When an organization claims that it offers the number one food experience in Bali through it’s mystery dining tours,it immediately piques your interest.The Bali food safari which I stumbled upon by accident is a culinary tour for the palates put together by Australians Simon and Gael after they enjoyed diverse food encounters on the amazing island of Bali.After several e-mails back and forth to their marketing head Samantha we decided on the location that was closest to my hotel. I registered myself for the Jimbaran tour of the Bali food safari !
The team was very thorough in their communication.Questions were asked regarding food allergies and preferences.Our petite guide Dewi picked me up well ahead of the stipulated time to get started on an evening that was exclusively for our taste buds. After we picked up the other guests, Dewi went onto explain further.Though we travelled together in a group we were welcome to having our own individual tables. That made it so much more intimate. Our driver was equally friendly and drove at a relaxed pace while Dewi chatted a bit with all of us .
At each venue we were to be offered three course meals of small plated portions.This is to ensure that we are able to taste upto 12 different kinds of dishes that will delight our culinary senses to the maximum. Indonesian,French,Japanese and Moroccan were some of the food influences that were on offer spread across 4 unique restaurants.
We arrived at the first venue called‘The edge’. It was literally situated at the edge of a cliff. We had golf carts waiting at the lobby to transport us down to the restaurant.The first sight of the restaurant had us all catching our breath. What a great location to start ! It was like a setting off a glossy travel magazine. A glass railing stood between our tables and the sheer drop, the wooden deck had portions of clear glass where one could see the waves hitting against the rocks below ! The sun set slowly behind the clouds just as the food courses began.
We were treated to Chef Darren Lauder’s grilled scallops ,cooked just right followed by a lip smacking creamy potato and carrot soup with bacon bits,the cheese and bread delightfully plated in the middle to resemble a mini burger !The last course was a portion of crispy duck on a bed of bok choy, a tad salty but more than made up for by the crispy skin!
It was back to the van to get to the next gastronomic experience. We chatted excitedly with the rest of our group who were from Australia and were every bit as impressed as we were by the quality and diversity of our meal !An hour later we arrived at Jumana.The table décor and crockery were as white as the pearl beads in a glass goblet signifying that Jumana means white pearl.We were welcomed by having our hands washed with fragrant frangipani water that was poured out of a beautiful beaten brass vessel. Though the tuna tataki here was not great there other two dishes were just exquisite in taste and presentation.The egg custard with a prawn and mushroom ragout was served in the cleanest brown egg shell that I had ever seen.The second was for me the dish of the evening just because of the simplicity of the ingredients made more delicious by the temperature at which they were served. The taste of the hot yellow cherry tomato soup with a milk foam eaten with cold crab meat is a memory that will be etched in my flavor cells forever.
Happy and satiated we all but tumbled into the vehicle for the 25 minute ride to the bottom of Jimbaran to the Bali Belmond.Our tables were laid out on the soft sandy beach where we had a lovely view of aircrafts taxing down the runway.Two ceremonial Balinese umbrellas added to the welcome. Bolder flavours surfaced.Saffron ravioli served with a rich tomato sauce,slow cooked beef ribs that just fell apart in it’s fatty juices and a spicy lamb kofta served with a fruity chutney elevated our food senses to giddy proportions.
The final stop was for a three course meal comprising of just desserts.Alternating between drooling and guilt we reached Cuca where Canadian born chef Kevin showcases his quirky dishes.The dishes here aren’t individually plated.They are served in one large bowl with a broad wooden paddle like spoon that encourages sharing.The Bali breakfast dessert which looked like a big fried egg was in reality a mango ,coconut cream , shortbread and passion fruit confection that was culinary mastery on a plate.
Though mint and chocolate is not my favourite combo ,the next dessert Cocoa 99 completely transformed my palate with it’s cold mint icecream,hot satiny bitter dark chocolate sauce and roasted cocoa nibs with icing sugar. But the piece de resistance was undoubtedly the caramel apple mousse with the stewed apple in lemon balm served alongside a Japanese black pepper icecream and waffle croutons. As the icecream melted on the tongue,a hit of the pepper highlighted the sweetness of the caramel and the sour of the lemon balm. The waffle crouton idea to me was pure genius !
It was a great way to end this evening of sampling not only fine cuisine but one that was presented in such a unique manner.It opened up our palates to the artistic traits of the many talented chefs that call Bali their home !
This is one safari that I would whole heartedly recommend to anyone looking for a food adventure. Allergies and food prefrences are respected and strictly followed, so a big thumbs up there as well !
Do check out www. Bali Food Safari
and prepare yourselves for an amazing evening !