When selecting a dinner destination in Bali, most diners head straight to the beachfront, eager to feast beside the island’s famous sands. But actually, when a restaurant chooses to swap these sunset views for a more unique, intimate experience, the food becomes the main focus and every effort is made to make it as stunning as the seaside. This is exactly the case at Teatro Gastroteque, Seminyak’s cosy restaurant and culinary theatre where fine wines and exquisite cuisine takes centre stage.
Teatro Gastroteque is serious about food. It doesn’t rely on a beachfront location to ensure its popularity, nor does it surround its diners with floor-to-ceiling windows that could draw their attention elsewhere. Instead, the cosy, 32-seater restaurant is completely enclosed, making the food that is served the main event. The reason being, Teatro actually means “Theatre” in Spanish, and just like its namesake, a dinner at Teatro is a special occasion, an evening affair that should be savoured over multiple hours and glasses of fine wine.
Chef and co-owner Mandif Warokka has recently stepped things up a notch with Teatro’s latest degustation menu, curated by Executive Chef Daniel Edward – just one more reason to dedicate an evening to this experiential dining destination. The menu offers a staggering 17-course wine-paired dinner, with each course consisting of just a few, outstanding bites. You can select fewer courses if you choose, but allow around three hours to fully enjoy the experience. We told you this place is serious…
A Theatre of Flavour
Teatro’s culinary show begins with a seletion of bite-sized morsels, setting things off to a very impressive start. The “Teatro Greens” sees an assortment of crisp veggies atop a zesty bed of salsa; light and fresh to gently ease us into the gourmet marathon ahead. The foie gras “En Terrine” is dished up next, and it is quite possibly the best variation of the prized liver that I have ever tasted, served with tiny cubes of sticky mango that make this heavy delicacy surprisingly fresh and easy to wolf down.
Another highlight is the scallop tartare, glimmering with a lid of caviar and a side of wasabi emulsion. It is followed by the cakalang (tuna) capellini pasta, smoked in-house then served rich and spicy. It is here that the impeccable orchestration of the menu becomes crystal clear. Where one course is full and fragrant, the next is light, delicate and fresh. The same can also be said of the paired wines, where each glass either balances out any powerful flavours, or enhances the most delicious ones.
The meatier courses slowly make their entrance, with the beef tataki a clear standout. The softest, most succulent strips of marbled Wagyu are gently seared and served with a colourful mishmash of salad, Shimeji mushrooms and a smooth onion dressing. The delicate flavours are then paired with a 2010 Erath Pinot Noir. This beautiful wine from Oregon, USA is surprisingly full-bodied for a Pinot (so much so I had to double-check the label), which brings out the beefy flavours of the meat superbly.
With still plenty of room to enjoy the final savoury courses, we devour a duck breast served especially juicy with a garlic purée and crispy onions. Even more impressive pairings are brought to the dinner table with a glass of 2011 Dourthe Bourdeaux accompanying a beef knuckle and tongue combo, followed by the crumbly Coral Trout infused with Indian and Moroccan spices, served with an airy-fresh Riesling.
A Sweet Finale
The dinner ends on a very high note with a mascarpone ice cream sprinkled with shavings of a Semolina orange and balsamic beets. An 80% Valrhona flour-less chocolate cake rounds everything off, served with pickled strawberries and a decadent rum and raisin ice cream. Somehow, after so many courses and glasses of wine, I don’t feel overly full nor too fuzzy headed. It shows how well the menu has been choreographed, but more than that, it makes an evening at Teatro one than can be savoured, drawn out and enjoyed from start to finish.
Did you know?
Chef Mandif Warokka is a self-trained wine connoisseur. His passion for exquisite grapes takes him to as many wine dinners and wine tastings that he can squeeze into his busy schedule, and he injects this learned grape knowledge directly onto his menus at Teatro.
Look Out For:
Mandif is set to open his new Ubud-based restaurant any day now. The new restaurant will be very different to Teatro, swapping gourmet international dishes for ultra-fine dining Indonesian cuisine.