BALI, Indonesia — As the newest luxury resort on Bali prepares to announce its debut on the world stage, the island’s most sophisticated fine dining chef is carving out a place for the hotel among Asia’s top culinary stops.
Frederic Boulay, who in less than two years turned The Sakala Bali into the No. 1 gourmet restaurant on Bali, according to TripAdvisor, is fine tuning the menu at The Restaurant, the all-day dining venue at the emergent Chedi Sakala.
When the eagerly anticipated resort opens in the Tanjung Benoa area of Nusa Dua it will offer two distinct dining options developed by the same culinary mind.
“Nusa Dua is renowned for many reasons — its waters, its beaches, its exotic appeal,” said Boulay, a French-Canadian who worked in the Caribbean for three years before relocating to Asia. “What we want to add to this list is gastronomy of the highest order, so much so that people will say, ‘You haven’t been to Nusa Dua unless you have dined at The Chedi Sakala.”
While Boulay established the resort’s culinary foundation at the beachfront Sakala Bali, his next act will introduce The Restaurant at the center of the resort, a couple hundred meters away.
While Decadence — or, foie gras six ways — is a hallmark of The Sakala Bali’s menu, more casual fare blending Eastern and Western styles will anchor The Restaurant’s card.
Examples include Pork & Prawn, featuring Chinese deep-fried pork belly and jumbo prawn served with sweet and sour sauce, pineapple, bell peppers, spring onion and coriander; and Seafood Brochette, a skewer of char-grilled tuna, prawn, sweet pepper and zucchini served with vegetable basmati rice and herb vierge.
“I didn’t grow up in an Asian kitchen, but as an experienced chef, I know what’s good,” said Boulay, who spent 14 consecutive winters doing internships in Europe and learning from such culinary legends as Joël Robuchon, Michel Bras, Alain Ducasse and Jacques Chibois. “I believe a good cook can adapt.”
Boulay’s willingness and ability to adjust is exemplified in the dishes he serves up. While there is a place for French cheese and Australian beef, local items rule.
“The foolish chefs are the ones who say, ‘I used such-and-such ingredient where I was before, so I will do the same thing here,’” said Boulay, who recently wrote a cookbook with his father, Jean-Luc, Quebec’s most acclaimed gastronomist. “That’s not good. You find the best home-grown products you can, and then you build a menu around that.”
Like the hotel, The Restaurant was designed by Boonchai Sakulthamrak, managing director of Green Architects in Bangkok.
The venue is flanked on one side by a lagoon pool and possesses an array of Balinese touches, including bingiri wood bales (traditional sleeping platforms) designed to accommodate guests who prefer to lounge while they nosh.
Tropical flora, including four species of palms and 16 types of shrubs and flowers, adorns the perimeter and walkways. Private dining rooms with floor-to-ceiling windows occupy three of the corners.
Managed by GHM, The Chedi Sakala will be the first luxury hotel to open in Nusa Dua since 2012. With 247 rooms and 14 villas, it is the largest hotel in the GHM portfolio.