Out of every place I’ve travelled to across Europe, Asia, America and Australia, Mowies is the one place which has wowed me the most, and here’s why. I’ve heard of many backpackers getting stopped in their tracks and stuck somewhere for a while, but after six months on the move, stopping for no longer than a week in each place, I never imagined it would happen to me. My eagerness to travel the world is so strong I often wake in the middle of the night all excited and itching to go, so who would have thought that my two months in Indonesia would have been spent on three tiny islands, each just a mere five kilometres in size.
Maybe it’s the pristine beaches, the crystal clear waters or the handful of western luxuries that have kept me here, but whatever it is, Mowies has played a huge part in my stay on the Gili Islands. When I first arrived in Gili Air in July, Mowies had not long opened and already it was becoming the island’s best kept secret. Since then, I’ve returned at every opportunity, noticing improvements on every visit, whether it’s a new addition to the imaginative menu, a new hammock or another friendly face.
Mowies sits just in front of Mowies On The Beach (same owner, same relaxed vibe), a handful of peaceful bungalows on the south west coast of Gili Air, just a short walk left when you get off the boat at the harbour. It’s easy to spot by the red bean bags on the sand, unique triangle grass roof and the delicious aromas coming from the kitchen.
It was the food that first brought me to Mowies as word had spread about their signature Egg’s Benedict; two poached eggs on a bed of bubble and squeak topped off with homemade hollandaise sauce, smoked salmon or bacon. I’m not normally an Egg Benedict kind of gal but I was intrigued to see what all the fuss was about and it certainly didn’t disappoint.
Since then, I’ve managed to graze my way through the entire menu including tuna sushami, gourmet sandwiches and pizzas. If Mowies menu had come up in last week’s island’s Saturday pub quiz, I would have been sure to win!
There’s plenty of dining options in Gili Air but none quite like Mowies, who offers a reasonably-priced all-day menu of classic favourites with a twist, made from the highest quality ingredients imported fresh from Bali. They even have their own polish baker in Kuta who freshly bakes a selection of custom-made breads and pastries. London-trained chef and co-owner Radek is certainly leaving his mark on the Gili’s food scene offering dishes that can’t be found elsewhere. My personal favourite is Happy Salmon; a bamboo charcoal-infused ciabatta with lettuce, smoked salmon, blue cheese and sundried tomatoes.
It’s not just the food that has won me over but the coffee too with speciality ground roasted beans making it the best coffee on the island. If I’m feeling a little naughty, which most of the time I am, I often indulge in a freshly baked apple and custard pastry, something my dad would choose if he was here.
So, I’ve raved about the delicious food and coffee but I’ve forgot to mention the highlight of my time at Mowies and that’s the sunset. Sunset is the best part of anyone’s day on the Gili’s with fantastic views, plenty of conversation and ice cold beer. Mowies is THE place to go for sunset and come five o’clock the place is filled with friendly people from all walks of life. After the sun’s gone down there’s a bonfire on the beach which children have great fun helping to collect wood for. There’s often live music too, with friends strumming a few relaxing tunes after dark.
Mowies laid-back vibe makes it the only spot on the island to relax without having to think about how much you’re spending, as most of the other bars and restaurants on the island require a purchase (sometime a minimum spend of 150,000 rupiah!) to sit on a sunlounger.
This is a real drawing point for Mowies and it’s the “no worries” atmosphere which makes the place special. From the moment I walked in to the bar I felt less of a customer and more of a friend as Mowie, Rad and the team went out of their way to make me feel at home.
This attitude attracts a good crowd of people and I can spend hours sitting at the bar chatting with new found friends. It is obvious that every member of staff enjoys working there, which in my eyes, plays a crucial part in the atmosphere. I enjoy many conversations with the whole team who regularly express their gratitude for Mowie and Rad, who are not only helping them develop their skills, confidence and language, but manage in a style that I could never have dreamed of in London. Happy staff equals happy customers.
I can’t praise Mowies enough and that’s not just because I’ve become a good friend. There’s a reason why the same people return every day until their holiday draws to an end. I’ve never written such a gleaming review before and I hope it doesn’t come across as ‘too good to be true’. Of course, there are still a handful of improvements to be made like reminding staff to serve brown sugar with coffee and putting mirrors in the toilets but these little additions will come in time. Mowie and Rad have huge plans for their bar including extended opening hours, a bigger menu and the possibility of events. They’ve already been asked to host two weddings from guests who have fallen in love with the place.
There’s a special something about Mowies which is only truly understood by those who have visited. I’m possibly their biggest advocate and everyone that I’ve bought over has thanked me for suggesting it. There’s no doubt I will continue to visit Mowies for years to come, a place of paradise on paradise island; you just don’t get much better than that!
Living life, loving travel,