Wijaya Kusuma the restaurant is difficult to describe. The Ayung Resort is even more difficult, in fact you have to visit to comprehend one man's vision to create such a place. It has taken many years of land accumulation on the upper reaches of the Ayung River, upstream, from the Begawan Giri Estate.
There are many rooms, suites and private villas but all you see is trees. The silence is almost 'deafening' all you can hear are the birds. They say that all the buildings were built around the trees [removing only very few], sounds like a PR spiel, but it is true!
Wijaya Kusuma is their fine dining restaurant, facing up river. Eventually that site it will become the all day restaurant when the new rooftop location, looking downriver, is finished.
The food lives up to the quality of the location. To dine here is to dine in peace! For lunch the fare is simple, yet still quite exotic. Start with Chinese half moon steam buns, being in Bali they are stuffed with duck meat and jukut urab. A Prawn & Papaya Salad is with cucumber, tomato, coconut, herbs, sprinkled with peanuts and a sour chilli dressing.
After deciding your menu selection then visit the wine room, select your wines to accompany your food and be amazed at the very minimal markup on retail. All wines and spirits are also available for outside purchase.
The Charcuterie Plate combines chicken liver pate, prosciutto, salami, bresaola, cornichons with mustard, a baguette on the side. Or perhaps you would prefer the real thing from Spain; Jamon Iberico Bellota with a red pepper pesto and olive oil bread.
If you want to lunch in style there are two Seafood Platters available by pre-ordering. One has chilled entrees of prawns, smoked salmon, smoked marlin and octopus, followed by hot items; crumbed barramundi, soft shell crab and fish cakes. You can even add Lobster to this spread.
The major Seafood Platter [pictured] includes all and is grilled to your requirements nearby on a portable BBQ.
For dinner, the options are far more exotic. Start with generous pieces of Pan Seared Foie Gras, seated on soft mushroom ravioli, morel sauce and apple chutney complete the experience. A Beef Carpaccio is with a difference, flavoured with rendang spices. Perfect on a hot night is their Chilled Herb Soup accompanied by a small patty of spicy diced tomato salsa which you can eat separately or drop it in as well, gazpacho style. More exotic is their Mushroom Truffle Cappuccino.
The mains include a selection of local Indonesian and worldly international dishes. Locals include Ayam Betutu, or Be Sampi Mesanten, braised beef with balinese spice, wok fried baby bok choy, mushroom and turmeric-coconut rice. Even something that sounds so simple, Prawn Curry, is quite exceptional, tender shelled prawns in a soft coconut milk curry.
The Iga Bakar, are described on the menu as grilled marinated pork ribs, but in fact there are cooked long and slow sous-vide style, incredible taste and so tender this meat actually does fall of the bone. They come with cumin-shallots rice, and sit on sauté green beans-eggplant, cabbage, chili sambals and pickles. Use the great kitchen made black rice bread to soak up the residual sauce! There is also a simple Balinese style Pork Sausage, grilled and served with coconut - galangal sauce, lontong and pickles.
The international spread is all encompassing. Beef 3 Ways includes tongue, cheek and sirloin or you may prefer a pure Wagyu Sirloin served with creamed potato, roasted mushrooms, asparagus and cafe de paris. The very crisp Pork Belly is with that Austrian-German spätzle - kemangi, soy bean, tamarind, arak - apple sauce and sesame. The Baby Chicken is served Chinese style dipped in soy and black vinegar, with straw mushrooms, tofu, mustard greens and XO.
Seafood can be Lobster with Jumbo Prawns with asparagus, potato, orange, lemongrass dressing and coriander, perfectly steamed Barramundi with prawn dumpling, prawns, coconut sauce and herbs or Gurami combined with prosciutto, scallop and duck confit. The Soft Shell Crab sits on various crudities and pomelo pieces stacked on a round slice of watermelon that provides a refreshing after taste.
To finish an innovative dessert with local tastes, a Pandan Creme Brulee accompanied by a mandarin ginger sorbet! A signature dish from chef and one not to be missed, so delicate!
The easy option is the 6 course degustation dinner at Rp 595,000++ p.p. that begins with the Prawn & Papaya Salad followed by the Herb Soup and pan-seared Foie Gras. Then your choice of seafood [lobster and jumbo prawns] or beef [tongue and cheek]. A Camembert from Phoque?s Cove with truffle honey and pink salt lavoche, and then that wonderful Pandan Crème Brulee, to finish a coffee or tea with petit fours.
Excellent food in an amazing setting.
Royal fine dining!