Ondy Sweeting samples the high life at Seas.
The dramatic cliff of Uluwatu has a dazzling new star of South East Asian cuisine with Seas restaurant at The Edge.
In the lush grounds of The Edge – a villa resort and the luxury cliff club oneeighty – Seas is perched in a glass aerie taking in the fabulous views over the famous pool with its five-metre glass bottom lip set over the cliff and the Indian Ocean.
A central feature of Seas space is a contemporary carved interpretation of a lotus flower with the stem wrapped by a circular sofa and the rising root moving towards the roof and separating into petals that seemingly support the ceiling.
Cleverly concealed lighting creates a warm ambience amid the glass and timeless ocean view. Tables have double linens and a tiny wreath of rice sits at the centre. The delicacy of the décor defies the potent impact of the menu that traverses the region and presents popular classics and rarer dishes with unusual ingredients.
On the pans is the acclaimed Balinese Chef Nyoman Suasa who has been at the vanguard of the resurgence to bring authentic Indonesian cuisine to the world.
Much of the menu looks outside of Indonesia for inspiration and establishes a regional taste while unusual ingredients perfectly pair to ancient South East Asian culinary techniques.
Vietnamese sawtooth coriander from Bali’s holy rice terraces of Jatiluwih is cooked as tempura and flash fried to create a delicious pre-dinner morsel along with warm tempe chips that are crisp and salty. Match this up with Seas signature Siam Colada cocktail crafted from mango infused rum, virgin coconut cream, caramelized pineapple and kaffir lime for a tropical treat. The magical in-house mixologist Mambo has curated a cocktail list that compliments the menu and includes a refreshing Ginger Caipirinha and a Holy Basiloska.
Entrées include smoked coral trout and salmon roe wrapped with betel leaves and finished with Thai spices and palm sugar that sends layers of fresh flavours to titillate the tongue. A bite size Singapore chili crab without the shell topped with soft shell crab arrives on a mantou bun is salty and sweet. Divinity appears on the table in the form of a light lamb martabak served with crunchy cucumber pickles, a crisp fried curry leaf and sublime curry sauce.
The main affair is a culinary tour of the region including Vietnam, Bali and Malaysia with an opulent beef cheek rendang – an Indonesian classic – sweetened with freshly pressed coconut cream that makes a thinner curry in honours the Malaysian methods. The delicate flavours and subtle heat delivers an undercurrent of exotic spice and tastes. The tender beef cheek melts in the mouth.
Prawn banh xeo pancakes, tinged yellow with turmeric, are stuffed with fat prawns, pork, peanuts and coconut caramel.
A dazzling return to the culinary traditions of Bali comes as a plate packed with four halves of perfectly barbequed Bambu lobster that fall away from the shell at the slightest touch. The meat is flavoured with a mix of Jimbaran-style spices that carefully deliver aromatic spices that do not overwhelm the creamy and salty sweetness of the lobster meat. The Bambu lobster is served with Balinese lawar – a delicious vegetable mix of green beans, coconut, bean sprouts and local spices and finished with a citrus shock of calamansi.
A separate dish of steamed Chinese Kailan is cooked in the classic manner in a wok with garlic. The provenance of the produce is impressive with organic ingredient used at every possible turn with the dynamic flavours speaking of uncompromising quality.
Chef Nyoman has cunningly crafted a menu that explores the region while being firmly rooted in Indonesia and supported by Western methods.
His superb culinary pedigree includes the elite kitchens of the Beverley Wilshire Hotel in Los Angeles, the Four Seasons Resorts and upscale Seminyak dining destinations of Bambu and La Lucciola.
Dessert is a revelation of how a simple dish can be made astounding. The Indonesian Lak Lak is pandan pancakes with fruit and coconut cream. However, this baby comes as six tiny fluffy green cakes crowned with different glories including a mélange of tropical fruits, palm sugar caramel, nuts and coconut with edible silver leaf.
Second dish is a beautiful looking Bombe Alaska with durian gelato covered in pandan meringue in small spikes to reimage a durian and finished with an Indonesian rum flambé. The flavour is as unforgettable as the sight of blue flames cooking the green meringue at the table. One bite was enough.
Seas takes wine seriously with Sommelier Nyoman Suwinda Yasa – who was named Bali’s Best Sommelier 2016 – in control of two bespoke cellars filled with more than 2,000 wines from the major houses of France and Italy plus showcasing some of the world’s better but lesser known producers.
Seas is a brilliant addition to the exclusive and growing number of dining destinations that truly investigate the amazing treasures of South East Asia.
Arrive early for sunset drinks and watch the day move into night. A viewing deck at the bar is a gorgeous location for spotting marine life feeding while the Bali sky drifts through its nightly dance from pink to blue to black with a billion silver stars overhead.