23.2.15

Mejekawi by Ku De Ta, Bali

We'd originally planned to do dinner at Ku De Ta, but were sweet-talked by the front-of-house into dining at Mejekawi, its sister restaurant upstairs and the newest jewel of the original Ku De Ta family. Whereas the mod-Aussie Ku De Ta is casual and breezy, the pan-Asian Mejekawi is all grown up and elegant.

Also, unlike Ku De Ta's ala carte menu, Mejekawi offers just 2 degustation menus, and nothing else. Still, any reservations on the lack of choice is quickly defused at first bite. Mejekawi is fusion cuisine at its finest. Impeccably conceptualised, masterfully executed, and gorgeously plated, Mejekawi manages an effortlessness that's got the sincerity of soulfood, but the refinement of haute cuisine.

Coupled with breathtakingly scenic views of the seascape, and the soothing rhythm of the crashing waves on the beach, and the Ku De Ta group has another winning concept on its hands.

Ask for the balcony seats for the most magnificent views on the house. It overlooks the beach and Ku De Ta's premises downstairs. If it gets too warm, you can always move indoors. Reservations are a must, and the restaurant's website conveniently allows for online bookings. 

Service was positively first-class, and by far, the best of the lot of restaurants sampled in Bali. The wait staff were impossibly accommodating, and charmingly affable. I mean, we moved in-and-out of the restaurant multiple times and the staff were never fazed. We had cocktails and starters outdoors, then moved indoors for the mains and desserts, then finished off with a digestif back out on the balcony.

We opted for the 5-Course Degustation Menu (IDR590,000/S$62). For those with a more voracious appetite, you may wish to order the staggering 12-course (IDR1,380,000/S$145) instead.

Dinner kicked off with an effervescent Yellow Fin Tuna Ceviche dressed with radish, coriander oil, shallots, lime and chillis. A mildly bitter pinenut rempeyek lent crunch.

This was washed down with a complimentary White Bloody Mary shooter enlivened with droplets of basil oil.

A reinterpretation of chawanmushi, the also-complimentary Corn Custard, speckled with cauliflower, water chestnut, and conpoy in a miso seafood broth was baby-bottom smooth, sided by a crispy potato film.

Onto the second course of a buttermilked Southern Fried Gochugaru Quail melded the best of the American south with Korean sensibilities. The achar kuning, burnt lime, and aioli provided refreshment.

The other choice of a second course was the luscious Wood-Fired Crayfish (supplement IDR60,000/S$6.35) perched on a bed of X.O. sauced fregola and fresh leek. 

The third course was a choice of a decadent Char Grilled Wagyu Oyster Blade, fork-tender and full-bodied, garnished with micro-cress and smoked red peppers. 

This was served with a Potato and Fennel Gratin, burnished with golden breadcrumbs and utterly delicious.

Also siding the beef was a piquant Mesclun Salad dressed in balsamic. The greens were so sweet, we lapped this all up.  

An alternative to the beef was the Black Cod, raked over with coals and glazed with a roasted honeyed chilli paste, balanced out by crisp jicama, apple and lime.

A Basil Sorbet capped with cucumber granitas, a dollop of homemade yoghurt, and fresh chopped tomatoes, also gratituous, was a refreshing palate-cleanser.

For dessert, we had a option of the artistic Tabanan Chocolate with roasted cocoa nibs ice-cream, cashew nut sponge, finished with kopi luwak bubbles. For all of its bold components, this was wonderfully nuanced.

The other option was the Pandanbert, a silky panna cotta fragranced with smoked vanilla and pandan, topped with the Indonesian snakefruit, salak, and crispy mung bean soil.

The Balinese Meringue, with palm sugar and white chocolate rounded off the set, while we were served a complimentary digestif (unphoto-ed) and cocktail punch.

The restaurant interiors, which, in comparison to the rest of the restaurants, was considered brightly lit.

Cocktails are de riguer for enjoying the spectacular view on the balcony, and while I had the sweetly delicious Mango Lady (IDR130,000/S$13.75) with tanqueray gin, mango and lemon juice, the Hubs had a madmen-approved Cinnamon Rum Old Fashioned (IDR130,000/S$13.75) with ron zacapa 23yo, cinnamon, orange bitters, and an orange twist. 

Just look at that view from the balcony!

Entrance to Ku De Ta

Like Metis, Ku De Ta also charges for bottled water, and Mejekawi only carries the designer brand Fiji Water (IDR60,000/S$ for 1L). Oh well.


