Nutmegs is the name of the re-branded restaurant at the popular Hu?u night and dance venue. International chef Philip Mimbini presents a wide range of dishes based on traditional European with plenty of Asian influence. The menu is quite large but do not confuse this statement with the multi-paged multi-cuisine menus of Bali?s ?tourist menus?. Whilst Nutmegs is a mix of European and Asian in taste, with little bits from everywhere, it is always within a defined style.
The Hot & Sour Prawn soup is a variation on that Thai standard on everyone else?s menu. Here it has a shellfish reduction with a saffron aioli. Portobello Mushrooms are fried in a tempura batter [rice flour] then drizzled with balsamic, a horseradish dip beside. This is a great example of doing the simple things well. The cross slice of mushroom is soft and tender, the surrounding batter light and crunchy, a minute drizzle of balsamic adds a taste but does not overpower, the base of light horseradish cream an added touch.
There is normally a Tarragon & Raisin Risotto combined with shredded duck meat in a light beurre rouge sauce, but I had a variation with scallops in a saffron aioli on the risotto. Chef Philip likes to change his menu on a daily basis and in fact welcomes you to request any creation of your own you would like them to make. He says they ?enjoy a challenge in the kitchen?!
Soups can be that Indonesian special Sop Buntut with its rich oxtail content or a Pumpkin Soup with a twist. This one has an Arborio rice dumpling stuffed with salmon and goat cheese.
Salads here are like nowhere else. They are a lot more than just tossed greens, very different! Grilled Beef Flank is combined with green mango, roasted peanuts and soy and lime vinaigrette. A Gazpacho Salad uses all the normal ingredients of that soup tossed with cilantro [coriander] pesto and pistachio nuts. The Scallop & Baby Spinach Salad is tossed with a Veuve Cliquot dressing. The most ?normal? salad on their menu is one of charred romaine lettuce with shaved pecorino Romano cheese, white anchovy and a lemongrass chilli dressing!
If you think the early courses at Nutmegs offer some unusual tastes, the mains continue the same trend. Boneless Beef Ribs are braised and served with a beetroot mash [a light touch, more pink than purple, just enough to slightly change the taste], vegetable napoleon in a shiraz red wine reduction. The beef is strong in taste owing to the cut but falling apart as long-braised meat does. A Confit of Duck Leg is with cabernet stewed beans and grain mustard jus. The Chicken is glazed with coriander, red sambal and comes in a coconut curry sauce and baked pineapple fried rice. Lamb Shank is with herbed polenta in a pink peppercorn yoghurt and mint sauce. But for lovers of rich meat tastes you must try their Farfalle Buntot; Bow Tie pasta is sautéed with oxtail meat and a little green chilli.
There has to be a steak on almost any menu and here it is prime Wagyu [grade 6, so well marbled] with a sauce made from that black beer from Ireland, Guinness.
Seafood mains begin with a pairing with pasta; linguini and clams tossed with chorizo sausage slices in fresh herbs, garlic, red chilli, white wine and extra virgin olive oil. Fresh tuna is skewered on lemongrass sticks and Whole Lobsters are grilled with garlic and herb butter. Garoupa is wrapped in banana leaf then marinated in local spices, served with organic red rice, the real Balinese variety not the common type that originates in Java and grown here out of climate. Swordfish is grilled with a tomato caper salsa, which gives it a nice bite and aftertaste.
With all of Bali?s wine supply problems of the past year it is unusual to find such a complete wine list; apart from the good selection of wines available by the glass there are 10 Champagnes [even a Veuve Cliquot Grand Dame], 30 white wines [including that special Margaret River Pierro Chardonnay, Cloudy Bay Sauvignon Blanc and a rarely seen in Bali; Petaluma Reisling], and 40 red wines [up to a Rothschild if your budget will stretch that far].
The evening setting [Nutmegs is also open for light lunches] is quite sensational. The centre water pools are surrounded with well lit trees. There is even a romantic bale with white drapes for privacy if sitting on ground cushions is still within your physical ability?
After a wonderful meal, stay and relax when the stylish restaurant Nutmegs becomes the late night rave, Hu?u. Move inside to the main bar and dance area or stay on the fringe in the dining area, a garden courtyard, and let the music drift over you.