Let’s face it: coming out as a vegetarian to your friends and family isn’t always happiness and rainbows. Everyone immediately turns out to be an expert on protein, brain development and Paleolithic diet. While before no one cared that you’d be downing burgers at 3am after a night of boozing, eating hummus for lunch clearly makes many uncomfortable. I remember when I came out to my parents as a vegetarian. Almost a decade later my mom still hides chicken slices under my mashed potatoes during family dinners and whispers “Don’t worry, honey. I won’t tell anyone.” Some people just don’t give up. #thestruggleisreal
Years ago traveling or socializing as a vegan was tough. You’d sit in a restaurant poking at your flaccid steamed carrots feeling pressured to fake excitement over a sad side salad. Meanwhile, at home you’d be a master chef of coconut quinoa porridges, mushroom stuffed squashes and sweet potato soups. So you’d seek out local vegetarian cafes and bring your friends and family there in the hopes of inspiring them to eat more veggies or to simply leave you the hell alone to eat your kale in peace.
Image: Saffron restaurant
I made the mistake of bringing my parents to a vegan café one day and regretted every second of it as I watched them biting down on a dehydrated cracker pretending to be a pizza. The lentil soup that looked like cat food. The vegan bread tasted more stale than healthy. The tofu cheesecake tasted…well…like tofu. I think I even saw some animals imprisoned in our waiter’s ancient dreadlocks.
Don’t even get me started on the endless propaganda posters and toilet flyers in vegetarian restaurants about the horrors of slaughter houses, along with preaching monologues from the staff. For all the cruelty-free talk in vegetarian cafes – you can’t help but feel surrounded by the energy of cruelty with every bite. No wonder vegans have such a bad rep.
Thankfully, health has become a huge trend in the last five years. There is a new wave of plant-based cafes and brands that simply create delicious food minus the guilt tripping. Six years ago the island brought us Earth Café, Seeds of Life & Alchemy. Still there is a strong stigma surrounding these places – the stigma of the angry vegans – you know, the ones you see chanting to their salads. Let’s be honest here – smoothie bowls and avocado toasts (read where to find the best one in Bali here!) are great but we are better than that. Anyone can chop up a salad. We desire more. What about plant-based food that takes your breath away? I crave to look at my vegan dish the way my father stares at his steak in a restaurant.
Enter Saffron restaurant in Bali.
Launched in 2016, Saffron is a vegetarian healthy-fusion restaurant. This is the place for the insatiable foodies, hipster food stylists & lifestyle travelers. In other words, Saffron is veggies with style – a true fine-dining experience. Asparagus Mint Risotto, Jackfruit Stroganoff, Tomato Feta Ravioli, Uzbek Rice Pilaf, Wild Mushroom Bruschetta, Coconut Pavlova, Homemade Bread and Camembert & Berries Salad – personally take my breath away.
Vegetarian tom yum soup by Saffron
Conveniently located at the Mandala Village Resort – in the south tip of Bali – the restaurant is minutes away from the island’s famous beaches and secret surf spots. You can feel that Saffron was inspired by secret romantics. Everything from the porcelain plates, chandeliers, candles to magic murals is impeccable and designed with utter most care. Forget that Saffron is a vegetarian restaurant. Its simply classy food prepared by a professional chef and served with the most flawless service. I strongly suggest to liberate your inner connoisseur by ordering everything to share.
And when you are ready to come out as a vegetarian, this is the place to bring your parents.
Go check it out: Saffron Vegetarian Fusion
Find it: Jl.Pantai Balangan, Balangan beach
About the Author: Elena from @the_yoni_empire is a lover of all things pleasure-related. She writes shamelessly about female sexuality, self-love & leading a plant-based lifestyle. Bali’s resident for more than 5 years, Elena is a self-proclaimed foodie snob & pleasure seeker.