With impeccable pedigree and new songs to sing, Ku shines on. Words: Stephanie Mee. Images: Lucky 8.
SOAKING up sunsets is sine qua non on Bali’s sexy southern coast, and Ku De Ta is the original sunset gathering spot for the global trendsetting crowd. Since its debut in 2000 this beachfront destination has been offering elegantly designed spaces that smoothly transition into the sand and sea, plus unsurpassed service, dining, drinks and beats.
You would think that such an establishment might go stale after 15 years on the scene, but Ku De Ta is constantly reinventing itself to stay on top of the game with chic new decor and dining concepts, killer themed parties and events, and creative cocktails and cuisine.
Even on a Tuesday afternoon the energy at Ku De Ta is high as we walk past the bustling bar, DJ booth, and packed sofas, sun loungers and communal tables to snag a sublime spot directly overlooking the beach and ocean. Within minutes black-clad servers are taking our drink order and presenting us with watermelon and mint martinis made with premium Ketel One Citreon vodka.
It is easy to slip into the laid-back tropical vibe here, as the seats are plush with strategically placed patterned cushions, the music is jazzy and upbeat, and the drinks are icy cold and go down a treat. Plus, you can’t beat the views of kites soaring above Seminyak Beach, surfers caressing the waves, and the shifting pastel shades of the sky as the sun sinks below the horizon.
The Grazing menu offers a multitude of snacks that catch our eye, so we start with the Szechaun salt and pepper squid. The plate comes piled high with thick strips of crispy golden fried squid dusted with chopped basil and fried garlic and shallots and served with a creamy yuzu aioli. We also sample the lobster and pork gyoza and are supremely satisfied with the plump dumplings stuffed with seasoned ground meat and spring onions and served with just the right amount of black pepper vinegar sauce.
Although ample in size and perfect for sharing, the snacks only serve to whet our appetite for more, so we follow them up with one of Ku De Ta’s famous pizzas. Although we could have gone continental with The Spanish Cure featuring jamon serrano, cherry tomato, Napolitana sauce, basil and bocconcini, or vegetarian with the Bali Hippy laden with roasted pumpkin, goats cheese, pine nuts, truffled honey and rocket, we decide to take a walk on the wild side.
The diabolical sounding Ring of Fire pizza is a sassy mix of pepperoni, salami, mozzarella, cherry tomatoes, chilli flakes, fresh mint and Napolitana sauce. The first bite has a bit of crunch from the crispy thin crust, as well as a hit of heat from the chilli and spiced meat that is soon tempered by the fresh mint, juicy tomatoes and mild cheese. This pizza is not for the faint-hearted, but great for those who can stand the spice.
Fully sated, dessert seems out of the question, but the cheese board is just too tempting to resist. It comes with sizable slabs of creamy, blue and sharp cheeses accompanied by freshly baked bread, pineapple and roasted cashews. And what better way to end the meal than an aromatic coffee? Ours are delightfully Irish with caps of fluffy whipped cream.
We spend the evening lounging downstairs on the sofas facing the sea, but guests seeking a more fine dining experience can head to Mejekawi on the second floor. Designed as a tasting kitchen and food laboratory, this sleek space has a central open kitchen and floor-to-ceiling glass walls that offer bird’s eye views over Seminyak Beach and the Indian Ocean.
Guests of Mejekawi have a choice of five or twelve-course tasting menus with optional wine pairings from the wine list that won the restaurant the Award of Excellence from the Wine Spectator. The innovative plates here are prepared with fresh local produce, state-of-the-art equipment and modern techniques, so each dish is unique fusion of classic Indonesian flavours and contemporary artistry.
Ku De Ta also has another exciting project in the mix that should be open by the time this magazine hits the stands. Located on the upper right side of the complex, Tuile will offer a sweeping wooden deck overlooking the sea and a modern minimalist interior where guests can indulge in the finer things in life like foie gras parfait, black angus steak tartare, caviar and oysters, as well as handcrafted cocktails made with seasonal ingredients.
We don’t know how they do it, but Ku De Ta manages to remain the same stylish spot we know and love, but with cutting edge tweaks and twists that never fail to excite. And with the addition of Tuile, we have just one more reason to keep going back for more.