Asiatique is an Asian restaurant, serving a variety of cuisines.
The trendy fine dining restaurants of the world have been, in recent years, offering a seat [usually a very expensive one] at what they call the Chef's Table. Sitting in the kitchen watching the master chef prepare your meal.
The Japanese have been doing that for centuries, they call it Teppanyaki.
A small number of select guests are seated at a cooking table, the centre of which is a large hot plate [teppan], standing behind is the chef. All the food is prepared in front of you and handed over in bowls, as it is cooked. All very serious and traditional except in some tourist locations where the cooking process is turned into a circus.
Whilst Asiatique offers a choice of Asian cuisines it is the Teppanyaki table that commands centre stage, You can order from the menu selecting whatever items you want to be cooked [meat, seafood, vegetables] or choose one of the Sets; Tani [beef and prawns], Denen [prawns, fish and chicken] or the special Angus Beef & Lobster Set. As well there is a special extra set each night of the week?.I had the Wednesday special, the Kawa Set. It was an amazing array of seafood.
All sets begin with an appetizer [cucumber sushi], and include a bowl of miso soup which is made using a miso paste [fermented soy bean] and dashi stock [dried fish] with chopped spring onions and small blocks of tofu. Miso accompanies many Japanese meals. There is also a bowl of Japanese pickled vegetable strips and one of steamed rice.
The first performance on the teppan is to produce a plate of assorted vegetables, each vegetable having its own slightly different cooking method, the flaming that accompanies the finish is more for show but still very effective. The dish includes bean sprouts, capsicum, onion, mushrooms, asparagus and shaved strips of pumpkin. Even the sauce [unsalted butter and soy] is prepared on the teppan and scooped over the food.
Then the main course of your choice [meats and/or seafood] is prepared with the same very Japanese attention to detail.
Teppanyaki is not all that is served at Asiatique, there is a full a la carte menu. You can start with an appetizer from Thailand [Tom Yum Goong, the classic hot and sour prawn soup or BBQ Sea Scallops and Pomelo Salad with tamarind dressing and kaffir lime], Vietnam [Banana Blossom Salad], India [Spiced Prawns with a crunchy crumbed dhal fritter, cucumber salad and minted yoghurt podina], Japan [Sushi or Sashimi] or Indonesia [Soup Buntot, which is ox tail or the traditional ever popular Soto Ayam, turmeric scented chicken with glass noodles].
An Asian Tasting Plate is a mix of items, some of which are from the menu and others that are not. It includes a taste of that Banana Blossom Salad as well as Vietnam?s Rice Paper Roll, Thai Gai Hor Bai Toey [marinated steamed chicken wrapped and steamed in pandan leaf] and a chilli-glazed Curry Puff plus Sate, Bali-style, with shrimp and lemongrass.
Banana Flower Salad may sound strange to all who have never before tried this dish that is so popular in Thailand and Vietnam. Yes, you actually eat the flower but then many flowers and leafs are edible. Whilst the Thai version uses lemon, coconut, coriander and chilli this classic Vietnamese one uses basil, lime and of course fresh mint. Very refreshing!
The Mains, other than the Teppanyaki, are also from a variety of Asian cuisines. Head of the list is definitely Crisp Skin 5 Spice Peking Duck, closely followed by the Indian Mughlai Lamb Shank Korma. The King Prawns are cooked in an Indonesian curry of coconut milk, turmeric and lime leaves.
The Seafood Tempura [squid, prawns and fish] reverts to the Japanese theme, whilst a fillet of Sea Bass is crusted with tempeh, no doubt a creation of the chef. Whilst the Angus Beef Fillet is as international as you can get, it is served with an unusual sweet potato roesti [Swiss] and rendang sauce [Sumatra].
Vegetarians are well catered for. Whether it is just a selection of vegetables to be cooked on the teppan or complete dishes from the menu such as the Wafu Salad [seaweed and lettuce with sesame dressing] Vegetable Tempura or a Martabak of leek, onion and mushroom in a curry sauce.
Asiatique is something very different in Ubud, an area of Bali that now offers as much variety as the trendy south, just that it is a bit more laid-back and relaxed. Asiatique deserves a visit by night for its Asian delights, and another by day as the same area also hosts Ubud?s best breakfast buffet. As many local expats have already discovered.