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Island talks: Meet Adi from Warung Melati (favorite warung on the island!)

November 25, 2020

Island talks: Meet Adi from Warung Melati (favorite warung on the island!)

When we arrived in Bali in 2009, on one of the first days on the island our uncle Roger brought us for lunch to Warung Melati in Legian (a neighborhood between Kuta and Seminyak). A small roadside warung on the way to the beach no Double Six street, handful of tables, and a friendly face welcomed us. “Hi, I’m Adi!”. Adi grabbed a plate and asked us the famous question “nasi putih or kuning?". Only seeing the glass display filled with fresh vegetable dishes, tempe, tahu, ikan and ayam – not even mentioning the delicious smell coming from the kitchen – made our hearts jump (and belly rumble). After that first lunch we were hooked. Warung Melati to us, is Bali life to the fullest and the one place we’ve been going to for more than ten years almost daily. The food each time is a WOW and never less.

We also donated 100 bungkus (to go) meals that we had made at Warung Melati that we distributed together with ASC Asian Surfing Co, to the beach boys of Legian Beach, who had no income after Bali closing down due to the pandemic. An initiative to inspire others to do the same for their neighborhoods.  

So, it’s about time to sat down for some island talk with Adi - the kind face of Warung Melati and son of the owner, his mom - about the story behind our favorite warung (for those missing Bali, keep reading till the end cause he shares some secret recipes from the Warung Melati kitchen to make at home… yumm!)

ps. When Bali re-opens put Warung Melati on your to-go list as (according to not only yours tropically but people all around the world coming back to this one place always) best warung on the island (also for vegetarians like us!). They moved to a slightly bigger space now, you will find them on Jalan Nakula 5 in Legian. You can also follow them on Instagram, say hi to Adi and his mom from us and Selamat Makan!

Hi Adi! Can you tell a little bit about your family?

Hi Pris & Eve! Let me introduce me and my family. My name is Adi I'm the son of owner Warung Melati. My mom and my dad: Ibu Muji (she is the owner Warung Melati) and Bapak Soetarto. My wife is Desiana and we have two kids: Kinara 5 years old and Rayyan 2 years old. We are from Java and we’re in Bali since 1989 until now. We moved to Bali to guard our auntie's house, who already lived in Bali. After the villa was sold, my mother wanted to open a warung.

When did Warung Melati start? And why is it called ‘Warung Melati’?

We started the warung in April 1998. My mom loves the Melati (jasmin flower). It’s smells very fragrant and this flower is liked by everyone. My mom wants her warung to be liked and loved by all the people around the world, so we decided to name our shop after this flower.

What does a day look like for you and your family?

We wake up at 6am and go to the market at 7am. I go together with my father, and shop all the fresh ingredients for the Warung. My mom starts cooking at 8am to 1pm. She cooks together with 3 people staff, who help her prepare all the dishes. Warung Melati opens at 11am until 8pm in the evening. Now during Covid we changed it to 5pm.

We are done working around 7pm, we play with the kids at home and have Sunday's off. When we have family time we usually go to the beach, visit a mall or playground and swim in the pool. 

How has it been for you and the business since Covid?

Early April we began to feel the impact of the pandemic. A part of my guests we’re still coming, but everything was bunkus (for on the go). So our warung was quiet, we really missed the atmosphere of having people around. Our sales dropped 60 to 80%. Luckily around June we could open the sitting area again and my guests have been coming in to eat.

What’s your favorite food from Warung Melati?

Favorite food at the warung? Hmmmm, actually everything! But what my guests like the most is the tahu kecap (tofu in soy sauce), buncis dan wortel tumis (sautéed green beans and carrots), bakwan jagung (corn fritters), ayam sisit (chicken dish), tempe manis (sweet tempe) and ikan asam pedas (fish in a spicy and sour sauce).

The bakwan jagung and the kentang goreng are our forever favorites. Can you share your secret recipe with us?

Recipe for Warung Melati’s bakwan jagung (corn fritters)

Celery (leaves)

Bit of rice flour
Bit of flour

Cut and mix all together and make royal scoops with a big spoon to fry in oil. 

Kentang Goreng
Tomato sauce
Oyster Sauce
Lime leaves
Bay Leaves (optional) 

Cut and mix all together and make royal scoops with a big spoon to fry in oil. 

Selamat Makan!



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