Ondy Sweeting visits Republik45 and samples the local revolution.
Recline into the cool vibes of Seminyak’s buzzing live music scene, sip enticing cocktails and indulge in the distinctive delights of upscale Indonesian dining.
Republik45 is a mainstay for a hip night out or casual lunch with a menu that reflects the vast geography of Indonesia with street food, cuisine of royalty, home cooking, regional specialities and traditional recipes. This is offered within the beautiful confines of an architecturally designed two-level building with intimate lounges, lotus ponds filled with fish, a large garden al fresco dining area and superbly trained staff of waiters and mixologists.
Course after delectable course arrive as a result of the skilled hands of Balinese chef, Ketut Udiana, who trained with Mozaic’s chef Chris Salans. He prepares dishes that are true to their roots. Authenticity is clearly key to Chef Ketut’s work ethic, which honours the very meaning of the year that Indonesia shed the shackles of Imperial colonisation – 1945.
The menu is as light or complex as any appetite requires with a range of small sharing plates and luscious dishes from the garden including Ayam Tangkap – tender pan-fried boneless chicken bites infused with local spices and a touch of mild chilli which is a perfect start for those unfamiliar with local flavours. For the hard-core lovers of local food secure some rujak with crunchy tofu and peppery greens dressed with a sweet and sour sauce.
The Tempe Mangga is another wonderful salad where young mango is tossed with fermented tempe cake, fresh soybeans, corn, tender asparagus and shredded chicken sprinkled with peanuts and finished with a lime dressing.
The crisp freshness of the ingredients is a feature of these salads. Vegetables and fruits are bought every day from Bali’s Badung market and organic and seasonal produce is on the top of the shopping list. Vanilla is sourced from Sulawesi while delicate green fern tips come from Sumatra.
So taken by the idea of super-fresh foods from the pasar – or daily market – that Republik45 has launched the Pasar Malam night market that will flaunt Chef Ketut’s talent for creating sensationally tasty Indonesian finger food and evolve it to a fascinating level of excellence. This monthly event will be epic on March 27th when the restaurant celebrates its first anniversary.
The restaurant already has a hot reputation for its choice of artists for the live acoustic music schedule on Wednesday and Friday evenings where locals and expats regularly gather for a night out of great tunes and tasty sharing plates.
For the hungry and curious the main menu has traditional soups – including the opulent Sop Buntut – a rich concoction of ox tail, vegetables and spice – and the ubiquitous and flavourful Soto Ayam – is a light turmeric chicken soup with glass noodles, vegetables and boiled egg.
Lovers of seafood will adore the Udang Balado, fat juicy tiger prawns sautéed with a richly spiced sambal and served on the most luscious fried greet fern tips – a delicate plant from Sumatra that deserves to be offered as a stand alone dish or as a side order.
The Beef Rendang is an authentic slow-cooked dish flavoured with subtle chilli and coconut emulsion served on crisp fried greens.
Finishing a spiced dining experience with a sweet treat is wonderfully gratifying. The menu captures a small and reflection of local treats including Pisang Goreng – fried bananas – that come with Sulawesi vanilla gelato plus the Kue Nanas Bakar – grilled pineapple with sweet palm sugar, sponge cake and gelato.
The Dadar Unti is a divine crepe stuffed with a melange of shredded coconut and palm sugar, rolled and drizzled with warm caramel and topped with vanilla ice cream. It’s a winner.
Republik45 continues to offer a culinary experience that embraces both the novice and local gourmets making this a superb starting point for any culinary journey of the archipelago. Cruise in for a smashingly good cocktail such as the coconut and pandan Daiquiri and graze on the weekly special tasting plates. Alternatively grab 100 of your finest foodie friends and celebrate that special something in this elegant temple of fine times.