Inviting diners to join ‘A Culinary Journey throughout the Indonesian Archipelago’, IWA features an extensive menu of authentic Indonesian cuisine made with passed down recipes done with a contemporary approach. Located in Bali’s hip destination for culinary aficionados, Iwa seek to be a complementing addition to the eccentric mix.
The name of the restaurant derived from the legend of Kebo Iwa, a Balinese history that was written in ancient historical manuscripts from the 12th century. Once upon a time during that century, a couple who wanted a child so badly prayed to the Balinese God Sang Hyang Widhi, and was given a son they then called Kebo Iwa, who was no ordinary child; since he was just a toddler, he loved good food and he ate an immense amount of food, much more than any other children. With the increasing amount of food he ate, he grew to become a very strong giant. The kings of Bali held multiple competitions against all the other powerful knights and soldiers, but none could ever defeat him, including those from the Majapahit kingdom of Java. Because Kebo Iwa grew to become a huge giant, no house was big enough to shelter him. Therefore he then made a gigantic hall called “Bale Agung” and a kitchen in a village called Sri Jong.
Bale Agung is the name of this immense 15-meter tall soaring hall of Hotel Tugu Bali where IWA is housed in.
And with this, Kebo Iwa has returned home.
There’s no cuisine of one single country in the world that is as diverse as the cuisine of Indonesia. With more than 13.000 islands and hundreds of ethnic groups, each of which created hundreds of exotic dishes based on very different vegetation, spices and produce of each locality, it is almost impossible to pinpoint specific characters of Indonesian cuisine. Iwa Restaurant’s ‘Congklak Nasi Campur’ is a playful way of eating your way through the nation. Served on a Congklak board, a mancala game of ancient Javanese origin where the objective is to capture more seeds in the storehouse than one’s opponent, the pawn seeds of the original game are replaced with delectable dishes that you can pick and mix yourself in creating your own culinary journey and sample the best of Indonesian cuisine from various islands of the archipelago. It is a new take and fun take on enjoying the nation’s favorite dish – ‘nasi campur’, where diners can a mix of several small dishes served together as a mélange of flavors.