The search for contemporary approach in serving authentic Balinese cuisine is finally over in Mr. Wayan, Balinese Cuisine the enchanting restaurant on the green hill of Ubud.
Driving up and leaving the hullaballoo of Central Ubud behind, we finally reach the tranquil resort of Wapa di Ume. Its latest venture, Mr. Wayan, Balinese Cuisine opened its door just two years ago and has been receiving rave reviews from discerning foodies of Bali. Naturally, this particular foodie wants to taste it and so, finds herself seating on a chair, looking at the lush green field below.
The semi-outdoor seating arrangement is comfortably arranged, with wooden chairs and beautiful table set-up. An array of traditional Balinese kitchen equipment is charmingly displayed in one corner.
Lead by Chef Gede Paskara Karilo, Mr. Wayan, Balinese Cuisine was created with just one essential concept: to get the flavour of au- thentic Balinese cuisine correctly. “Balinese cuisine is rich in flavour, herbs and spices. Here, we do not restrain our way of cooking to make it less spicy or dumb down the flavour. We cook our food whole-heartedly, just like how we cook at home,” claims the chef. I do like the unapologetic approach, and even more so when I find out that they only do serve Balinese dishes and beverages on the menu.
Rice is one of the most important things to get right for the discerning Balinese palate. Therefore it is with delight that I can report that Mr. Wayan’s rendition of [Nasi Gurih] or savoury rice ticks every box with its fragrant herbs and stickiness that comes from being cooked with coconut milk. To accompany the rice, we order several meat and vegeta- ble dishes. The [Serapah Kambing] is a lamb stew made of coconut milk and kele seasoning base. The key to get a Balinese dish cor- rectly is the seasoning base with its ample of herbs and spices. Kele, for example, is made of more than ten different herbs and spices. The lamb is tender and perfectly marinated. While the [Lawar Kenus] is good enough to silence us completely, with its sweet baby squid basked in grated coconut and spices.
A round tray of [Nasi Be Siap Base Kalas] is another delightful entree that we delve in delightfully. The poached chicken is delicate and easily shredded from its bone, while the sayur urap or vegetable in grated herb coconut remain tasty and the chicken broth, hot. Slurping an artfully presented bowl of [Es Daluman] in between bites, I can only sigh with glee when the waiter keeps com- ing back with our non-stop request for sambal or chilli paste refills. It is truly a mark of successful feast if the diners keep asking for more sambal. We close the meal with rice flour balls filled with palm sugar that burst in one’s mouth. Be that as it may, because there is only a satisfied silence over our table after the meal.■