Unforgettable Indonesia at AMANDARI
THE SCENE itself was unforgettable. As dusk descended on the Ayung Valley and smooth jazz tunes were floating in the breeze, we arrived for dinner at Amandari. This was one of the special events during the recently concluded Ubud Food Festival that I was looking forward to. Chef Petty Elliott, together with chefs Shane Lewis of Amankila and Syamsul Rizal of Amanjiwo were preparing a menu befitting the beautiful surroundings of Amandari.
This was a dinner I was not going to soon forget. Not only did they want to showcase the creations of the three chefs, they also wanted to highlight local Indonesian ingredients. Plus, Aman resorts are known for their impeccable hospitality and service, so I was in for a lovely and unforgettable evening.
Upon arrival, some bubbles were served together with some canapés. The sun was setting, but you could still see the Ayung valley across from the Amandari pool. Tranquil and verdant. Musicians were playing some light jazz and it only contributed to the lovely ambiance. And then we sat for dinner, my most awaited part of the evening.
The five-course menu was divided among the three chefs. The starter, Tuna Bumbu Pesmol was made by chef Rizal. Lightly seared yellow fin tuna was served with Pesmol (salty, savory, sweet and spicy turmeric based sauce) spices and picked radishes together with some light ponzu. A nice and interesting starter, perfect to get the appetite going.
Second course was by chef Shane, Palem Bebek, local duck was steamed in banana leaves with the traditional Balinese base gede spice paste, then served with a baby coriander salad. Chef Shane has spent many years in Bali and has mastered the use of the local spices. This dish was flavorful and creative, with the base gede shining through.
Third course was by chef Petty. Manadonese Ayam, it was sous vide rolled chicken breast with woku spiced, dabu-dabu salsa and an avocado puree with lime and chilies. The dish was not too spicy, as the Manadonese would normally have it, but the spice was just right in opening up the palate.
Fourth course was chef Shane’s Aman Babi, cold smoked sucking pig with bumbu Bali, a corn sambal with a light fern tip salad. An ode to the famous Balinese babi guling, the pork was flavorful and succulent with the perfect hint of spice.
The last course, dessert, was by chef Petty. It was her rendition of Kolak, a traditional coconut and palm sugar dessert. Petty’s had smoked pineapple, caramelized banana, coconut ice cream, palm sugar syrup, roasted cashews and pandan dust. Such a unique and elegant dessert, the perfect ending to an unforgettable meal.
“It is a privilege to be able to cook in such beautiful surroundings and to showcase and highlight Indonesian cuisine and ingredients,” chef Petty gushed. It was indeed a privilege for us guests to be pampered with such a well-prepared menu and it is always a delight to see Indonesian food put forward in a modern and interesting way. I have said it already many times in this article, but truly unforgettable.
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