Travel and food go hand in hand for me; some of my most memorable travel experiences are also foodie experiences. On my recent trip to Bali, I stayed at the incredible Viceroy Resort in Ubud, which you can read more about here. Hands down, one of the most memorable meals I’ve ever had was in their gorgeous restaurant Apéritif.
This Roaring Twenties themed bar and restaurant is set in a lush jungle valley, just a stone’s throw away from central Ubud. This 60-seat fine dining destination is housed in a spacious, standalone building next to the resort. The opulent design is art nouveau with beautiful marble, dark wood, and bronze elements. As a perfect addition, Indonesia’s rich colonial history is represented with art that depict the last Dutch-Indonesian Viceroys of Bali and Yogyakarta.
Living up to its name, our culinary adventure at Apéritif began with pre-dinner drinks and canapés inside its elegant bar where we enjoyed craft cocktails designed by Ran Van Ongevalle.
Guest at the bar are treated to gourmet canapés served on custom-designed canapés trees. Our canapés tree came with a selection of hors d’oeuvres: my favorite with the beet root goats cheese macaroons. Every bite is meticulously crafted and beautifully presented.
Afterwards, they brought out a plate filled with seashells and topped with two fish bones. Our canapés were elegantly presented on top of the fish bones. This consisted of fish crudo canapés: crispy fish skin, a Lombok oyster (pictured below) with yogurt, additions of spirulina seaweed and smoked-oyster emulsion.
This was an exciting glimpse into what fantastic edible art was in store for us the rest of the evening. If the apéritifs were anything to go by, we were certainly in good hands.
After our drinks and starters in the bar, we were then escorted to the dining room. This beautiful space features a glass-encased wine cellar with handpicked bottles from the Old and New Worlds, along with intimate tables draped in crisp white linens, and large windows that offer views over the ravine.
We chose the eight-course degustation menu which offers an unrivaled culinary journey that brings together the flavors of modern gastronomy, lesser-known Indonesian ingredients, globally sourced produce, and the property’s own greenhouse harvest. That’s right, Apéritif has their very own greenhouse on site and grows some of their own spices and foods! We also learned that talented Belgian Executive Chef Nic Vanderbeeken enjoys using culinary influences form the old Spice Islands and combining it with modern European flavors and cooking techniques.
We started our culinary journey at Apéritif with an order of Martino. This is their beef tartar, paired with a cured egg and cucumber seeds.
This was followed by a glamorized version of the Karedok, a traditional Japanese salad of raw vegetables smothered in a peanut sauce. This one comes beautifully plated, with thin slices of pickled cabbage, cucumber, lettuce and other greens that are carefully wrapped to look like a colorful bud.
Out of the several incredible courses we enjoyed, the highlights for me were the Canadian Lobster with Cavier and the Duck Magret. I cannot resist duck if I see it on the menu, and this one certainly didn’t disappoint. The duck was served with a consommé (clear soup), and a lick of leek oil offering a roasted, vegetal undertow.
The signature Venison Wellington was carved at the table for us by Chef Nic himself. It is stuffed with foie gras and dolloped with a rendang sauce. Somehow, it is both hearty and poised, both rich yet zingy and balanced.
We ended on a high note with a table filled of desserts for our choosing. One of our favorite was the PB & J, a gorgeous concoction of silky peanut butter in a meringue shell sprayed with Monggo chocolate and topped with a tart and tangy mulberry sorbet. The dessert comes with a brown paper bag labelled with your name; just like the packed lunches you might have had when you went to school. Dying to know what’s inside? You’ll have to visit yourself to find out!
It is important to note that they offer an eight-course vegetarian degustation menu as well!
The open kitchen allows guests to watch executive chef Nic Vanderbeeken and pastry chef Alexander McKinstry and their team work their magic amid state-of-the-art equipment unlike any you’ll find on the island, or across Indonesia for that matter.
After enjoying these beautifully unique creations, it is clear that Chef Nic Vanderbeeken has a passion for cross-cultural collaboration and aims to create one-of-a-kind dishes. Apéritif also takes pride in its sense of place, drawing on the cultural and culinary history of Indonesia in terms of not only its food, but decor as well. Throughout the night, the hospitality of all of the restaurant staff was just as spectacular as our food.
Whether you’re a guest at Viceroy Bali or not, a meal at Apéritif should be on everyone’s list when traveling to Ubud! To be honest, my husband and I cannot remember eating a more elegant and delicious meal anywhere. I’d suggest making a trip to Ubud just to eat at Apéritif, it is that incredible.