Ijen doesn’t only serve tasty food, it also makes a commitment to make the world a better place.
Within the ever-popular Potato Head Beach Club compound by Seminyak Beach, is the latest brainchild of PTT Family called Ijen. The restaurant is unlike anything ever found before in Bali or even Indonesia, as it shows its strong commitment to applying a zero-waste philosophy. At Ijen, the pledge is not a phasing trend, nor is it an ankle-deep step into the eco-aware era.
As you sit down at Ijen, you will notice how the design of the restaurant is just as stylish and modern as the other establishments at the beach club. What you might not know is that the colourful menus are made from sustainably harvested paper, with boards made from recycled truck tyres – in collaboration with eco-aware local flip-flop brand Indosole. The contemporary chairs and tables used to be foam offcuts and recycled wood, the floor is a mix of broken plates, drinking glasses and recycled cement, and not to mention other sustainably minded details, like the use of long-lasting LED lamps.
The main theme of Ijen’s food menu is tropical island grill, focusing on seafood and vegetables as the ingredients. Vibrant and flavourful bites like wood-fired local edamame, rujak mackerel (Ijen’s own version of ceviche) and smoky garlic prawn skewers make a great start. The main shows are the whole red snapper with Jimbaran glaze and the fillet in banana leaf, in addition to the day’s specials.
What most diners might not know is that no element of any ingredient goes to waste. The scales from the fish, with some leftover rice, are processed further to make tasty crackers. The leftover bits from the fish are processed into fish floss, and the shellfish shucks are ground to provide calcium for the animals’ food at local farms. That’s not all. Ijen makes sure all organic and inorganic waste is separated, leftovers are fed to the farm animals or composted in house and dry goods are recycled by Bali’s responsible waste-management service, ecoBali.
Talented Chef Wayan Kresna Yasa is at the helm. Born and bred in one of Bali’s satellite islands of Nusa Penida, Wayan has never been a stranger to the kitchen as he used to help his grandmother shop, cook and sell one of Bali’s staple dishes, tipat cantok. His journey kept bringing him to the kitchen, and at some point he decided he wanted to learn to cook professionally in the US. There he honed his skills in two Michelin-starred Arcadia in Chicago and Blue Hill Stone Barns in New York. He went back and forth before finding himself joining Potato Head Family as the executive sous chef for Potato Head Beach Club, Kaum and now Ijen.
“Ijen is all about a tropical island grill, and of course, zero waste,” Wayan explained. “Mind you, it’s not an Indonesian restaurant, but we incorporate flavours that are familiarly associated with Indonesia. Plus, all the seafood produce and vegetables we use here, we source them from within the country – Java, Lombok, Sumbawa, Maluku and Bangka Island.”
“Quality is of course paramount at Ijen,” Wayan continued. “So it’s important we only use the freshest catches of the day. I can’t turn off my phone, because I have to be on a standby with my suppliers. We also make our suppliers follow our zero-waste values. Our vegetable suppliers, for example, send the produce in banana leaves instead of plastic bags, and we can always clean and use the leaves for plating and such.”
When asked about his future goal for Ijen, Wayan humbly answered, “I just want to make sure that Ijen kitchen is 100 percent zero waste, and maintain it that way.”
Smoky Garlic Prawn Skewer
- 500g clean fresh prawns, size 30/40
- 120g garlic marinade
- 1 slice of lime
- 120g garlic peeled and chopped
- 45g smoked paprika powder
- 20g chilli powder
- 120g lime juice
- 65g honey
- 10g salt
- 2g pepper
- 350g vegetable oil
- 20g fresh coriander chopped
- For the marinade, put all ingredients together in a mixing bowl and whisk. Let them infuse for 10 minutes before use.
- Rinse prawns in cold running water and dry.
- Place prawns in a bowl, add marinade and store in the fridge for two hours.
- Put prawns on metal or bamboo skewers, grill for three or four minutes on each side until properly cooked.
- Serve with a slice of lime.