It doesn’t get much better than indulging in the sights of expats around the ‘Gu. The crystal-infused-water-bearing yoginis, the chiselled yet slightly dehydrated looking gym buffs, the fresh divorcees in search of handbags and broad brimmed hats – the theatre is endless. But what makes the show even more of a treat, is enjoying it while simultaneously chowing down on one of the tastiest chicken burgers you e’er did mack. Magcel café, on Jl. Padang Linjong, has humbly put itself on the map of human gazing and human grazing, and we are all about it.
The first thing you need to know is that the venue is locally owned. The man behind the scenes is a legend in the truest sense of the word. His nickname is Magnum, and folklore has is he adopted the moniker from selling Magnum Egos on Seminyak’s 66 Beach, back in the day. If you’re into people listening (as well as people watching), he’s got plenty of stories and will joyfully clear his schedule to share. It’s possible you’ve even met before.
The setting of Magcel is cosy and hospitable. Up the back, you’ll find cute couches sitting flush to a painted wall, inviting you in with big friendly leaves. Along the inside are tables for two or solo diners enjoying their own companionship. Up the front, in a range of high and low options, you’ll see those prime observation seats we banged on about earlier. While the road hosting Magcel is busy, its grassroots demeanour beckons you in a way that’s different to the foreign owned ventures flanking it.
As far as the food is concerned, the word ‘homely’ is definitely the pick. The menu sports an array of Western-style options like fish fillets, wraps, sandwiches and burgers, as well as bowls encasing the likes of teriyaki chicken, tuna and the staple vegetarian protein options. The famous chicken burger arrives in a soft squishy bun, with sliced avocado and toms, slathered in a hot sauce that may surprise you with its kick. (You’ve been warned.) Breaky go-ers have their usual options – smoothie bowls, smashed avo, bacon and eggs your way – but for an adventurous morning, the ‘Jiggy Pancakes’ are the first choice on the menu and could be the best choice of the day. Gluten free? No dramas. Mags’ve gotcha covered with Made’s famous banana flour bread.
For the crystal water types and the well-sauna-ed gym junkies, there are healthy options too. The eggplant and tahini salad comes thick and juicy with its own house-made sauce and we’d recommend an extra side of smashed avo to boost your good-fats quota. If you’re less picky with how you consume your calories, then our recommendation is to get stuck into the house recipe nasi goreng, the creamy chicken rice or the crispy chicken parmesan. The liquid selections will service all of your needs too, from smoothies to shakes (both naughty and nice), to juices, slushified cocktails and coffees of every variety.
Another of Magcel’s perks is that your bill will be more than reasonable. Main meals are between 45k and 80k, and juices and smoothies are no more than 35k. No hidden tricks there. If your true measure of a venue’s price point is how much they charge for a beer, then you’ll be pleased to know a Bintang only sets you back 28k. For Canggu in 2019, that’s almost a miracle.
Magcel café is somewhat reminiscent of the Gu before the gusto. This simple, unpretentious and approachable cafe plates up delicious and familiar food, and is positioned perfectly for a gawk. It won’t have you looking at your wallet wondering where the heck your millis went either, so if for any reason you feel like stopping off for a Magnum Ego on the way home, you’ll have plenty of cash.