The Street food sensory quest of Hujan Locale
AS I step from my taxi onto the hot, steamy street outside the newly opened Hujan Locale in Ubud, a soft rain starts to fall.
It's a welcome relief from Bali's cloying humidity, but as quickly as the rain starts it finishes, leaving the streets once again hot and steamy.
I escape into the cool, air-conditioned comfort of Hujan Locale (Indonesian for local rain) and am offered a refreshing glass of lime-infused sparkling water.
The restaurant, which opened in January, is the latest offering from former Australian and renowned street-food chef Will Meyrick.
A resident of Bali for many years, Meyrick's stellar career path has led him from London to Sydney and extensively through south-east Asia, where he fell in love with the exotic spices, flavours and textures that make the cuisine and its culture so unique.
Hujan Locale is Meyrick's third restaurant in Bali - following the outstanding successes of Sarong and Mama San in Seminyak.
Meyrick also operates another Indonesian restaurant - the extremely popular E&O in Jakarta.
Hujan Locale's has a strong Asian-street feel, with tall wooden-shuttered, open windows creating an open and relaxed feeling. A twist on traditional Indonesian food, Hujan Locale serves a combination of dishes found in the backstreet kitchens of south-east Asia.
It focuses on sustainable grassroots cooking, with a strong emphasis on using the freshest and best ingredients from local farmers.
This "found and foraged" philosophy has been the catalyst for Meyrick's desire to return to creating smaller restaurants with slow-cooked food and fostering stronger links with the surrounding community.
As well as great dining options, Ubud is a haven for tourists and travellers.
Renowned as Bali's artistic and cultural hub, the town is surrounded by verdant rice terraces and lush countryside.
There is much to do from exploring the stunning landscape, to visiting the many art galleries, wood carvers and jewellers for which the area is famous.
You can learn about Indonesian cuisine at one of the many cooking classes or visit the local market where the sights, sounds and smells will take you on a sensory journey.
Visit market stalls piled high with exotic spices, fruits, vegetables and flowers, buy a traditional sarong or silk scarf, or watch stallholders expertly open a coconut.
When all that eating and exploring is finished for the day, lay your head down on a four-poster bed at Honeymoon Guesthouse in Jalan Bisma, just a couple of minutes' walk from the main street.
Owned by Australian ex-pat Janet de Neefe and her Balinese husband Ketut Suardana, the guesthouse and its sister property, Second Honeymoon, offer an oasis of peace and tranquillity, set among extensive gardens of tropical splendour.
Weathered stone statues covered in moss, winding pebble paths, a refreshing pool, outstanding service and beautiful rooms with a traditional Bali touch create a memorable stay.