Mejekawi by Ku De Ta
Website: www.kudeta.net

22.2.15

Sloppy Joes Lasagna

This recipe melds 2 of my all-time comfort foods - lasagna and sloppy joes. It's meaty, hearty, and totally satisfying. The nature of a lasagne requires a "sloppier" joe, so I increased the tomato puree by half a cup.



Ingredients (makes a 5-layered lasagna tray 12" x 8" and feeds approx 6):
250gm lasagna noodles (I used the instant variety, 20 sheets of 7" x 3.5")
1/2 cup marinara sauce
1.5 cup grated cheddar
3/4 cup grated mozzarella for topping

Sloppy Joe's:
350 gm minced beef
150 gm minced pork belly
1 medium yellow onion, minced
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 green pepper, diced to 1cm cubes
1.5 cup tomato puree
1 tsp cumin
2 tsp brown sugar
1 tbsp cider vinegar
1 tsp dried thyme
Dash cayenne
1 tbsp Worcestershire sauce
2 tbsp bacon fat-infused oil


Directions:
1) Fry onions in oil, about 1 minute on medium-high heat.

2) Add garlic, and fry till soft and caramelised, about 4 minutes.

3) Add peppers, and fry till softened, about 3 minutes.

4) Add beef, frying till the pink is almost cooked through, about 4 minutes.

5) Add pork, frying for about 4 minutes and making sure to break up the chunks.

6) Add tomato puree, cumin, brown sugar, cider vinegar, thyme, cayenne and worcestershire.

7) Start to assemble the lasagna. First slather about 4 tbsp marinara sauce all over the base of the casserole.

8) Layer with a row of lasagna noodles above it. It's okay to overlap the noodles a little. Layer with marinara sauce, and the sloppy joes.

9) Layer with 1/2 cup grated cheddar.

10) Repeat twice with lasagna noodles, marinara sauce, sloppy joes, cheddar, so you end up with 3 layers of fillings. Top with lasagna noodles, marinara sauce.

11) And finish off with a generous sprinkle of grated mozzarella. Cover the casserole with a loosely fitted aluminium foil and bake for 20 minutes at 200 Celsius, before taking off the foil and baking for a further 15 mins at 190 Celsius or until the cheese is browned.

12) Rest about 5 minutes before serving.

13) If not eating right away, don't take off the foil, but take the tray out from the oven and store in freezer for use up to a week. To eat, defrost it in the morning before you go to work by transferring it to the fridge, and when you get home, heat it up for about 10 minutes at 190 Celsius covered with foil, and 15 minutes uncovered.



Metis Restaurant, Bali

I've noticed one thing about the Balinese restaurant scene: just about every restaurant, from the rustic to the upscale, is low-lit and open-aired. Being particularly susceptible to both heat and mosquitoes, us dining out in Bali is usually a harried experience. And because visibility is so low (it's so damn dark!), I can never tell if I'm eating a stray fly. Well, let's just say that I've never had to use the iPhone flashlight as much as I did in Bali.

So, for us to waddle away after dinner, raving about a restaurant still, is something else.

Metis, the award-winning reincarnation of the famed Kafe Warisan, is an absolute must-try in Bali. Occupying a double-storeyed compound that encircles a miniature padi field (read: mosquitoes galore!), the buzzy French restaurant cum lounge cum bar oozes sophistication and glamour. Naturally, the crowd is beautiful and snotty, so dress up. 

While service was gracious, it was wobbly at times. Twice we had different waitresses repeatedly query our orders (I'd asked to hold off the "yucky green garnish", because, apparently, chefs in Bali LOVE to put parsley/coriander/cilantro in EVERYTHING). At about IDR1.5m(about S$158) for dinner for two, service should have been smooth and slick, not sputtering out goo like a rusty tap.

That said, the modern French cuisine at Metis was absolutely stellar. Polished and flawless, every dish was outstandingly sublime.

And, as with every other fine-dining restaurant in Bali, advanced reservations are strongly advised (Metis has a very convenient online reservations system). Or be prepared to have dinner at 10pm.

The Pan-Seared Foie Gras (Rp230,000/S$24), set in a pool of port and raspberry reduction dotted with morelo cherries, was sandwiched between layers of roasted apples and topped with apple crisps. 

Slices of crusty walnut and brioche were served to mop up every last drop of that delicious fruity sauce.

Swaddled in a scaly skin of shaved potato circlets, the Pan Roasted Red Snapper (Rp175,000/S$18.50) was complemented with a capsicum and tomato coulis, basil pesto and balsamic reduction. A shallot confit and grilled zucchini strips lent sweetness. 

The succulent Lobster Ravioli (Rp185,000/S$20), swimming in a sumptuous winter black truffle beurre blanc, was topped with fried enoki hay and seaweed for a umami finish.

