Dinner @ Room 4 Dessert (Bali, Indonesia)

December 19, 2018 in European

And on the day I made my reservation for Locavore, I did the same for Room4Dessert (R4D). Yes, 3 months in advanced again. My interest in R4D was sparked after a Japanese pastry chef, who I follow on Instagram for her food posts, said her Bali trip was planned around her R4D reservation. Wah…

And as with the restaurant’s name, R4D only served desserts. I actually thought there’ll be some savoury snacks on the menu, but no. The restaurant led by chef-owner Will Goldfarb only served desserts. And to be very precise, R4D only offered a dessert tasting menu. Ie, no a-la carte menu.

My reservation was made for 8.45pm because I figured I require at least 2 hours to clear immigration and make my way up to Ubud. And indeed, I reached the restaurant at 8.30pm (via car) after landing at 6pm.

Upon arrival at the restaurant, I was asked to wait (for roughly 5 to 8 minutes) before the staff led me into the restaurant. And I was surprised at how dark the place was. Only the counter seats were brightly lit while each table was illuminated with just a tealight candle. So pardon my grainy photographs.

And as a solo diner, I was baffled when the staff showed me to the communal table. But I was more surprised shocked when I noticed my set of cutlery was set directly opposite another solo diner who was already seated. A communal table which could sit up to 6 people… But the staff arranged 2 solo diners complete strangers to sit facing each other. I was uncomfortable; I’m an introvert and wasn’t mentally prepared at the possibility of talking to new people. And I couldn’t request for another spot because that meant I would be doing it in front of the diner which I felt my action would come across as inconsiderate and rude. So yes, I sat down as per the restaurant’s arrangement. With much reluctance of course.

Upon seated, the staff presented me with the dessert tasting menu together with the mocktail and cocktail pairing menus, and mentioned I could order specific drink as a-la carte instead of going for the full pairing menu.

With that, I started my Season 7.5: In transition (RP780,000) dessert tasting menu for 2 with:-


1) Planifoglia (above) – Barley sabayon, local raspberry, “vanilla”. I really enjoyed this. The top was sorbet while the bottom’s texture was similar to thick, creamy yogurt.


2) New wave (above) – Carrot, pumpkin seed, anise, marigold.


3) Red (above) – Red fruits, rosella, beet cake, red wine.


4) Scarborough pear (above) – Apple tempura, sage diplomate, toffee. Another highlight for me. So good!

5) Angel’s kiss (above) – Soy, mango, jackfruit, pandan, chamomile. Didn’t like this. Neither did the solo dinner seated opposite me. And yes, we spoke cause it’s awkward not to.


6) Incidente stradale (above) – Coconut water, coconut vinegar, white coffee, jamu “kunyit”.

7) The sugar refinery (above) – Coconut nectar chantilly, chocolate toblerone, soursop, Balinese meringue.

8) Caramel tea brulée (above) – Caramel, black tea, cardamom, and sea salt.

9) Chocobubbles (above) – Mom’s cookies, kluwak, warm mousse, “nibs” nougatine.

For the sharp-eyed, it wasn’t a mistake when I mentioned the menu cost RP740,000 (for 2 people). Right after I was seated, the staff explained the desserts at R4D were intended for sharing between 2 and they couldn’t change reduce the serving portion. So instead, they adjusted the price and charged me RP500,400. So yes, I was paying a solo diner price but eating portion that was meant for 2. Very value for money, although I was so stuffed by the eighth dessert. Ha.

Would I recommend Room4Dessert? Well… I say “Why not?” I certainly enjoyed myself despite the awkward seating arrangement and the desserts being a mixture of hits and misses. I liked that head chef Goldfarb was a down-to-earth person; He made himself very approachable. I noticed he make regular rounds to check everything was going smoothly not just in the kitchen but also on the dining floor, and thank customers personally at the end of their meals. In fact, one should totally come to R4D if one is a huge fan of Netflix’s Chef’s Table. I caught the episode after my dinner at R4D and I encourage one to watch the episode prior to one’s dinner at R4D to really appreciate head chef Goldfarb’s creations.

ROOM4DESSERT
Jalan Raya Sanggingan, Kedewatan, Kabupaten Gianyar, Ubud, Bali, Indonesia
+62 361 977002, Website, Facebook
Overall: 7
Opening hours:-
Food/Beverage: 7
Tues – Sun : 17:00 – 23:00
Ambience: 7
Value: 7
* Closed on Mon
Service: 7

Lunch @ Locavore (Bali, Indonesia)

December 10, 2018 in Asian

When Locavore made it to Asia’s 50 Best Restaurants by S. Pellegrino in 2016, I wasn’t sure if I could ever visit them; I had traveled to Bali thrice and was quite determined I wouldn’t re-visit Bali. My travel policy is the same as my food policy where I prefer to explore new places. Tokyo excluded. Keke.

So when my very close girlfriend said I was to be her bridesmaid for her upcoming destination wedding in Bali, I immediately made my reservation at Locavore. Yes, restaurant reservation came before purchase of flight ticket. Haha. For the curious, my reservation for lunch was made 3 months in advanced on Locavore’s online booking system.

