James Watling and friend go for a gourmet gallivant in Uluwatu …
BEGINNING his career in native Germany, Kai Kauder has been on a round the world voyage of discovery for the last 20 years taking in as many cuisines as he has countries during work stints in France, Spain, Kuwait, Thailand (where he garnered a Tatler award for exceptional cuisine and services) and now Indonesia.
His present stop is at Uluwatu for Anantara and he’s on a mission to bring an intimate dining experience to the cliff-tops of “Impossibles” surf break. For sure he’s got the view to play with, plus an incredible venue and a diverse repertoire of recipes at his disposal, all we need now is a bottle of bubbles and a table for two.
Running the dining operation at Anantara Uluwatu has somehow managed to afford Kai the time to launch Dining by Design – his own private dining concept within the grounds, perhaps described as the ultimate romantic occasion the chef has prepared a five-course tasting menu with a choice of Asian, World and Vegetarian options, and an Extravaganza Menu that leaves little to the imagination when it comes to the inclusion of exceptionally fine ingredients.
The inspiration behind the menu is clearly apparent with dishes such as the Freshwater Javanese Crayfish Ravioli with Braised Baby Fennel served on a bold cognac and olive oil bisque or the Nori Risotto – crispy sea bass fillet and wasabi foam with soya reduction.
Kai’s fascination with blending new-world fusion cuisine with traditional European and Asian dishes. The results are nothing short of fantastic and it’s refreshing to see a chef that is so genuinely passionate about constantly pushing the boundaries of traditional pairings and incorporating so many diverse ingredients into his plates.
The chef, it turns out, has a bit of a thing for sauces and it’s evidenced in almost every dish that comes out of his kitchen, the White Tomato Cappuccino with Baked Scallop is testament to his methodical approach to flavours with a perfectly balanced creamy texture and subtle tomato characteristics . . . all that’s missing is an olive foam to offset the sweetness of the potage. When not marrying Asian influences to his offerings Kai sets a straight course to classic French cuisine with a slightly modernised twist – the Veal Tenderloin with a Tiger Prawn Centeron Turned Vegetables with Port Jus and the Duo of Duck; Pan Fried Foie Gras and Duck Breast with Celeriac Puree, Beetroot Potato and Truffle Foam are heavyweight Francophile plates . . . not for the feint of heart or those that don’t possess the appetite.
Always on the lookout for something new we were particularly impressed with the fanfare dessert, a wholly original Karthauser German Dumpling with a passion fruit centre, vanilla cream and fresh strawberries. Basically a brioche take on the Baked Alaska this is a wholly delectable addition to the menu and the perfect way to round off the meal.
Good luck finding your way up the stairs to the entrance of Anantara Uluwatu after indulging in this.
A lot lighter than expected the dessert works especially well with the sorbet although one to share would suffice after five very decadent courses. Indeed if the Extravaganza Menu sounds a little too indulgent for some then the chef and his team are more than happy to consult with guests to tailor-make the menu together and even sit down and brainstorm particular tastes and dietary requirements to create the ultimate gourmet dining experience.
With an absolutely breathtaking setting, impeccable service and gourmet indulgences galore Dining By Design is a cut above the cliff-side dining scene on Bali’s billion dollar bukit stretch.
Reservations essential. Pool Island and Viewing Deck dining options are available during all seasons. Price starts from IDR 2,300,000 per couple ++ without wine.