In the 1950’s the Greasers and Rockabilly sub-culture howled down the alleyways of the atlas with the likes of Johnny Cash, Hasil Adkins, Duane Eddy, Link Wray, Django Reinhardt, The Polecats and was further revived by the tragic death of the great James Dean. With swag, this cocktail-fusion culture of slickly-combed hair, straight-legged skinny jeans, thumping biker boots, the ever-exploding dynamite of bluegrass rock, doo woop and good ole rhythm ‘n’ blues made its way across the corners of the world.
Recently in March 2014, Salty Seagull’s bar and grill started in Bali – here, Rockabilly music, Surf Rock, and its Greasers culture are highly celebrated. Beaming with neon lights showered in sunny Tex-Mex yellow paint, it is hard not to notice this eye-candy bar in the bustling street of Petitenget-Kerobokan. The insides are so wildly painted, they could send color back through time to the cult Stanley Kramer’s black and white bikers film “The Wild One.” Stuffed with motorbike posters and red chairs, murals on the walls and pillars, combined with a checker floor, the joint was decorated by local designers. It is not for the weak-eyed. A total kitsch bomb.
Roky Rozhevel, Salty’s Reservation and PR, is responsible for this decoration as an opening for Bali’s first Rockabilly band – The Hydrant. Having recently played gigs in some festivals in Europe, they are aiming to introduce Rockabilly music to every corner of Indonesia. A line-up of pompadours equipped with contra bass with a stand-up drum set, they are a definite party starter and one of the best Indonesian bands to enjoy your whiskey on the rocks to. The Hydrants pump and thump Salty’s shack every Thursday night, bringing the crowds in, making a full house in all 3 seating areas of Salty’s.
Their food selection arranged by Andri, Salty’s Executive Chef, ranges from all sorts of seafood delicacies to a full-on dining experience. Their Tuna Tiki Tataki is a sublime combination of tuna sashimi rolled in protein-high chia seeds, accompanied with a jumble of wakame, raddish, green papaya, onion, daikon and pickled ginger with piquant Pipian Mexican Sauce as a dressing. While the Tuna Tiki Tataki itself is to be slurped with a homemade sauce by the chef himself.
We also got to sample The Parmageddon, a crispy brown chicken with melted mozzarella and parmesan generously poured on top, with a salad of red and white cabbage and chunky finger sized chips. “We also provide gluten-free, non-dairy requests and can customize our menu to cater to the client’s diet” Andri added. All of this food was washed down with one of their recommended cocktails Salted Zombie! A virulent mixture of spiced rum, lemon juce, salted caramel and passion fruit. Designed to turn you into a zombie soon after. This is not the only cocktail in the house – indeed being a bar and grill they have a strong lineup starting from Mamas Mojito, Ados Mai Tai, The Slater Hydrator to the classic badass Off Your Melon – fresh watermelon, white rum, pineapple, coconut and orange served in a whole watermelon.
Moving outside the roaring circle of music and food. we took a peek at the Salty Seagulls’s kitchen policy. And we found out that they are supplying their cooking ingredients mostly using Balinese, local produce and only if it is not available domestically do they purchase imports. They also apply the modest yet effective practice of waste management in their kitchen though I think they can improve a tad more in this department. Still they are showing their knowledge and commitment to the crucial green-principle business.
So even if their price range can be a bit on the upper hill, Salty Seagull stamped the bill with the roaring madness of the 50s Rockabilly ,The Hydrant, and a cool cat of a crowd with slick hair and a silver comb in the back pocket. A seat you can hardly get anywhere else in town, or for that matter in Indonesia. I call shotgun.
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Address : Jl.Petitenget No.999 Kerobokan. Bali
Words by Max Geraldi