Since moving to Brunei, it has been said to me many times that here you either get fat or get fit! Well, this article may not help with the fit part, so this is your warning before reading any further.
You have continued reading; therefore, I take it that, like me, you are a foodie! This article aims to provide you with more of an insight into some of the delicious restaurants available here in Brunei.
Seri Demai (Kiulap and Serusop)
This is my favourite place to eat out in Brunei, however take-away is also an option. I tried Seri Demai after numerous recommendations. When I pulled up at the Kiulap branch it was quite a basic restaurant and there were only 2 people in the restaurant, so I didn’t hold out too much hope. However, within ten minutes of being seated the place was completely full. This has been the case every time I have been since. Local friends even tell me they go twice a week! So yes, the food is delicious. They serve traditional Pakistani cuisine, and the menu is extensive. It includes a variety of curries, kebabs, set meals (with a bit of everything), full meat platters and the most amazing rotis. The food tastes fresh, flavoursome and it will leave you wanting more. However, the dishes are well sized so you may end up taking some home. The staff are friendly and will happily give you recommendations or discuss any dishes you are unsure about. They also serve a wide variety of drinks and the milkshakes (I have been told) are delicious too! They have a few desserts which are all traditional Pakistani desserts for you to try.
Kokoro (based in the Impiana Jaya Complex, Kiulap)
A Japanese fusion restaurant with a difference. The atmosphere of this restaurant is what sells it for me. Don’t get me wrong, the food is delicious. But on seeing Kokoro, the first thing you will notice is it’s very dark with an almost aquarium feel to it, as it sports neon signs and soft lighting. You physically need to pop your head into the restaurant to see inside as you cannot see through the windows. The staff are very friendly as when I visited, I was alone, and they sat me up at the bar area and spoke with me pretty much the whole time I was there. They serve a wide menu covering ramen dishes, rice bowls, buns and a variety of other fusion dishes. I would recommend this place if you want something a little different for the evening.
Ricardo’s (Based in Manggis)
Ricardo’s is a family run Mexican restaurant. After really craving Mexican and being told there wasn’t a place to get Mexican food in Brunei, I came across this little gem in the middle of a housing estate of all places. I was pleasantly surprised when I entered Ricardo’s as the décor and surroundings had a welcoming and relaxing feel. I was greeted at the door by one of the staff who was very chatty, and he told me a little about Ricardo’s background. The menu tells the full history of Ricardo’s and their Mexican roots which I love in a restaurant, as it means the place has heart. They serve all the main Mexican dishes you would expect from burritos, chimichangas and nachos. They also do takeaway. It is a very busy place as they have a constant stream of dine-in and picks-ups so I would advise booking.
Gerai Nini Mama (Kampong Ayer)
This is a place I recommend going in the evening. The evening we travelled over by water taxi rain poured down, but it still didn’t deter from the beautiful lights and windmills that surround this restaurant as you approach. The menu is all local cuisines such as your nasi katok and mee goreng etc. In our group we had a mixture of dishes and bits to pick at and all of it was delicious. The owner and his family were friendly and helpful. They even escorted us with an umbrella as they walked us to and from our water taxi due to the rain. It’s an experience I will most definitely be repeating. I’d say a MUST try in Brunei.
This restaurant is located on the ground floor of The Brunei Hotel. I tried this place thinking it was just somewhere to grab a coffee. However, when I saw the menu, I stayed for the food. They have a selection of dine-in and takeaway food. The takeaway food is a ‘build a sandwich or salad’ bar so if you enjoy your meal at YELO which I’m sure you will, you can always pick up lunch for the next day! The dine-in menu offers everything from smaller plates such as soft-shell crab rolls, a breakfast menu complete with eggs Benedict, French toast, fresh fruits, and a whole host more. Then, a main menu which is very varied ranging from roast lamb to salmon to burgers. I’m sure you will find something you like. Everything I have eaten here has been wonderfully presented and tasted amazing. They also have a selection of desserts not only on the menu but also ready-made ones on display. It’s usually quiet and has a very calm and upmarket dining experience feel to it even though it advertises itself as a café.
This place has one of the biggest selections of interesting teas and coffees I have come across yet in Brunei with interesting drinks such as the onde onde latte. They also serve more traditional drinks too. They provide a menu which has everything from sandwiches to rice bowls to full main meals. The food is flavourful, well presented and the portions are big. I personally recommend the forest mushroom pasta, that was divine. This is a lovely place to go for either a lunch or just a coffee. It’s based in the waterfront so can even be part of a beautiful walk to see the sunset. At the moment, many people seem to be heading there to try out their delicious fluffy Japanese pancakes which are just the perfect sweet treat. They also serve them in different flavours from tiramisu to crème brûlée.
Alter Ego’s (Kiulap)
This place immediately made me feel like I’d walked into a nice bar/restaurant at home. The décor is stylish, and the layout of the restaurant is inviting. The staff are attentive and will meet you at the door to seat you. Whilst waiting for your food, there are newspapers and other reading materials available for you to browse at your leisure. They advertise themselves as a modern Asian fusion restaurant and their menu has a wonderful array of dishes which will make it difficult for you to choose just one. They also provide set menus and special celebratory menus. The food is presented as if you are eating at a top restaurant. But overall, this is a place I would come more for an evening meal, maybe to celebrate a special occasion. But that does not mean it isn’t worth trying any day of the week – every day should be a day to celebrate.
My list could go on and on as I have tried many beautiful establishments here in Brunei that I would happily recommend, but these are the ones which stick in my mind most and therefore I wanted to share them. I wish all you foodies a very yummy day and hope that you share the same wonderful experiences as I had. Bon Appetit!