Rock Bar, Ayana Resort and Spa, Jimbaran Bay
Words by Kirsten Durward
Photos by The Yum List (Monica Tindall)
No matter which list of top bars you consult, you will find Rock Bar, Jimbaran, Bali in the ranking. Often voted as best sunset venue in Bali, friends and colleagues have raved about it as being ‘unmissable’. And... everyone we have asked on our quest to find the five best bars in Bali has it on their list too. So we are excited to take the cable car down the towering cliff face to see what all the fuss is about.
Considering the crowds that come, there is no sense of feeling cramped or rushed in this spacious location. Perfectly placed for the sunset, we enjoy the spectacular views and chilled out atmosphere. We experience the stimulation of all our senses as waves crash on the beach below, merging with chilled Bali beats, salty fresh air tingles the skin, and fading silver sunlight glitters on the water, sparking off the flecks of white foam. Upbeat and sensually relaxing we are totally ready for cocktails and tapas.
Built into rocky enclaves facing out to sea, this is surely one of the most dramatic bar settings in the world. Innovative design by Yasuhiro Koichi expands on the character and formation of the rock, hovering 14 metres above the waves and exploiting Ayana’s 1.3 kilometres of coastline.The natural rock textures echo in the slate edifice of the main bar and subtle woven basketry of the seating nooks. There is a corner for everyone, smart or casual; all are welcomed by smiling servers ready to meet your every need.
The quirky, yet elegant cylindrical tower of a menu will get your mouth watering with the plethora of Rock Favourites, Rock Stars and Rock Classics. Mmmmmhh, I can’t wait to try one myself. We’re anxious to take advantage of the beautiful light to show off these sensational sounding drinks with Monica’s careful photography.
The Rock Stars (IDR 150000++)
We feel it is incumbent on us to give our readers a tantalizing taste of the four Rock bar signature drinks.
Rock My World is a potent combination with a citrus sharp edge of Kaffir lime. Vodka, Grand Marnier with pineapple orange and grapefruit juice blend into this marvelous mix.
Spiced Rock has a predominating note of ginger and a big kick from the Belvedere Vodka and Orange Curacao. Fresh Orange, Lime, Rosemary and Wild honey are the complementary notes.
Rockito is the house twist on a classic mojito, with orange, lemon and Grand Marnier replacing tequila and lime. I love the beautiful clear taste of the passion fruit that has been infused into this drink.
The brainchild of Rock Bar mixologist Dan, Burnt Orange Chocopolitan is the star drink of the night for both of us. Featuring Kinta Mani Orange Jelly, from oranges uniquely grown in the highlands of Bali, where the few remaining plantations are rapidly being taken over by more lucrative coffee growing, you may have to make a quick future visit to enjoy this baby. Dan tells us he got the idea from his mum, who loves to watch Sex in the City and he developed this drink for her, Bali style. His inspiration won him Best Vodka based drink at the Idiageo World Class Challenge. We love the subtle tastes and slippery texture of this original concoction and call it the unmissable drink.
We’d love to describe all the drinks on the menu in our journey to discover why Rock Bar rates just so highly on the lists of best bars and best beach bars in the world, but that would be madness. So we ask the bar team for their recommendations and personal favourites. It turns out to be a wonderful selection.
Recommended Rock Favourites (IDR 150000++)
I’ve been longing to try the Punch Rock, and it doesn’t disappoint. With dark rum, pineapple and orange bitters, it has a mellow taste with a light spice of ginger and a slightly buzzy fizz on my tongue. Sip gently with friends!
Spa on the Rock is ruby red and looks brimmingly tempting. On sipping I taste berry flavours with a decent kick of vodka in this lusciously textured drink.
Recommended Rock Classics (IDR 140000++)
Frozen Margarita Lychee is sweetly mellow, frozenly melty and creamy on the tongue. It is a tipsy sorbet for sweeter toothed drinkers.
The dark and light striations in Toblerone mimic the rock textures once more. The chocolately coffee milky tastes of Kahlua and Baileys make this the dessert drink of the night.
Readers might wonder how we are going to stagger home after all of this tasting, but we have also been spoiled with a range of bar snacks and tapas. Freshly made to order and arriving surprisingly quickly. There are even delectable desserts, catching the attention our sweet tasting minds…
Chicken Pop Corn (IDR 85000++) is served with Herbed Olive Oil and Spiced Dukkah. The savoury and crispy chicken nuggets are great to dip, and we love the Dukkah.
I’m a sushi fan so I love the tropical twist on a California Maki (IDR 80000++) with Spiced Pineapple and Marinated Tuna. The black sesame encrusted rolls are moist, fat and fresh.
Edamame (IDR 55000++) is served Singaraja Fleur de Sel, Cepes Olive oil and Crushed Bedugal Black Pepper. We find the salty crunch topping to be a great twist and very moreish as we nibble throughout the night.
Goon Sarong (IDR 95000++) are prawn spring rolls with a crispy light outer and a juicy tender inner. Dip in Sweet Chilli Sauce for a great bar snack. Munch Munch!
In contrast Rock Lobster Spring Rolls (IDR 80,000++) are served soft rice paper style with a sweet Indonesian Tamarind Glaze. We love these and quarrel over who gets the third one. Monica wins.
Chilled Soba Noodles (IDR 60,000++) with coconut froth and zucchini mash is not something I would have picked off a menu, but Monica does, and I love it, which just goes to show; always keep an open mind and try anything! These are light and slippery with a sour creamy hit to the back of the throat. Yummy!
Crispy Taquitos (IDR 50,000++) are spicy filo cheese rolls, reminding me of Turkish cigarillo bore. The originality of the smooth and limey Edamame Guacamole is a hit with Monica. Order this if you like a slightly spicier taste to your snack.
Pearls of Passion (IDR 60,000++) are bombs of white chocolate passion fruit truffles. A firm sweet shell crumbles in your mouth melting into an explosive hit of passion fruit. Mmmmmmm…
The visual star of the night is Chocolate Mousse Cigar and Port Marinated Berries (IDR 70,000++). It’s a humorous presentation that will give you a chuckle before you pick up your cigar and dip it in the crystalised salt and scoop up those alcohol soaked berries. It tastes scrumptious too!
Reasons to visit: sensational setting, wide range of original cocktails and tapas, Award Winning Chocopolitan!
AYANA Resort and Spa
Jl. Karang Mas Sejahtera
Jimbaran, Bali 80364, Indonesia
+62 (0) 361 702222