Gili Air is remote tropical paradise. Quite literally, it is an island off an island situated off the north-east coast of Lombok in Indonesia. It has always been my experience that an island getaway sounds better in theory than it ever is in reality. You turn up to these so called “island paradises” only to find one of two problems – either the beaches are overpopulated with loud tourists and rip-off vendors selling sunglasses and sugary-drinks. Or, you are faced with miles and miles of empty beach and nothing interesting to do except read a book. Gili Air is different though. Not only is it beautiful and remote (I mean seriously, they have ban on all motorised vehicles for god’s sake!) but there are so many interesting things to do on Gili Air without the usual masses of tourists. Plus, credit cards are welcome!
Good coffee on Gili Air, a remote island of Indonesia; you’ve got to be kidding… right? I was actually surprised by the number of great cafes and brunch spots on this Gili island. Cafe hopping is a very real and popular pastime here, in between island hopping, swimming and snorkelling. A lot of the cafes have an all-natural vibe to them, to appeal to the boat loads of SWOF (skinny white organic females) that travel solo to the island for yoga. That’s a big plus in my book! Here is a run down of my favourite coffee spots on Gili Air.
If you want to drink your expresso right on the beach then Mowies is the place for you! Admittedly the coffee is not great, but it is good. By that I mean, it is definitely drinkable albeit pussy-willow-weak. I like my coffee milky anyway.
Mowies also have some great toasted ciabatta sandwiches, which are good to eat for breakfast or for lunch. I ordered a smoked salmon, sundries tomato and blue cheese toastie, substituting the ciabatta for wholegrain bread. It came with a delicious side of hand-cut, golden brown fries. This is breakfast on the beach at it’s almost best!
The name “Breadalicious” nearly scared me away, because I’m currently on a low-carb diet. But I’m glad I overcame my fear and ventured inside. Hands down, I had the best coffee on Gili Air at Breadalcious. It was a little slow to arrive, as the barista took great pains to craft the perfect cafe latte, but it was deliciously creamy yet strong.
My worst fear came true and I also succumbed to the temptation of bread whilst visiting here! They have a great selection of fresh breads and you can make your own sandwich. I ordered a warm wholemeal roll with feta cheese. Take a seat in their outside courtyard and enjoy some coffee, bread and their awesome Spanish playlist!
Gili Bliss is the chicest place on the island, decorated exclusively in pink and white hues to pay homage to all the yogi goddesses on the island. Heart throb pineapple-shaped pot plants with budding pineapple crowns dot each table. You just have to come here, if not for the pretty-in-pink decor, then for the spectacular brunch menu. I ordered poached eggs on smashed avocado and wholegrain thick-sliced bread, which was totally Instagram-worthy! The eggs were cooked to perfection although the avocado was a little slushy.
Gili Bliss is also famous for their smoothies and smoothie bowls. I ordered a Brown Lady, which was a blend of raw chocolate, organic peanut butter, banana and coconut water. It tasted like a healthy version of milo! The smoothies are huge and constitute as a meal in themselves.
Coffee & Thyme
The location of Coffee & Thyme is pretty awesome, situated just by the pier. It is the perfect place to grab a cuppa whilst waiting for the ferry. The coffee is on the weaker side, but nonetheless they make a respectable cafe latte replete with some coffee crema and coffee art. Their signature drink is a thyme latte, which comes with a dash of thyme syrup.
It is worth having breakfast here too. Their menu has a plethora of Western brekkie choices, from pancakes through to simple toast and jam. As I was on a low-carb diet, I ordered a classic cheese omelette with toast. I was slightly disappointed that they did not have wholemeal bread so I had to suck-it-up and eat white toast. At least the omelette made up for it – fluffy, soft and cheesy!
B52 is a small yet very popular cafe. They do coffee and tea and they do it really well. No fancy smoothies, milkshakes or cold-pressed juices in sight here. But, you can order a classic chocolate milk highball, which is sure to remind you of childhood memories.
The breakfast menu is also simple yet good. They make their own sourdough bread on-premise each day and cook up the best peppered sautéed spinach I have ever tasted. If you order eggs, they come with a side of delicious, crumbly feta cheese.
Good Earth Cafe
Come to the Good Earth Cafe if you want to be kind to yourself. Everything on the menu is natural, organic and vegan. Their specialty is coconut coffee, which is essentially muggy-black Lombok coffee with a dash of coconut cream – I don’t recommend drinking it, but kudos to them for trying to revamp the local brew to appeal to tourists. Their home-made banana bread is a treat in itself. It is densely packed with loads of healthy grains, topped with nut butter and fresh banana slivers. But the best thing here are the fresh juices and smoothies. They come in trendy glass jars with bamboo straws that are so environmentally chic right now. The dragon fruit and pineapple juice was my fave.
Happy cafe hopping on Gili Air and feel free to let me know about more good coffee on Gili Air in the comments box!