The sparkling fresh King Prawns a la Plancha (Rp195,000/S$20.50), imbued with a smoky char, were set atop a bed of grilled Mediterranean vegetables, sundried tomatoes, pinenuts and kalamata olives risoni, with a lively basil pesto sauce providing a mild peppery heat. 

The towering Grand Marnier Souffle (Rp78,000/S$8.50) was subtle and delicate, just like its airy fairy consistency.

The souffle was contrasted with the dense and chilled Drunken Almond Sponge Cake. The 'yang' to the souffle's 'yin'.

Metis' signature cocktail, the Passiontini (Rp130,000/S$13.75), a perfect marriage of pureed passionfruit and Beluga vodka, lived up to the hype as a must-try. The Coffee Martini (Rp130,000/S$13.75), which blended kahlua and Beluga vodka, with espresso and sugar, was no slouch either. It was as potent as it was sweet and heady. Absolutely smashing cocktails here. If I had to choose, Metis' cocktails were the best of all we had in Bali. 

Complimentary bread rolls: The Mixed Nut Roll was buttery and fluffy and warm and toasty.

The Herbed Roll was incredibly aromatic, and so flavourful on its own it rendered the awesome Bordier butter redundant.

Bali tap water is not very potable, so you'd need to buy still water to hydrate, or go thirsty until you return to your hotels. Here, a small bottle of Equil hawks at (Rp25,000/S$2.60) a pop.





The restaurant interior. 



Metis
Website: metisbali.com

18.2.15

Club Metropole

Of all the Club Metropole lounge offerings, we enjoyed the afternoon tea most. The colonial-era Metropole truly does its French heritage proud, in that their bakers' confectionery was superb.

The various executive club lounge offerings are listed in order of descending preference below. 

Afternoon High Tea (from 2.30pm to 4.30pm)

The High Tea had a strong emphasis on confectionery, and we loved just about all of its offerings.

Hawaii Cake

Rose Lychee Cake

Chocolate Mocleux with coffee cream

Green Tea Mousse

Egg & Salmon Sandwich

Nicoise Sandwich - the baguette was dried out, but the tuna mayo was lovely

Ham & Cheese Sandwich, with a pickle atop

Chocolate Pudding with vanilla creme anglaise

Grilled Vegetable Mini Burger - the mini burger buns were rock hard, so we just ditched that and ate just the grilled zucchini

Chocolate Bon Bons

Strawberry Tartlet

Crepes

Scones, with strawberry jam and vanilla chantilly

Dry Cake - for something called a "dry cake", it was surprisingly moist and buttery and crumbly.

Fruit Salad

Lotus Che

Green Bean Cake

Seasonal Cut Fruits


Breakfast (from 6am to 10.30am)

The breakfast spread may look significantly less extensive than the hotel breakfast offerings at the Spices Garden, but it's because it's all pared down. Anything served downstairs at the Spices Garden was plated ala carte-style at the club lounge. A big bonus, champagne on Sundays is complimentary at the club lounge breakfast! Now, that's something I'd gladly drag myself out of bed for!

Assorted Cheese - always a crowd pleaser

Champagne, free-flow and complimentary!

The Benedict - while the bread was middling, and the ham uninspired, the eggs were poached perfectly and Hollandaise sauce velvety.

Bacon & Sausages

Grilled Tomatoes, Sauteed Mushrooms, Ratatouille

Assorted Delicassen

Baked Beans, Sauteed French Beans, Hashbrowns

Assorted Fruits

Drinks Station, with freshly squeezed juices like green pumpkin & pineapple, tomato & strawberry smoothie, pineapple & banana mixes

Cereals and Milks

Fried Rice with Egg

From the ala carte selection, the Vietnamese Breakfast of Beef Pho - While falling short of the standards offered along the Hanoi streets in the Old Quarter, this was much better than the room service chicken pho. The beef was tender and juicy, and stock restorative.

Bread Counter - the breads at the Metropole were generally dried out and/or rock hard, but I liked that they had vegemite and a lovely mango jam

Assorted Yoghurt

Mesclun Salad

The other ala carte selections

Asian ala carte menu


Evening Cocktails & Canapes (from 5.30pm to 7.30pm)

Evening bites were mainly cold cuts and smoked seafood. Mostly middling but the cheese platter pretty decent.

Cheese Platter

Mango Tartlet

Smoked Salmon Fresh Spring Roll

Cracker

Smoked Tuna

Smoked Salmon

Ham

Mortadella

Chorizo

Pita

Mango Salad

Papaya Salad with beef jerky

Bread Counter


Hotel Metropole Hanoi
Website
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