No restaurant in Bali has the history of the old Café Warisan. Whilst it started life as an Italian restaurant it then became Vietnamese before finally settling on French. It was as a French restaurant under the tutelage of Daniel Vanneque [now of The Living Room], bringing Chef Doudou from the French Embassy in Jakarta, that Café Warisan first came to prominence in the mid 90's. It was the first stand-alone restaurant to offer quality fine dining outside of the protection of a five star hotel, and survive.
History never stands still and after being closed, whilst undergoing a massive renovation, it has now re-opened, simply called Warisan, with a design that is breathtakingly simply yet impresses on sight. The tables are well spaced for privacy, and once seated you immediately feel comfortable, ready for the relaxed hour or two that is to follow.
Whilst there is a lunch menu, the full dinner menu is also always available. Lunch only specials include Wagyu Burgers and Foie Gras Sandwichs, an enormous variety of salads, some simple [skewer of marinated prawns with papaya], some exotic [mango mozzarella millefeuilles with Parma ham], and Pasta [from a Linguine Carbonara to a homemade Tagliatelle with rock lobster]. My favourite lunch at Warisan is their Chicken Roll, stuffed with goat cheese, wrapped by Bresaola [a paper thin layer of air-dried beef] perfumed with rosemary, served on a bed of fine quinoa. The goat cheese in the centre keeps the chicken flesh very moist, a dish with taste that is also available on the dinner menu
When first perusing the menu at Warisan you quickly notice that the menu prices are much lower than what you expected! This reality also applies to the wine list. A very enlightened attitude has been taken to the pricing at Warisan in a fight against the rampant inflated prices being charged at so many other top level locations, and copied, without merit, at lower ones thereafter. So their attempt is to present a restaurant where you can afford to dine regularly, by minimizing the markups, without impairing the quality.
Dinner time is fine dining time! It is time to relax and enjoy a meal to remember. The variety of choice is quite substantial. Start with one of their signature dishes, Crispy Gyoza. Dumplings of Chinese origin, kidnapped by the Japanese, first steamed then pan-fried on one side, so that one side is a soft white, the other a crispy brown. At Warisan the dumplings are stuffed with snail and shiitake mushroom, and drizzled with garlic butter.
I think I have found another favourite in Bali! Warisan's Drunken Lobster Ravioli is my sort of dish. The round soft sachets are amply stuffed with a coarse mince of lobster flesh, very drunken, and they sit in a rich lobster bisque. Don't leave any of that sauce; that is what the bread is for!
Other entrees include Oysters, either Natural, with lemon, or Gratinated, served with spinach and champagne sauce. A Lobster Tail is roasted with a vanilla infusion, and comes with vegetable tartar and caramelized ginger. A mixed plate consists of Scallop Sashimi with a pink peppercorn sorbet, Pan-fried Scallop with artichoke mousse and lemon foam and a gratinee of porcini mushroom with scallops and clams.
Smoked Salmon Blinis are combined with a Foie Gras Terrine and figs. Or there is a Duo of Foie Gras, one pan-fried the other as a terrine with apple, rocket and figs and red wine and ginger mango chutney. Gratinated Portobello Mushrooms are stuffed with a strong goat cheese and sit on a pile of mesclun, young leaves of green and red, sprinkled with walnuts and apple straws. A dish to satisfy vegetarians and the rest of us alike.
Amongst the small pasta selection is one gem; Duck Liver Ravioli with the essence of tartufata [an intensely flavoured sauce of truffle, black olive and mushroom], glazed with daikon and carrot.
Steaks feature prominently on the Warisan menu, just as they used to all those years ago at the original Café Warisan. Prime Australian Tenderloin can be grilled with a mushroom morel sauce, or topped with pan-fried foie gras in style of the old 'Rossini', whilst the Rib-Eye is served in very traditional style with béarnaise, blue cheese or green peppercorns sauces. The Wagyu Tenderloin has been hung before grilling.
Away from steaks there is Marinated Lamb Chop with cumin and mint yoghurt, served with quinoa and assorted herbs and a Duck Duo, the breast pan-fried, on the plate is a pear poached in red wine, the wine taste infusing throughout. On the side is a bowl of greens tossed with cold crunchy pieces of the duck leg confit.
Seafood choices include fried Barramundi its skin crisp and crackling, with sautéed spinach and lemon foam, porcini saffron cream and polenta, Red Tuna that has been marinated before grilling, with a wasabi mash, a Duo of Scallops and Prawns with a green risotto, or Pan-fried Salmon in tomato butter. New addition is Black Cod sitting on a lumpy potato base and sprinkled with black truffles.
A restaurant with a French chef [well that half of Belgium] and the desserts you expect to see are on the menu; Crème Brulee [but a mini selection of three, speculaas, vanilla and chocolate], Fine Apple Tart [with almond cream and green apple sorbet] Souffle [an excellent passion fruit with a raspberry and coconut sorbet, the texture the same throughout the souflee, from top to bottom] are all there. As well a Chocolate Contrast, chocolate ganache and cacoa sorbet. One surprise is a Cherry Crumble, borrowed from the English and improved on with chunks of cherry flesh combined with thin squares of apple under a thick crunchy breadcrumb topping, vanilla ice cream on the side of course! My style of dessert!
For a non-beachfront restaurant Warisan exudes a simple charm that makes it surprisingly ideal for a leisurely lunch, away from the hassle and bustle that often pervades those seaside restaurants. At night it takes on its own sense of casual elegance.
Welcome to a fine new dining experience, high quality without the rip-off! The new Warisan is of a class and style all of its own. Whilst being comfortably modern it still preserves that Bali feel that so many of the others have lost with their concrete and glass.