Greeting the morning sunshine after a warm and hospitable Balinese welcome in a luxurious villa followed by a decadent dinner equals waking up in a glorious holiday mood. When in such a blissful and tranquil state, best to complement it with the modern breakfast of champions – something nutritious, satisfying, Instagram-worthy and accompanied by the ever-essential caffeine fix.
Coincidentally, we were staying just round the corner from a quirky little place called Sea Circus, advertised as a restaurant, cocktail bar and coffee den. Sea Circus just celebrated its fifth anniversary, having captivated a regular clientele based on word of mouth and its delightfully wacky website and blog (seacircus-bali.com). With a reputation for healthy offerings on its breakfast and lunch menus, it has garnered consistent positive reviews for its gourmet coffee, well-executed café fare, ice cream, service, ambience and also, toilet décor.
Other than its prime location (along Seminyak’s crowded Jalan Kayu Aya), this whimsical den is hard to miss. A circus-themed mural and colored glass louvres, it invitingly beckons you to join the circus. Enticed by the Tiffany turquoise color scheme, we decided to check out what their ringmaster had to offer. No circus acts welcome you upon arrival, however. Instead, it looks and feels like a beach shack; casual, cosy and chilled (even without air-conditioning). As soon as we were seated, we were attended to immediately. Great service always deserves a mention and service at the Sea Circus definitely ticks that box.
Since gourmet coffee is their speciality, we started off our orders with the ‘Rocket Fuel’ Cold Drip Coffee (IDR 40.000), a custom roast Ethiopian Yirgacheffee that undergoes an eight-hour extraction process. Totally deserving of the name, it was liquid adrenaline, with just the right balance of acidity, intensity and bitterness. The aroma of floral notes and the vibrant aftertaste lingered on long after we left. Any hipster worth his weight in coffee beans would give this an upvote. In other words, coffee here is sea circus freaking awesome. They even have a takeaway coffee window, that also caters to orders for its gourmet gelato and ice cream.
Cold Drip Coffee
The menu offers just the right amount of options, ranging from healthy choices to hangover cures. Keeping to our light and healthy commitment, we opted for the Homemade granola with strawberries, papaya, banana and soy milk (IDR 60.000) and the Acai Bowl of granola, frozen blueberry, banana acai and bee pollen topped with fresh banana and strawberries (IDR 95.000). For the sake of hangover research, we also ordered a sinful plate of 2 eggs (sunny side up) with bacon, mushrooms and tomatoes (IDR 80.000) to assess its effectiveness in banishing the morning after-effects of a late last night. We took note of an interesting offering on the menu; the very original Hangover Happy Meal – Sin City. It comprises two eggs (any style of your choice) on toast with bacon, tomatoes, sautéed mushrooms, chilli jam, espresso coffee, orange juice, Berocca shot, Panadol and happy game. Depending on how ‘over hung’ you are, you can also add a Rock Star Bloody Mary – with double Belvedere vodka, Pimms No. 1, tomato juice, homemade horseradish, Worcestershire sauce, Tabasco, coriander, salt and pepper, served over ice with one ice cube made with blended celery juice in a glass rimmed with homemade celery salt and white pepper. Or you can opt for the Sea Circus Bloody Mary, which is all of the above with Absolut instead of Belvedere vodka.
While the standout feature of the breakfast menu are eggs cooked all ways to Sunday, the lunch menu offers a Baja style taco bar, where the Grilled Fish Tacos with Mango Salsa (IDR 70.000/90.000) is a firm favorite. If like me, you need your carbs, there are baguettes and/or tortilla wraps and exceptional burgers to satisfy your carb cravings. The Veggie Burger with Mango, Shallots, Guacamole and Mustard in a bun or naked in a cabbage leaf (IDR 60.000/70.000). If you are sticking to salads, the Red Quinoa and Raisin Salad with avocado, grated carrot, cherry tomato, celery and lettuce (IDR 65.000) presents interesting contrast in flavors. The dinner menu offers the same options as lunch, with the addition of a Baja Style Quesadilla Bar, which you can customize your quesadilla with a filling of your choice. The desserts are not extensive. Given my penchant for all things sweet, I highly recommend the Hot Churros with Dark Chocolate Dipping Sauce (IDR 45.000) and the Banoffee Parfait with Sweet Yummy Toffee, Crushed Cookies, bananas and whipped cream (IDR 45.000).
It’s breakfast time!
Sea Circus is open from breakfast till late, all week long. If you’re planning to check them out, be informed that it is almost always filled with regulars and first-timers. That is testament to their popularity in Bali, where cafés are a stone’s throw from each other. Sea Circus is a serious contender in the Bali coffee scene and they certainly are not clowning around.