Shiro Sushi is a tiny piece of Tokyo hidden away upstairs at One Eleven Resorts, a modern design hotel on the edge of a tropical island in the middle of the Indian Ocean. With impressive organic modern interiors by celebrated Osaka-based architect Shibemasa Noi, you could go just for the atmosphere and escape while filling up on the extensive sake and Japanese whiskey offerings. That is just the beginning, despite the perfect surroundings and strong cocktails, you will soon realize that it is the food that shines at Shiro. The sushi is perfect; the cooked dishes are creative without being molecular, and the sashimi is something I will make my way back all the way to Seminyak, Bali to experience again. I had the small omakase menu, and it was spot on. Sit at the bar and make some new friends while you watch the chef work his magic with stunningly gorgeous pieces of super fresh fish. Do yourself a favor and book in advance as it fills up, and you won't want to miss this spot. Shiro stands out among a lot of tourist filled mediocre offerings on the island. Dinner here will be one of the highlights of your time in Bali.
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Pottery and ceramics hold a special place in my heart. I love the way the art form completely represents a place. Whenever possible I try actually to meet the people that create this art since they are working directly with their hands and the earth they know the place well. The works at Setia in Ubud are by a Japanese-born potter working in Bali for the last two decades. The integration of the raw materials and resources of Bali with the workmanship of a Japanese artisan make for pieces that are unique, organic, simple, and thoughtful. There is a small gallery in Ubud proper where you can easily pop in and for prices that seem like sealing head home with a piece or five. Take it a step further and make your way from the gallery to the studio up in the hills just above the main drag where the open air layout and organized chaos is inspiring. The day that I visited the studio there was a meeting on for a new restaurant concept in Singapore where Setia would be creating the tableware. Very normal to witness at a factory, yet, in this case, it wasn't in a conference room or an office. This meeting for a massive project was happening at a work table in the middle of the studio open to the jungle with racks of works in progress surrounding you. Being this close to the person making the pottery with the raw materials surrounding you make anything seem possible. I started to daydream about ways to come up with an excuse to make products with them, an excuse to come back to Ubud for work someday. Still dreaming from afar at this point and loving the time I spend with the works I've brought home.