Shelter – Seminyak, Bali, IndonesiaHALAL STATUS Non-Halal menu • Vegan, veggie & fish options
Located above a juice bar in the beach resort area of Seminyak in southern Bali is Shelter, a roof top garden café whose main dining area, accessible via a short flight of stairs, offers an ambient, breezy outdoor setting that immediately catches the attention.
With adult-friendly jungle themes, complete with hanging plants and bamboo finishings, the atmosphere is relaxed and casual, with both the décor and menu matching the health conscious ethos.
The menu includes fresh foods, such as sourdough with smashed avocado, chia seed pudding, burgers topped with locally sourced free range eggs, brunch burritos, as well as a plethora of drinks and breakfast items.
Although Shelter café is not Halal, it does cater to vegetarians, vegans and all dietary restrictions, with plenty of amazing items to choose from.
RISE & SHINE
We were apprehensive about eating a vegan and gluten free buckwheat waffle. We were unsure as to whether the waffle would exhibit the same soft chewiness from the gluten variety we’re so accustomed to. That uncertainty, however, was put to rest!
Crisp on the outside and extremely moist and soft within, this waffle was light whilst also being cakey, and an absolute pleasure to eat. It tasted even better than the gluten variety of waffles that we so aptly love!
The coconut cream was creamy without being dense or heavy like its dairy nemesis, whilst the coconut palm syrup added a touch of sweetness – a necessary condiment for any waffle meal.
The berries popped in the mouth giving the dish a burst of flavour; however the presence of the almond dust and Oreos were unnecessary, adding cosmetic garnish as opposed to a real flavour profile.
Nonetheless, one of the best waffles we’ve eaten! Given that this was neither heavy nor stodgy, we felt good too about it being vegan. Light, balanced and delicious!
This dish looked aesthetically pleasing, with curried scrambled tofu atop a deep fried crunchy hash brown, served with a selection of sides like sautéed spinach, garlic mushrooms, roasted pumpkin and quinoa, as well as a quartet of condiments: smashed avocado, beetroot hummus, tomato salsa and freshly made almond butter served with a hunk of toasted sourdough bread.
We were blown away by the lightly curried tofu scramble, which had flavours of cumin, turmeric and poppy seeds. This scrambled tofu surpassed our egg dishes both in flavour and texture (think masala omlette or curried scrambled eggs). It was served atop a highly crunchy hash brown, which was a little too crunchy, but worked very well with the softness of the tofu. The two together were spectacular.
The vegetable side dishes were mediocre in comparison to the protein element of the dish. While some lacked seasoning, they all lacked depth (serving the purpose of being fillers perhaps).
The condiments too were average, with the smashed avocado lacking in seasoning; but it was evident that they were all inhouse made and fresh nevertheless. The almond butter was very dense and unspreadable. As for the beetroot houmus, then this contained no chickpeas.
Overall a filling breakfast/brunch dish. Although, we wish there was more scrambled tofu than sides!
FROM THE GARDEN
The only non vegetarian/vegan dish had at Shelter café was this tuna, whose flavour was citrusy and bold having been marinated in Japanese ponzu and other aromatics. Being so close to the sea, the tuna was extremely fresh, plump and juicy, and cut into perfect sized pieces.
The freshness of the vegetables too really brought this dish to life, partnered with their beautiful presentation. The quinoa was lukewarm, which was perfect, because a hot steamy grain would have only wilted the cucumber and salad ribbons – which nobody needs to experience!
The wasabi mayonnaise was a great addition, as it helped cut the citrusy notes of the bowl by adding creaminess, whilst adding some earthiness and managing to remind the eater of this dish’s Asian origin.
Overall a great dish, which let the fresh organic ingredients speak for themselves.
This accompaniment came served in a basket, with the cauliflower florets dredged in panko breadcrumbs and served with a basil lemon dressing. The rotundness of the cauliflowers made them look less like fries and more like cauliflower bites, if we’re being honest. They were fried to give the eater a crispy outside and soft steamed inside, resulting in a little bite – just how all vegetables should taste!
Nevertheless, we did feel that they could have done with some more seasoning both inside and outside – or even some added spice to boost the blandness of said cauliflower.
The creamy sauce was pungent enough to bring the cauliflower to life, however, being zingy, courtesy of the citrus, and earthy, thanks to the basil.
Overall, this was a good-sized accompaniment to the meal let down by the lack of seasoning.
We’re usually skeptical about vegan desserts, because they often lack creaminess or chewiness – and basically taste far too healthy, if that makes sense!
This vegan cheesecake had an Oreo base and creamy cashew nut filling; it was semi frozen when it arrived (unsure if this was intentional or not); and was neither super sweet, nor cheesy in any sense of the word.
As such, we’d be hesitant in calling this a cheesecake. Perhaps a creamy cashew tart would be more fitting. In any case, we were unable to taste the cashew filling, as the only mouth feel we got was semifredo. As a non-vegan, this cheesecake had been tampered with far too much and felt unindulgent, bland and too healthy, just as we’d feared!
COFFEE & TEA
The menu showed a plethora of drinks ranging from smoothies to charcoal chai teas, and matcha lattes. We went in to try the new millennial favourites – organic island charcoal chai with almond milk.
It arrived looking Instagram perfect, with baristas artwork atop the grey liquid; all served in a small clear glass to show that rules are there to be broken.
Unfortunately, upon first sip, all we could taste was disappointment! There was no taste of the distinct spices you would recognise in a chai – be it cinnamon, cloves or cardamom – nor was there a taste of tea either. Rather, we were left with a warm, unsweetened almond milk that tasted as grey as it looked!
INNER HEALTH SHOTS
Three shots of Tumeric, Wheatgrass and Ginger were served in small shot glasses waiting for us to be filled with vitality. Beginning with ginger, With the ginger being the strongest, we began with that and worked our way down to the mildest wheatgrass.
As suspected, the ginger was tremendously spicy, fiery and hot. So much so that we could only manage half a shot each before our collective throats began to burn and out eyes water! But, it has to be said that this was marvelously refreshing and a must drink pick-me-up if your immune system is in need of a boost!
Next came the turmeric, which was vibrantly orange in colour. The earthiness of the turmeric was overwhelming, yet wonderful to taste, which may prove a little too much for some, as it did one Lion.
As for the wheatgrass, which one of us had had previously, then this was served with an orange segment, which requires to be squeezed in the mouth immediately thereafter, as people do with tequila shots. What we got was something mild and grassy, but one which turned out to be our favourite, simply because of the addition of the zesty orange accompaniment which the others lacked.
All in all, a great pick-me-up to share with friends or to sample if on a detox or health kick.
- NO/ YES
- FREE WI-FI
Shelter café really knows how to create that health vibe even before picking up the menu to discover all those fresh vegan and vegetarian choices. We honestly struggled with what to order, the menu was that tantalising!
Although this place doesn't offer a Halal menu of sorts, there's plenty of exciting non-meat options that ought to placate any such cravings.
And a word too about the service - the wait staff are prompt to take orders and quite efficient too.
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