And as read from their website… Locavore is led by chef-owners Eelke Plasmeijer and Ray Adriansyah. Eelke, a Dutch-born chef, met fellow head chef Ray Adriansyah when he moved to Jakarta in 2008. The pair ran the kitchen at Alila Ubud together, where they fine-tuned their philosophy of creating tasting menus using primarily local ingredients. It wasn’t before long that their (at that time) unique approach to using only seasonal and local foods was recognised, and they eventually left the hotel industry to open their own restaurant. Yes, they created Locavore in November 2013.

While dishes were influenced by European and Indonesian cuisines, Locavore was all about local. From ingredients to the cutlery.

I arrived at 12.05pm, 25 minutes ahead of my reservation time. Upon arrival at the restaurant, the staff led me to the counter which could sit 5 people. And the staff started me off with the beverage menu (pages 1, 2). I think it’s the Indonesian Balinese fine-dining culture that beverage menu is presented before the food and beverage-pairing menus are given.

I ordered a mocktail since it seemed like I wasn’t going to be given the food menu until I ordered something from the beverage menu. Although to be fair to the restaurant, I could have told the staff I was good with no drinks. But I was scared. Scared of being judged for not drinking. Haha.

And for the food menu, Locavore offered vegetarian and non-vegetarian options. No-brainer that I went with the non-vegetarian menu. Keke. With a further choice of going with just 5 dishes or the full course of 7 dishes, I went with the latter.

With that, I started my lunch with:-

1) Loloh Bali (mocktail version), RP42,000 (above) – Wild honey shaken with turmeric & mint leaves reduction, tamarind syrup & Tanqueray gin, served over ice cubes, topped with homemade lemongrass soda garnished with pomelo & green leaves.

2) 7-dishes non-vegetarian lunch menu (RP895,000) comprised of:-

  
  
  

(A) Starters, Complimentary (above) – Assortment of pickles (which included garlic, passionfruit, cucumber, etc), watermelon tartare topped with seaweed, dehydrated pumpkin leaf sprinkled with seaweed powder, pickled eggplant with sesame seeds in broth, black rice belini topped with smoked egg emulsion and brown rice puff, and grilled mango marinated with passionfruit juice & pepper.

  

(B) Amuse bouches, Complimentary (above) – The first being cold tomato sorbet on sliced tomato but in warm tomato and celeriac consomme. Although I could only see traces of herbs used, I could taste the pepper which lingered in my mouth long after I finished the dish. Second was prata with 3 types of condiment which I was told to sprinkle everything onto the prata. I tried the prata alone and could taste the coconut since I was told coconut yogurt was used.


(C) Bonito (above) – Anis cured bonito, unripe mango, kecap vinaigrette, coriander, cili oil, caramelised sesame, daun kenikir.

(D) Goat tartare (above) – Lightly grilled, burnt eggplant, pickled eggplant, kecombrang, fermented shallots, charred coconut milk.


(E) Cabbage & bacon (above) – Whole cabbage roasted in bacon fat, bacon dashi, cashew sour cream, bacon shallot crumble, lacto-fermented onion powder. And I was told the cabbage was roasted for 90 minutes with bacon fats over it.


  

(F) Into the sawah (above) – Heritage galum rice (from Tegalalang, central Bali), snails & garlic, 64 degrees duck egg, frog abon, fern tips, wild flowers. I was expecting the yolk to flow out like liquid when I poked into the egg, but its texture was like custard. I was also expecting rice to be crunchy like scorched rice, but it was cooked similarly to risotto. Full of surprises.


  

(G) Mahi-mahi (above) – Sago herb tempura, green chilli emulsion, pete shiitake sambal, pickled shiitake, charred green chilli oil.

(H) Burung puyuh (above) – Roasted breast, ginger cinnamon butter, barbecued leg, smoked pumpkin, charred pineapple, pickled pumpkin. Pigeon breast and thigh were used for the dish. The de-boned thigh somehow reminded me of our Chinese 香腸. Hmm…

(I) Pre-dessert, Complimentary (above) – With mangosteen being the main ingredient, this was refreshingly good.

(J) Nuts about orangeGelato, sorbet, gel, crumble, tuiles. The combination of orange and peanut was certainly interesting. I couldn’t decide if I liked it, but I guess it must be a good sign since I finished it. Or did I keep eating it because I was trying to figure the dish out? Keke. But I certainly enjoyed the orange and peanut components separately; Orange was refreshing while the peanut reminded me much of dragon’s bread candy.



  
  

(K) Post-dessert (above) – Petit fours served on Congklak board; A traditional Indonesian game.

Prior to my lunch, I read that the meal at Locavore can get pretty lengthy. And true enough, I spent slightly more than 2 hours at the restaurant. But hey, I ain’t complaining about the many starters and amuse bouches. Keke.

I would definitely recommend one to check out Locavore when in Ubud (Bali). But try not to plan one’s meal just before… Flying out?

LOCAVORE
Jalan Dewisita No. 10, Banjar Padang, Tegal, Kabupaten Gianyar, Ubud, Bali, Indonesia
+62 361 977733, Website, Facebook
Overall: 7.5
Opening hours:-
Food/Beverage: 8
Mon – Sat : 12:00 – 14:30 (Lunch)
Ambience: 7
Mon – Sat : 17:00 – 23:00 (Dinner)
Value: 8
* Closed on Sun
Service: 7