Older Press and Reviews

Review Jan 2017 in Swedish press

For all our Swedish language friends

Culture Trip Review December 2016

From the culinary treats of Ubud to the high-class resorts of Jimbaran Bay, Bali is a foodie haven which can surprise even veteran travellers. The island’s thriving restaurant scene embodies the best elements of Balinese culture – Indonesian traditions, Western and Australian influences and an endless party atmosphere, whilst using the fruits of this tropical paradise to create unique culinary creations. Here are 10 of the best restaurants you should visit when in town.

Go to Culture Trip to read the full story

Bali and Beyond Review October 2016




Bali Asli, a “Back to Roots” Epicurean Experience by Chef Penelope Williams
9 April 2016

The Warung at Alila Villas Uluwatu invites gourmands on a flavourful journey back to South Bali’s culinary roots hosted by guest chef in residence Penelope Williams, creator and Executive Chef of Bali Asli restaurant.

“Asli” means real, true and authentic, and it is the heart of Chef Penelope’s cooking. Her restaurant, Bali Asli, lies nestled in the foothills of sacred Mount Agung, in Gelumpang village, Karangasem regency, in northeast Bali, an inspiring environment surrounded by nothing but lush rice fields. Delivering “real culinary adventures”, Bali Asli promotes Balinese cuisine and culture, embracing the local community and paying homage to the amazing produce that is farmed, fished and foraged from the surrounding land and waters.

Penelope’s menus revolve around authentic Balinese food using a traditional Balinese-style kitchen featuring wood-fired, mud brick stoves that allow the real flavours of Bali to shine, particularly the flavours unique to Karangasem. Indeed, it is this region of Bali that has captured Penelope’s heart and inspired her on this culinary path.

Born in England, Penelope immigrated to Australia with her parents at the age of 7. After finishing high school in Australia, she travelled for six months though Southeast Asia, India and Nepal. She then headed to England where she became an apprentice chef at the Savoy Hotel, building up an invaluable foundation of skills.

Upon returning to Sydney four years later, Penelope continued her career in restaurants such as Bayswater Brasserie, Restaurant 41, The Boathouse, Bather’s Pavilion and Danks Street Depot. In 2007, she was sought out by Alila Manggis in East Bali, where her time as Executive Chef opened the door to a new chapter in her life and fuelled a newfound passion for authenticity, inspired by East Bali’s rich variety of fresh, natural produce. Bali Asli is the culmination of this passion, captivating guests with a slice of Bali that is a little out of the ordinary.

In Bali, food is very regional with many variations on a theme. Celebrating this variety, Penelope will tailor the Bali Asli concept to The Warung’s southern Bali setting. Join us on a journey of rediscovery as Chef Penelope enraptures you with original dishes unique to the areas of Uluwatu and Jimbaran that have become lost amid the influx of international flavours. Rediscover the beauty and vibrancy of southern Balinese cuisine in this enthralling dining experience. Secure your seat now!
For more information or reservations please email uluwatu@alilahotels.com.

– Ends –

Authentically Asli

Hello Bali Magazine

A day trip to Bali’s lush hinterland is always a good idea, especially when a tasty meal and scenic views are involved. And so we find ourselves at Bali Asli, in the north-east of the island, not far from the evocative water palace of Tirta Gangga. With a stunning setting high on a ridge, we are treated to an idyllic tropical panorama while enjoying a feast of authentic Balinese food. Picturesque rice paddies and thick tropical forests spread out before us, ducks waddle around the fields, cows rest in the shade of papaya groves, and Mount Agung makes a majestic backdrop.

Read the full article by downloading this PDF

Treasured Island: Bali

Virgin Australia Travel

The Real Bali in Karangasem Regency
From almost any vantage point along the east-coast of Karangasem, the towering profile of Bali’s largest volcano is visible, looming imperiously over the surrounding rice terraces.
Back in 1985 when I last visited Bali as a young backpacker, it was on the cusp of change. The tranquil cultural centre of Ubud was little more than a single street with a few shops and even fewer cars.
The beach resort area of Kuta, although a hotspot for travellers, felt like a small village.
Today, those centres are awash with luxury hotels, villas and boutique shops, and the roads are often gridlocked. Even though I’ve changed too, I can’t help wondering: whatever happened to the Bali of yesteryear?

Thankfully, the answer is that it’s still there. The east-coast Karangasem area has hardly been touched, mainly due to the narrow, mountainous roads impassable for big coaches, and the black volcanic sand beaches that put off many sun-seeking tourists.


A restaurant and cooking school surrounded by green, green and more green.

Nadia Felsch visit to Bali Asli posted 18 November 2015

“On-site produce, traditional cooking techniques (woodfire) and deliciously authentic Balinese cuisine.
With a name (asli) that literally means to create something authentically Balinese, I knew that I was in for a real treat when visiting Penelope’s slice of heaven”.
Read the full review on her site right here
It’s also featured in Part Three of her Bali guide.

BaliAsli goes International!

Bali Asli visitors and guests come from literally all over the world and not least of all from the Netherlands.
This article just shows how international Bali Asli is and was spotted in a Dutch newspaper by a friend of Bali Asli.
It says, “Bali Asli is a wonderful restaurant and the host, Penelope Williams, is very friendly”.

