over the sea, only to fall asleep again in a blissfully lazy indulgence. When we finally decided to get up and go downstairs, we were always greeted by a friendly face of one of the staff team. Someone always seemed to be on hand but they were so discreet that you’d never knew they were there. Having stayed in a number of hotels and resorts that have personal staff and butlers, we know how hard this skill is to perfect but they’ve certainly got it right at Puri Ganesha.
Amazing luxury villas with huge private pools
Our two story villa was huge, as was our private pool and our little slice of this exclusive resort. The lawn stretched down to the sea and the sea stretched out across our whole view making the most perfect backdrop. The doors to our bedroom opened up onto a wrap-around balcony meaning we could lay in our four poster bed with nothing but the sea breeze and our sprawling lawn between us and the ocean.
This is definitely our kind of bliss
At night we sat outside after dinner, occasionally taking a dip in the pool which stayed warm from the sun, you can hear nothing but the sounds of the waves and the nocturnal insects. We gazed at the moon and watched shooting stars, we kid you not this is not some slushy promo we’ve been paid to write, this is actually what happens at Puri Ganesha.
The Vegan Food
Our first taste of the vegan food at Puri Ganesha was a welcome chocolate cake, served with tea in the library. As British people we couldn’t really have a better welcome than tea, cake and entertaining conversation with our host, owner of the resort, author and raw food pioneer, Diana von Cranach.
A vast choice of vegan food
There is a huge choice of vegan food on offer, with local flavours and dishes well represented alongside a few more western styled options. Guests can choose to dine in their villa (indoors or poolside in the outdoor dining room), in the restaurant or the library and whichever location you choose you’ll be treated to panoramic views of the ocean.
Exceptionally delicious, locally inspired, vegan breakfasts
Every day breakfast was full of delicious surprises. We ate avocado toast where the avocado was smashed with so many different herbs and spices that we lost count (but it was oh so tasty). There was additional protein from green peas and it was all served on a multi seed black bread from a local baker.
The ‘Nasi Kuning’ included several delicious elements; delicious turmeric rice, some sweet spicy tempeh, potato cakes, rice noodles, a fragrant and spicy chilli sambal and crispy spiced shredded coconut.
There were also all kinds of juices and smoothies from healthy green concoctions to sweet tropical fruit delights.
We loved the Nepali lentil curry, packed with lentils, topped with homemade tangy coconut yoghurt and accompanied by red rice and a tasty sweet and sour chutney. Diana has travelled all over this part of the world sharing recipes and ideas with local chefs and bringing back her own healthy versions of their cuisine (her ‘Rawfully Good’ cookbook is full of recipes from these travels).
Even classic dishes like ‘Nasi Goreng’ (essentially Indonesian fried rice) were exciting at Puri Ganesha. Made with nutty red rice, served with strips of tempeh, a spicy fresh sambal and full of vegetables. And if you want something a little more Western for breakfast, there were options like oats, granola and pancakes (served with apple sauce) too. We can confirm the pancakes were a lovely treat.
Lunches packed full of vegetables and imagination
Expect more delicious food at lunchtime like a green soup served inside a coconut. We asked about the ingredients, “We put the kitchen sink in there”, is the answer we got which is proof that the imaginative food is created freshly with the ingredients of the day. Served in a roasted coconut, it was full of greens and super healthy bitter gourd. The broth was made with coconut milk and ‘Bali spice paste’ and it was served with lemongrass sambal and cassava chips.
We also loved the raw green cold soup, garnished with herbs and edible flowers and served with a dehydrated cracker. It was light, tart, nourishingly green and definitely going to be one of the things we try to recreate at home.
It really was wonderful
If you visit, you should definitely try the best gado gado salad we’ve ever eaten, a unique mixture of ferns, pumpkin, cucumber, beans, cabbage, beansprouts and goodness know what else with nut cheese balls and tofu cubes placed neatly throughout. Served with a side of the delicious freshly pounded satay sauce, it was one of those dishes that makes us want to return just so we can eat it again.
Perfect vegan dinners to end perfect days
Dinner menus at Puri Ganesha are created daily (as in dishes actually crafted from scratch as per the daily inspiration from what is fresh from the local market) and were left in our villa for us to peruse at our leisure.
On day 1 our first course was a delicious mix of spinach, long beans and avocado which were tossed together with sesame. The green spinach leaves had an amazing texture that was strong enough to hold the dressing without wilting into mush and there was an iron richness which we could almost feel working its nutritional magic with every mouthful. Next we were served a traditional ‘Pepes Sayur’ but not like any we have been served before. The flavours were natural, a mix of vegetables with nutty tempeh which had been grilled in a banana leaf, served with a perfect cone of coconut rice and a tasty tomato chilli sambal (housed in a mini banana leaf basket).
We ate this sambal often during our stay and very much fell in love with it
Dinner on day two introduced us to a vegan ‘soto’, basically a supercharged vegan version of a popular traditional Indonesian soup. Filled with greens, potato, beansprouts, mushrooms, a broth that was full of umami and a sizeable spinach rice ball sat in the middle which satisfyingly collapsed into the soup when attacked with our spoons.
We also ate ‘ulam’ a green filled rice salad with bitter gourd, herbs, giant beans and a sambal on the side. Crispy chilli shallots and coconut sprinkle with a ginger flower sambal. This is the kind of food that your body thanks you for but so does your heart because it’s just so delicious.
Cashew cheese stuffed wontons in a tart curry sauce that was full of lime juice showed just how inventive the food is at Puri Ganesha. A true East-meets-West creation, wonton skins had been stuffed with a herbed cashew cheese then served with a sour mild curry sauce. It was reminiscent of a plate of ravioli but with an Asian twist that made it so much lighter to eat.
And dessert lovers need not worry, there were also delectable sweet choices to finish off every meal. Banana fritters like none we’ve ever eaten, with a crispy chewy batter, lemony banana inside and a palm sugar syrup. Traditional balinese pancakes stuffed with grated coconut that has been drenched in dark treacly palm sugar syrup.
Learn from the professionals
Guests can also learn to cook some of the food they have been eating with Diana and one of her right hand men, Chef Gade in the open air cooking school, one of our favourite places in the resort. It was set up around a large wooden table, surrounded by cabinets full of spice mixes to fuel your imagination and appetite. It had an old school apothecary feel with the promise that something magical was about to happen.
We learnt how to make a proper Balinese spice paste, some of the fragrant and spicy sambals that we’d been eating and a rich peanutty satay sauce. It was fascinating to hear about local flavours and culinary practices and it made us secretly vow to be less lazy in the kitchen at home.
Our cooking class was an amazing opportunity to learn from people who had so much knowledge and skill and we learned about some of the true basics of Balinese cooking.
The Vegan Essentials
The amenities are made with honey and coconut so not vegan but the uber comfy pillows were already non-feather.
The spa is another beautiful little part of Puri Ganesha and it offers many vegan treatments including a vegetable wrap hair treatment as well as the famous (and wonderfully relaxing) Balinese massage.
The Vegan Food Quest Verdict
Check in to Puri Ganesha for a truly unique Balinese experience where we guarantee you won’t want to leave. Find your perfect peace, drink in ocean views and dine on some of the most fabulous, healthy, imaginative and beautiful vegan food you’ll come across on your travels.
Don’t forget to book a cooking course to learn some of the secrets of this delicious cuisine.
This place is not to be missed
We were guests of Puri Ganesha but please rest assured that their generosity in hosting us didn’t influence our views
Telephone: +62 812 393 2984
Cost From: £190 / $250 per night (November 2017)