Admittedly, Indonesia is better known for its beaches than its beetroot. But this culinary tour to discover the unmissable eateries will make you love the country more for its food. By Devanshi Mody
Luca Fantin, honed at Rome’s three Michelin-star La Pergola and voted as the ‘Best Italian Chef in the World’ by Italian guide Identità Golose, has recently brought Tokyo’s only Michelin-star Italian restaurant to Bali. Here, premium ingredients are crafted into contemporised five courses complemented with what is possibly Bali’s only self- respecting wine list—you’re unleashed with Gaja to Planeta and Louis Latour Burgundy. We’d recommend a sunset at the poolside while sipping on the award-winning pandan-infused signature Bulgari cocktail Amaryllifolius.
Spanish Executive Chef Marc Panades makes sure to check on your personal preferences only to propel you to gastronomic heights. His 10-course menu is a sensory odyssey accompanied by insanely good mocktails. Local produce and incisive European technique make for cutting-edge cuisine to rival the world’s sharpest Michelin-star chefs. Vegetarians can feast too. The carpaccio that seems like beef is astonishingly made of melon. Innovative, arty, and sometimes excruciatingly perfect, you’d want to watch the dishes rather than eat them! Not to miss the beetroot and campari creation that’s served with an equally piquant tale.
This tropical restaurant has transformed Bali’s culinary scene from rustic to gastronomic unleashing dégustation menus and hosting Michelin-star chefs. Belgian Executive Chef Nic Vanderbeeken does meticulous European dishes, when not rarefying Indonesian cuisine into epicurean delights.
With verdure for decor and the humming Ayung River for soundtrack, this is amongst Bali’s most entrancing addresses. Romance descends by night when the view fades and candles light up. An Indonesian chef trained at Dubai’s Burj Al Arab tautens local cuisine with impeccable flavours and textures.
In the remote West Bali National Park, the only place on the isle with deer, this eco-luxury resort designs extraordinary destination dining. General Manager Gusti Cayaningrat dispatches you on morning jungle treks that lead you to a pristine setting—think crisp blue waters, mangroves galore, an orchestra of birds, and a breakfast cornucopia mounted like Nero’s feast.
Bali’s most-bugled launch of 2017 is fascinatingly Bali’s only Japanese resort where dapper young Executive Chef Makoto Miyamaguchi reinvents Balinese food with Japanese technique including masterful noodle broth. Plus there’s an all-Japanese breakfast platter every morning at the restaurant.
At this century-old, history- imbued colonial mansion in Indonesia’s culture capital Yogyakarta, Chef Gatot Santoso’s ‘Chef’s Table’ unveils a five-course traditional Yogyakarta meal: five chefs present five dishes, telling a story with each. The degustation happens in the chef’s office. And the one unmissable item on the menu: the rather addictive es dowet.
With 19 dining options dotting a 90-hectare integrated resort that boasts of expert expat chefs (French, Mexican, Greek, Chinese, Thai besides Indian Executive Sous-Chef Ravindar Dalal), this is a one-stop-shop for foodies. Try everything—from teatime tempeh sandwiches at the Orchid Lounge, to an Indonesian buffet at Kampoeng Bali, and tequila and tacos at UNIQUE Rooftop Bar.
9. Bawah Island
Spanking new, hugely-hyped and already award-winning Bawah features the Treetop Restaurant where experimental young Italian Executive Chef Omar Bernardi who worked at Milan’s two-Michelin-star Sadler fuses Indonesian and Italian cuisine. More audacious are the Japanese soba noodles in zesty Italian lemon sauce. Bernardi says things could get more exciting, but for the scarcity of produce on a private island far-flung in exotica. Now that they are cultivating their own organic garden, expect gourmet iconoclasm soon. Until then, feast on the magnificent views of sapphire waters studded with diamond-wreathed emerald islands.
This is Bali’s swishest restaurant, the place to see and be seen, usually in designer labels that don’t sell below $1,000. The food is better presented than cooked, but you won’t notice after a few glasses of quirky German sommelier Harald Weisman’s wines or prosecco that he can pair startlingly with pasta, when not writing poems.