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Launching a restaurant business in Bali during COVID

Back in 2017 we interviewed the Brown family who had already been in Bali for five years and were running a popular pub in Legian. Now fast forward three more years and they sold the pub to build a new exciting business from scratch.

You originally had planned to stay for 5 years and now that time has well and truly passed! How long do you plan to stay?
Yes, 5 years has well and truly passed and we have now been in Bali for 8 years. It’s true what they say “time flies when you’re having fun!”

In my eyes, I would like to be back in Australia for my eldest daughter to do year 11 and 12 at a high school so we have 7 years to go. But if you were to ask my husband, Mitch, he couldn’t imagine going back. I suppose when that 7 years is up, we will have to make the decision. Who knows we might be doing another story with you about being in Bali for 15 plus years!

What has happened to your previous business Luck Day Restaurant and Bar and tell us about the new business venture in Bali!

We sold Lucky Day Bar & Restaurant back in September of last year. We felt we built Lucky Day up and for us we had reached the top and it was time to pass the baton over to someone with fresh eyes and new ideas.  We had around 6 months off and travelled around Asia and enjoyed Malaysia, Vietnam and Singapore. 

Like Lucky Day we had been going to the Lani the previous restaurant and site which is now our Pavilion Surf Club, Legian Beach and my husband and I always said to each other “what a great spot this is” even on my first trip to Bali 16 years ago! It’s the perfect place right across the road from the beach with beautiful sunsets in Double 6 Legian. That is now what we say about our new Surf Club – sunset and sport, the only place you can watch both. So the Lani changed hands a few times and it was very run down, their lease ran out and the landowner was going to knock it down and build units but opted out.  
The biggest difference we have faced is that Lucky Day was turn key and the Pavilion Surf Club needed major renovations. Everything is brand spanking new and we have increased the building size 3 fold – it seats 250 people. During covid the renovation has actually been a lot easier than we imagined. Meaning cement trucks, timber and steel deliveries and all supplies could access the street with ease as the traffic on the road has been next to none.

We have just launched four weeks ago and there has been a great response from expats and locals, we have a tapas menu with Pavilion favourites like Fish & Chips, Burgers and a Nasi Goreng to name a few. 

So we are now ironing out any issues before welcoming all our Aussie friends and family back to Bali in 2021 (crossing all my fingers and toes). The Pavilion Surf Club will be just like a surf club you would find on the Gold Coast opening Breakfast, Lunch & Dinner with, tasty food, cold drinks and a beautiful sunset.

Is home still in Seminyak?

Home will always be Seminyak for us while living in Bali, we enjoy having everything at our fingertips, shopping, great restaurants, beaches and of course close to work, friends and family.

What is a typical Bali day for you and your family now that we are in COVID times?

Call me Mrs Emma, I have been home schooling the girls since March of this year. So Monday to Friday we clock onto zoom at 8am and follow the weekly timetable given to us by the school. I’m also the canteen lady too, so I organise morning tea and lunch always with special requests of course. When 2.30pm comes along, we head outside for a bike ride, swim or go for a walk on the beach, a device FREE afternoon. Bali is very quiet and when we do venture out socially it’s mandatory to wear a mask, they will issue you with a fine if you fail to do so. Shopping anywhere, riding on your motorbike, entering cafes and restaurants all needing a mask. Most places will also take your temperature on entering too.

What have you struggled with the most in Bali?

Definitely at the start of COVID, we stocked piled a lot of items like perishables, water and lots of hand sanitizer, Mitch or I would go out and top up on supplies and sanitized as soon as we came home. Weeks went by and we saw none of our Bali family, we were all doing the same thing. Isolating like the rest of the world but just on a beautiful island with a warm climate.

What is the best kept secret/hidden gem in Bali you’ve discovered?

I’m such a foodie, I enjoy finding new hidden, tasty and delicious meals. Whether it be a casual in and out meal or a long Sunday brunch. With COVID, there have been so many great discounts with restaurants and hotels so we have ventured out, taking advantage of some of the awesome specials. Some highlights have been, Sangsaka’s Dumpling night for 190,000IDR, ($19AUD) Gado Gado 5 course lunch 250,000IDR ($25AUD) and the new Sports bar in Petitinget Wednesday night.


Is there anything else you would like to share with us?

I am hoping when everything returns to semi normal or I suppose the new normal and the borders are opened for international travel that our friends and family will be on the first plane bound for Bali. We cannot wait to see their wonderful smiling faces after so long. Also catching up on missed birthdays and anniversaries and overall giving them a big kiss and a squeeze till our arms hurt.


To visit Emma and Mitch’s new business check out The Pavilion Surf Club Legian Beach – sunset and sport, the only place you can watch both.

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