El Kabron has not been in existence that long but it has still created much topic for conversation and discussion, much more so than such a small place would normally warrant.
Sure the service out front is 'laid-back', as are the customers and the minimum charge of Rp.100,000 p.p. for a visit during the sunset hours causes some people strife particularly from the domestic and budget markets as does the 18%++ [almost putting it into 5 star hotel category], plus the rarely seen these days surcharge for using credit cards. But El Kabron is here for those of us who enjoy Spanish cuisine and many, like me, with many special memories from Spain; eating dried sardines, skewering meat balls and sharing a tortilla whilst sipping an El Fundador Spanish brandy on the rocks above the Atlantic in western Tenerife.
For the first-timer a visit to El Kabron is a voyage of discovery. Turning off the Uluwatu-Pecatu road in central Pecatu it is a further 5km to El Kabron. You turn off the major road, well sign-posted, onto a narrow much damaged and winding road that takes you down the side of one of the many white stone quarries that exist on The Bukit. Surprise, surprise, you are then suddenly on a perfect new tarmac road that takes you through pristine bush lands and small grazing plots with not a building anywhere to be seen. The answer lies in the side roads that lead to apparent future property developments. If there are no sign posts at any intersection [watch for some that have fallen over], then it is straight ahead.
At the end of that nice new road El Kabron?s 100 metres of unmade road takes you to their front door. Beyond is something completely different. Inside it is blue and white [more Greek than Spanish], a pleasant and quite large space inside [with a cosy bar on the side] that in turns opens out to an outdoor area [swimming pool and bean bags] at cliff top with majestic views [and sometimes big winds]. I am certain that the sunset here is one of those great Bali sunsets, but of course there are many of them. Tapas are one of those bastardized Bali menu items [as are Tom Yum Goong, Samosas and Thai Beef Salads just to name a few] that usually have little or nothing in common with their origin. At El Kabron what you get is Spanish Tapas, in their traditional form but in slightly larger serves than those in Spain, from my memory. Here they are big enough to share, if you order 4-5 different ones which is the best way to enjoy tapas anyway.
Anchovies with sweet onion, White Sardines marinated in vinegar, my all-time Spanish tapa favourite is Pickled Octopus but at El Kabron the octopus has been sliced and combined with potatoes and drizzled with smoked paprika and olive oil, Prawns the Spanish way cooked in garlic and olive oil, Clams in white wine sauce, Chorizo homemade and spicy cooked in a beer sauce or a wonderful Catalan Sausage, on the side a small basket of warm [perfect] rather than the specified toasted bread, a bread with great texture, break it and soak up the remaining sauce [almost always olive oil with a touch of garlic].
Imported from Spain is a selection of very special products. Forget any idea that compared to the tapas plates they may look expensive and order at least one amongst your selection. Spanish small goods are leaders in the world, if you have never tried them before then you will be amazed. On one of my visits my Balinese friends looked at me in amazement after their first taste.....'this is ham?' Followed by a big smile and an obvious want of more, maybe a whole leg!
Cecina curada gram reserva D.O Astorga is a smoky dried cured beef, Jamon Iberico D.O Guijuelo is cured Iberico ham or a selection, Seleccion de embutidos Ibericos de bellota, a real taste of Spain. Relatively expensive but so good, and definitely worth the money, even more so if it stirs those memories.
El Kabron is Spanish so they also serve Paella, that specialty from Valencia [although originally from Arabia]. Minimum order for two persons and as it is made to order it is an approx 30 minutes wait. There are three Paellas, traditional seafood or chicken or Seafood Paella with squid ink that has been cooked in the oven.
Desserts are great if you like chocolate but as that is also the standard option of restaurants of any cuisine in Bali these days I am rather sick of it. The only exception here is their Crema Catalana, a sugary caramelised vanilla and cinnamon cream, a specialty of that area of Spain. Interesting desserts [as with entrees] just take a little bit of imagination, in Bali same-same seems to be the order of the day.
El Kabron is different, very different. It became one of Bali's 'hot spots' almost overnight and as is usually the case with such places the result does not please everybody. Hype has that effect, with not everyone going there for the same of even the right reason. I went there for the Spanish tapas, and was not disappointed. In fact having previously ordered 'tapas' at 20 or so Bali restaurants I can honestly say that on my visits to El Kabron the tapas WERE Spanish Tapas. I had almost forgotten how simple but good the traditional are.
El Kabron is full of surprises. Even the young smiling Balinese Supervisor will surprise you with his acceptable Spanish, now that is a first in Bali.
Footnote: A glassed in and air-conditioned terrace is being added bertween the outdoor area and the restaurant proper. A welcome addition so that the view can be enjoyed even in bad weather.