“Expat Restaurateurs in Asia, Penelope Williams
  from Mosman NSW”

 SMH-Sunday 28 June 2015

On TripAdvisor you can read hundreds of rave reviews about Bali Asli and their cheerful executive chef Penelope Williams. Among the few critics is an expat who has lived in Bali for several years. She describes the restaurant as a place for naive tourists and her advice is to get far less expensive but good Balinese food at a local warung. There’s no accounting for taste and it’s certainly not cheap, so why would you go to Bali Asli? Let’s find out!

The mighty Mount Agung towers over Bali Asli and the view is simply stunning.

Add a new life experience to your Bali bucket list

Join Penny’s cooking class and you could add a new life experience to your Bali bucket list, because you will not only learn
about Balinese cooking but also about the local way of life that makes Bali so special.
Plus the view from the restaurant is simply stunning!

Bali Asli Cooking School,
“one of the most immersive culinary
experiences on offer”

See the full story in Asia Creative Meeting Magazine

Hirochan Group, February 2014

For the full story, visit their website.

“Off the Beaten Track”

Jetstar Inflight Magazine, February 2014

Go to the Jetstar Inflight Magazine to see the full story (PDF)

Paradise Island: Bali’s 10 Best Cultural Restaurants

The Culture Trip, November 2013

Bali Asli featured as one of the best restaurants in Bali.
From the culinary treats of Ubud to the high class resorts of Jimbaran Bay, Bali is a foodie haven which can surprise even veteran travellers. The island’s thriving restaurant scene embodies the best elements of Balinese culture; Indonesian traditions, Western and Australian influences and an endless party atmosphere, whilst using the fruits of this tropical paradise to create unique culinary creations.

Visit The Culture Trip website for full story.

THE BUD Magazine Bali

September 2013
Bali Asli

Tucked away in the highlands of east Bali is a scenic gem that is
conserving the Balinese culinary tradition. Text: Stephanie Mee.
Photos: Lucky 8.

FOR over a year now, whispers have been circulating about an almost
mythical restaurant hidden in the foothills of Mount Agung halfway
between Candi Dasa and Amed. According to those in the know, the
views from the restaurant are unrivalled in Bali, the owner is a worldclass
chef with a CV that boasts some of the top restaurants in London
and Sydney, and the food is superbly fresh and authentically

For the full story open PDF here

Bali Asli
The Age 22 May 2013

Jl Raya Gelumpang
Gelumpang Village Amlapura Karangasem

A day-trip must for foodies and those intrigued by Balinese culture. Hire a driver and aim for Candidasa then head inland. Asli means ‘authentic’ in Balinese and this is the place to experience fine local cuisine with a locavore pedigree, including the drinks list, a highlight of which was the pineapple beer. Even the cooking methods are traditional. The menu is written daily on a lontar, a palm leaf manuscript and features items you’re unlikely to find elsewhere. Set up high with views for miles and with luck Mount Agung will rise clearly in the distance.
NOTE: Open for morning tea, lunch and afternoon tea. Take a detour before or after to see the fabulous Tirta Gangga, water palace built in 1946.

Bali’s top 10 secrets

www.smh.com.au 29 April 2013

From beach clubs and aphrodisiac cocktails to sophisticated high tea, the ‘island of the Gods’ has plenty to offer travellers.
Here are Bali’s top 10 secrets, as revealed in Bali Secrets from Deck of Secrets.
Go here
for the full story

Sydney Morning Herald, Traveller 2nd March 2013

Exploring East Bali by Danielle Rossetti

Expats Living Singapore 5th February 2013

The highlight for many of us was the day we spent at Bali Asli with Australian chef Penny Williams, a former head chef at Alila Manggis. She now runs a small restaurant and cooking school with more amazing views of Mount Agung. Her classes are themed “A day in the life of…”. We did “A Balinese woman”, going with Penny to Amlapura market to help her buy supplies, and returning to make the daily temple offerings of flowers. Then we all made a selection of dishes that we ate for lunch, learning a lot about the history, culture and food of the island along the way. I highly recommend it and wish we could have gone back for another meal! The few days we stayed at Villa Gils felt longer, as everything flowed so well. Extensive emails with lists of ideas for activities were communicated before we left Singapore, and after a short chat to Wayan each morning, our days were filled with a balanced mix of day trips and a quiet dinner in the villa, or relaxing by the pool and more formal dinners out. I did feel quite envious of the Australian couple who lived permanently next door. We could see them each morning on their balcony, having breakfast to the sound of crashing waves while men shimmied up the trees to cut down branches and coconuts. There is so much more to explore there.

South China Morning Post October 2012

A bumbu is on the stove; a pivotal ingredient in Balinese cuisine, the paste of chillies, garlic, shallots, candlenut, nutmeg, ginger, tumeric, palm sugar, shrimp paste and lemon grass bubbles away.
But you won’t find bumbu being used in most of the tourist restaurants around the island, warns our teacher, swiss chef Heinz von Holzen, who brushes off our guesses at what Bali’s indigenous dishes might be. Forget gado gado – mixed vegetables with peanut sauce, originally a Javanese dish. Nasi goreng and mie goreng – fried rice and fried noodles – are a Chinese import. And some form of satay, meat on a stick, is pretty much found in every major global cuisine.
Though as with many cuisines it’s about getting four flavours in the right balance – sweet, salty, sour and hot – Bali’s cuisine is different and if you don’t know what you’re looking for, how are you going to find it? A cooking class is a good first foray into the world of fresh spices that Balinese food blooms from.

open PDF here to see full article

Travel Leisure Magazine September 2012

open PDF here to see full article

Gourmet Magazine January 2012

open PDF here for full article