Estate space is precious on a plate. It’s why the spotlight is usually cast on that slab of marbled wagyu, or a fleshy Canadian lobster.
Aperitif in Ubud is a refreshing change. The restaurant isn’t wanting for lobsters or prime meats; you’ll find these easily on the menu. But the crowning glory here are the sauces.
Holding court at the Viceroy Bali, whose 25 villas offer a view of Ubud’s lush greenery, Aperitif is the resort’s first fine-dining outfit. Owner Anthony Syrowatka has dressed it up prettily. The walls are a cool slate-grey. The black-and-white floor tiles are so smooth, you hear every click of a heel. The rococo chandeliers that twinkle high above — ah, these are like a fine piece of jewellery.
A dollop of this rendang sauce goes over a slice of venison wellington, which is wheeled out on a trolley and carved table-side. It’s a decadent combination of game, foie gras and flaky pastry. And it’s the rich sauce that makes this dish the pièce de résistance of Aperitif. The dish should be savoured with a Shiraz-Viognier blend from Barossa Valley.
Besides harvesting from the old Spice Islands, Vanderbeeken is also a master of building flavour with fermented ingredients. His ‘tasty paste’, for instance, is a combination of miso, kombucha, and trimmings from fermented vegetables. It’s an umami spice sauce that amps up the flavours of a traditional duck magret. Chase it with a cup of intense duck consomme.
“If I ever go back to my country, I’ll know my cooking has definitely changed. I’m not happy anymore with just a sauce,” says Vanderbeeken.
“It has to be something more; it has to be interesting.”
Jln. Lanyahan, Br Nagi, Ubud, Bali 80571
T: (62) 361-971777
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