THE PROMISE OF PERFECTION
A BEACON OF THE CULINARY SCENE IN BALI, KAYUPUTI IS THE SPECIALTY BEACHFRONT DINING RESTAURANT AT THE ESTEEMED ST. REGIS BALI RESORT. SERVING UP PREMIUM ASIAN-INFLUENCED HAUTE CUISINE AMIDST AN UNRIVALLED SETTING OF BEACHFRONT LUXURY, KAYUPUTI DELIVERS AN UNFORGETTABLE DINING EXPERIENCE, THANKS TO ITS AWARD-WINNING EXPERT TEAM.
Kayuputi’s Chef de Cuisine, Agung Gede fuses Asian flavors with classic Western influences, using the finest ingredients, meticulous presentation skills, and placing an emphasis on retaining the dish’s intrinsic complexity. To accompany the fine cuisine, a German Chief Sommelier, Harald Wiesmann is at hand to recommend irresistible grapes, taken from the stellar wine list that has earned Kayuputi its four Wine Spectator Awards. Kayuputi offers an Astor Champagne brunch, as well as impressive lunch and dinner menus, but for me, I have my sights set on Chef Agung Gede’s exclusively rich and luxurious eight-course degustation menu – with the added treat of Harald’s expert palate to guide me.
Let’s Set the Scene
Settling in to one of the most romantic dining cabanas I have ever seen on the island, I am cooled by a soft ocean breeze as I breathe in the unobstructed panoramic views of the golden sands of Nusa Dua, only a few meters away. The cabana is elegantly dressed in white drapes, matching Kayuputi’s fresh modern décor and the sophisticated ambience. Living up to its name, Kayuputi means ‘white wood’ in Indonesian; the material of choice used throughout the restaurant, sparking the atmosphere and romance of a bygone era.
A two-story wine cellar majestically overlooks the dining room and its grand open kitchen, while the intimate bar beckons with soft white sofas and enticing evening cocktails. Chef Agung Gede greets me with his warm Balinese smile, while his palate-pleasing partner in crime, Harald, welcomes me with a glass of Duval Leroy Champagne. As I sip on the precious bubbles and listen to the sounds of enthusiastic adjectives describing the colorful plates that have danced through the restaurant, my taste buds are yearning for their first bite.
An amuse bouche of buttery foie gras sets the gastronomic ball rolling, topped with light and fruity tuna pieces and dressed with a bold vinaigrette. Alongside, a train of homemade breads lines the center of the table; each segment infused with exciting flavors, from zesty sun-dried tomato, to a sprinkling of glazed sesame seeds.
With my palate promptly awoken, Alaskan scallops follow, served luke warm and with each succulent piece placed in a neat circle, resembling the petals of a flower. The center of the flower is a delicate serving of fine Sturia caviar, tucked under a blanket of micro sorrel and surrounded by a vanilla-yuzu vinaigrette. A lemongrass foam is a welcomed citrusy accompaniment, enhanced by Harald’s recommendation of the Kim Crawford Marlborough Sauvignon Blanc, brimming with a bouquet of tropical fruits and herbaceous notes.
Next is the quick-seared deep sea snapper; a light and crumbly treat amidst a rich and meaty herbal duck bouillon, flavored with fresh leek, ginger, cilantro leaves and sesame oil. Harald suggests a French Domaines Schlumberger Pinot Gris for this dish, along with exact instructions on how best to savor: “First, sip the wine. Next, sip the wine and add a sip of the soup. Then sip the wine and the soup, and top with a bite of the fish. Finish with just a bite of the fish, and a sip of the wine.” At first it seemed a little too methodical, but as each flavor is added or subtracted from the palate, a new sensory explosion is born. I am eagerly awaiting Harald’s next directions…
The Rossini-inspired carpaccio of wagyu beef is reminiscent of a luxurious red carpet, elegantly resting beneath the shaved foie gras terrine. Balsamic sago pearls and a black truffle balsamic vinaigrette completes this extravagant dish, so what better way to accompany something so fine, than to taste Harald’s Syrah Sake red wine cocktail? This exclusive blend is pleasantly sweet, complementing the contrasting earthiness of the foie gras. Directions from Harald are less complex this time. Simply: enjoy.
After such a flavorful course of contrasting tastes and textures, the light and refreshing lemon confit of tripletail fish is well received. Topped with a rouille foam, the fillet lays upon a pillow of organic spinach which is doused in a wonderful sea urchin butter. To lighten the subtle acidic notes of the fish, Harald suggests Le Rime IGT – a blend of Pinot Grigio and Chardonnay grapes. The nose of the wine is at first overwhelming, but as the tannins develop amidst the crumbly, succulent fish, the magic of the wine is revealed – as is the brilliant partnership between chef and sommelier.
The pan-roasted magret of duck marks the end of the savory courses, and Chef Agung Gede has certainly saved the best until last. The duck boasts a magnificently pink middle, cooked to perfection and cutting like butter. A majestic tower of pan seared duck foie gras is the crown atop a medallion of duck leg confit, placed neatly upon a caramelized Granny Smith apple for a sweet yet refreshing tang after such an indulgent bite. And once again, Harald’s wine pairing is impeccable. This time I am presented with the Chateau Cissac Cru Bourgeois – a Cabernet Sauvignon and Merlot mix that harmonizes the earthy flavors of the foie gras.
As Chef Agung Gede takes a bow, Pastry Chef Vincent Stopin takes to the stage and wows my taste buds with a deliciously innovative dessert. Strawberries are compressed with basil to create a tantalizing sweet sorbet and syrup, served with a strawberry meringue, strawberry mousse and a sphere of Greek yogurt ice cream. A chocolate placard reads ‘Kayuputi’, while a pink-coated cane completes the eye-catching presentation. Another of Harald’s own cocktails are introduced, this time not intended to harmonize flavors or to soften the taste, but to instead intensify the strawberry explosion. It is a blend of strawberry liqueur and Chambord, served in a heavy Martini glass. It is also the reason why I skip the following course of coffee and tea, and instead order one more…
A Final Thought
With such impeccable attention to detail lavished on everything, from the outstanding menus, to the flawless service, immaculate linens and perfectly polished tableware, it is no surprise Kayuputi is one of Southeast Asia’s most talked about wine dinners. Chef Agung Gede’s cuisine is simply exquisite, and with the added expertise of Harald’s specialist wine pairing, Kayuputi delivers a dining experience a cut above the rest.