This story was published in Prestige Malaysia March 2019 issue
It may sound superfluous, but many Bali-based chefs are dishing out world-class fares that balance native traditions with today’s modern, stylish flair. There’s a glamorised version of the karedok, West Java’s raw vegetable salad doused in peanut sauce, served at Apéritif, as well as to-die-for bowls of rice porridge, made using high-grade Galuh grains from central Bali’s infamous Tegalalang tiered terraces, whipped updaily by the brilliant guys at Locavore. These four eateries are on top of the food chain:
With a name that incites a pre-dinner drink, it’s apparentthat the first stop forthe evening here is its adjoining bar. The drinking den is where you’ll nurse refreshing tipples while canapes are served. Then, be escorted into the spacious dining area to start your eight- course repast. Opt for wine-pairing, which has South Africa’s Boekenhoutskloof The Chocolate Block 2016 tasting heavenly with a moreish slab of venison wellington, and a fruity Montalcino Pinot Grigio complementing the tenderness of Canadian lobster.
Dinner at Bali’s first-born fine-dining joint is anchored by chef Salans’ staunch French-trained techniques. He works with local,often changing, flavours, evident bythe ingredients discovery platter on the table throughout the night. See and smell fresh produce alongside cooked ones — such as torch gingerflowers, made into an aromatic sauceto pair with a watermelon carpaccio. Mozaic has also been open for lunch since late 2018, offering a Chef’s Table concept, where dishes are prepared live in front of diners.
Sunset views at Bali’s southernmost peninsula are best taken in from Banyan Tree Ungasan, Bali’s Ju-Ma-Na restaurant, perched on
a lofty 70m-tall cliff high above the Indian Ocean. Do request for a special table setting for two at the sequestered clifftop terrace – it’s ideal for romantic celebrations, where couples can enjoy quixotic cocktails and haute French-Japanese cuisine. Start on a healthy note with a spring saladof asparagus and flowerspresented in a pool of yuzu citrus reduction, and end on a sweet
high by digging into some crème caramel and mango cremeux disguised as a hard- boiled egg.
You’ll want to book well in advance for a table at Ubud’s celebrated culinary crowning jewel. The almost-always-packed restaurantdoes casual fine dining for both the lunch and dinner droves, focused and inspired by local ingredients. Standout dishes include the ones that feature rice, such as the bite-sized black rice blini and the highly raved-about Into The Sawah, which translates to “Into the Rice Fields” and is, clearly, based on what you’dfind in the paddy — in this case, heritage rice,snails and frogs. The pretty dish is topped with a 64-degree custardy cooked duck egg sourced from a local farm and garnished witha garland of wild flowers.