The days when nasi goreng, chicken sate and banana pancakes were about your only options for a meal in Bali are long gone. Increasingly known as a gourmet destination, the island now has so many great restaurants that it’s hard to keep track. If you are looking for something truly special, here’s a glimpse into some of the island’s most extraordinary dining experiences.
Nestled amidst soaring palm trees in a tranquil corner of Jimbaran, this innovative restaurant offers inspired dining of the highest order with a unique concept of tapas, cocktails and desserts. Minimalist in design, at Cuca its all about the food and you will discover a gourmet foodie experience to rival anything you would find in Melbourne, London or New York. Canadian chef, Kevin Cherkas, describes his creations as “Clever comfort food, inspired by the best things you have ever eaten.” One of the most impressive feats on the menu is the use of 100% Indonesian ingredients, from organic herbs, fruit and vegetables to hand crafted sea salt, Balinese coffee and locally produced artisan wines. Take a seat at the food bar for an interactive chef experience or dine by candlelight under the palms. Make sure to try the moongria – a sangria made with layered cubes of frozen fruit that slowly melt to reveal new layers of taste with every sip.
The signature restaurant of esteemed St Regis Resort in Nusa Dua, Kayuputi brings beachside elegance to a whole new level, with picture-perfect views over a magnificent stretch of white sand lapped by the azure waters of the Indian Ocean. Truly fine dining at its finest, seafood lovers will find themselves in culinary heaven with decadent platters like the Indian Ocean seafood experience stacked high with lobster, king prawn tempura and fish skewers marinated in Balinese spices. More than a restaurant, Kayuputi is a destination dining experience and with over 400 wines in its esteemed cellar – overseen by sommelier extraordinaire, Harald Wiesmann, wine connoisseurs are also in for a treat. A sumptuous high tea is also served daily in the King Cole Bar, while the sumptuous Astor Champagne Sunday Brunch is also highly recommended.
Where: Nusa Dua
Serving up an endlessly evolving menu that blends the exotic flavours of Bali with international techniques and the highest quality ingredients, Mozaic is Ubud’s greatest claim to culinary fame. The al fresco dining area is set in an enchanted grove flourishing with palms, pine trees and lush ferns. Here, in the coolness of evening, starlight meets the flickering flames of tiki torches to create a devastatingly romantic atmosphere. The exotic herbs, spices and fruits of Indonesia serve as inspiration for the four tasting menus (optionally paired with wine.) These include a seasonal ‘chefs tasting menu,’ a ‘surprise menu,’ based on rare and precious ingredients, a ‘vegetarian menu,’ and a ‘discovery menu’ – essentially market cuisine prepared with western techniques and presentation. A true gourmet experience Mozaic is designed for foodies looking for the thrill of discovering new taste sensations, so expect the unexpected.
Probably Bali’s most famous restaurant, and rightly so, Sarong has a spicy concept of elevating Asian street food into an exotic fine dining experience complemented by good wine, bespoke cocktails and sumptuous surrounds. Known as the ‘travelling chef,’ founder Will Meyrick gathers recipes in his travels throughout Asia then uses the highest quality ingredients and cutting edge techniques to create an Asian food experience unlike anything else. Think Tuna Betel Leaf with lemongrass green tomato sambal, Grilled Whole Squid with young coconut ginger flower, mint lemongrass & kaffir lime green nam jihm, and Slow Cooked Sri Lankan Lamb Curry with coconut milk, coriander, cumin, lemongrass and curry leaves.The chandelier-filled dining room has a graceful colonial ambience, while billowing drapes the colour of molten gold softly frame the flourishing gardens. Choose Sarong for a special evening out, the soothing and refined atmosphere is definitely one to savour.
Teatro is an intimate space with seating for just 30. Combining theatrical flair with gastronomic innovation and a theme of French Asian cuisine with a twist, this is a dining experience like no other. For the ultimate indulgence, choose the 11 course Discovery menu paired with fine wines, then sink back into your velvet-clad chair for a steady flow of dainty, moreish delights, including amuse-bouche, sorbets, surprise courses and mignardises. Degustation menus include entire vegetarian sets, so that, unlike more usual fine dining experiences, vegetarians don’t miss out. The Valrhona Chocolate Bar dessert was definitely the highlight of our visit, with a sensational homemade ‘snickers bar’ composed of chewy nougat smothered in rich dark chocolate, and served with a side of chocolate mousse and raspberry gel.
Locavore uses local ingredients to create imaginative modern European cuisine and consistently dazzles diners with beautifully fresh, fabulously- presented fare. Named for the locavore movement where food is sourced from a 100-mile radius, much of the produce served up at Locavore comes direct from the restaurant’s own organic gardens. In fact it’s the fruit and vegetables ripening on the vine that provide the inspiration for the seasonal degustation menu, which comes with a sensational vegetarian option (who knew cauliflower could taste this good?) Offering a celebration of the island’s farmers, fishermen and artisanal food producers, the emphasis is on slow food, so we recommend allowing plenty of time to soak up the artistry and thoughtfulness of this truly world class culinary journey.