It was a sunny and calm afternoon in Ubud when I pulled over my car at the parking lot outside Viceroy Bali. Breathing in the fresh rural air for the first time in a while, I walked groggily (da*n 6am flight!&#@!) towards what's going to be one of the most exciting luncheon in my entire blogging journey. It would be a much anticipated lunch, featuring one of Belgium's top young chefs, Nick Bril, of The Jane, Antwerp
, plus, I was going to join the Ambassador of Belgium to Indonesia, HE Patrcik Herman, in an intimate luncheon with only 13 other guests at Viceroy Bali's CasCades Restaurant.
The Flanders Investment and Trade office organized a food event for a number of select Indonesian travel and lifestyle press (and food blogger, me). To call it a privilege, is still an understatement, I feel truly blessed to be joining the rank of distinguished guests that afternoon.
|Pre-luncheon Aperitif: Veuve Cliquot Brut NV|
Nick Bril is known for his stellar achievement at the 3 Michelin Star Oud Sluis, which was closed in 2013. Currently, he's the Head Chef of The Jane in Antwerp, which received its first Michelin star, just a few months after it opened in March 2014. Selected as one of the #FlandersKitchenRebels
, Nick Bril is one the brilliant chefs under the age 35 with a passion for Flemish gastronomy, pure products and innovation. Knowing all this, and the fact that he's a Michelin Star chef, I was even more excited about the lunch that was about to start.
|Left: Wine Pairing: Dom Perignon 2002 Champagne, France|
Right: amuse bouche
|Indonesian style peanut crackers, served with artichoke dip|
|1 of 10: Raw Emulsion of Bambu Bali Salad|
A brilliant, light and fresh starter, delightfully crunchy vegetables such as corn, carrot, string beans, beet and some other veggies, which I don't recognize, peanut sauce, braised quail egg and drizzled with serundeng (grated & grilled coconut). To me as an Indonesian, this dish reminds me of Indonesia's beloved salad 'Gado Gado', albeit with a fancy twist.
|2 of 10: Foie Gras / BBQ Fig / Hoshiko|
If the sight of real foie gras turns you off, then this will definitely turn you on. I truly enjoyed this dollop of ultra creamy foie gras, with a scoop of sorbet, berry sauce and fig.
|3 of 10: Pork Belly / King Prawn / Quinoa|
I liked the crispy popped quinoa, but I personally found the prawn to be a little odorous to my liking and I believe that if the pork belly had been more tender, it would've be more enjoyable.
|Wine Pairing: Cloudy Bay Sauvignon Blanc 2013 Marlborough, New Zealand|
|4 of 10: Amberjack / Granny Smith / Wasabi (before the wasabi emulsion was poured)|
|It was my first time eating amberjack, and it was served raw nonetheless, so it would be immediately apparent if I'm going to like it for the rest of my life, or not. Amberjack's white meat has firm texture, with mild flavor, paired pleasantly with the apple slices and the mild wasabi emulsion|
|5 of 10: Tomato / Watermelon sorbet / Buratta CheeseWine Pairing: Cape Mentelle Sauvignon Semillon 2013 Margaret River, Australia|
Who would've thought to combine sorbet and burrata cheese? Turns out the combo was nothing short of brilliant
|6 of 10: Celeriac / Bergamot / Scallop|
|Upon serving, the chef added the celeriac pearls (frozen using liquid nitrogen, hence the dramatic mist around the dish)|
|Wine Pairing: Terrazas de los Andes Reserva Chardonnay 2009 Mendoza, Argentina|
|7 of 10: Canadian Lobster / Dashi Butter / Smoked Beetroot|
Never fail with the dramatic presentation!
|The lobster was delightfully juicy and sweet, but it was the dashi butter sauce that made the experience complete.|
|The next Wine Pairing: Lapostolle Cuvee Alexandre Merlot 2008 Valle de Colchagua, Chile|
|8 of 10: New Zealand Lamb / Polenta / Spinach|
The lamb initially came medium rare and I was only able to scrape the sides, which are cooked. Fortunately, Chef was kind enough to allow me have my lamb chop cooked over heat for a little longer. So, when it came back to me, now medium well and crispy and smelled heavenly (I suppose it was fried), I was finally able to enjoy the tender & juicy New Zealand lamb with the luscious polenta. I wonder what the metallic pearls adorning the salad was...but they were edible and addictively crunchy for sure!
|9 of 10: Valrhona Chocolate / Merlot Vinegar / Blueberry|
Another theatrical presentation, this dessert was served with liquid nitrogen frozen merlot pearls.
A cocktail of flavours and textures, but still harmonious. I was infatuated with the rich Valrhona mousse, with berry jam filling and practically everything else on the plate.
As a big time sweet tooth, this dessert was a perfect end to amazing courses we had earlier.
|Dessert Wine Pairing: Nicolas Feuillatte Brut Rose NV Champagne, France|
And then, came the finale of our luncheon, the 2nd dessert and also the last dish of the luncheon. It was a marriage of tropical Asian produce with sophisticated western technique, to result in this lovely & refreshing dessert.
|10 of 10: Coconut / Kemangi / Pineapple|
|Wine Pairing: Grand Marnier / Bali Brem / Lychee / Lime|
Cheers to good life!
The amazing luncheon was hosted at the CasCades Restaurant of Viceroy Bali, Ubud. The beautiful villas is nestled at a slope overlooking a lush green hill, what an ideal spot for a romantic and quiet honeymoon...
|Swimming pool area, Viceroy Bali, Ubud|
|Lush green slopes surrounding the villa|
Belgium is world famous for the fine chocolate, waffles, fries (what Americans call French fries, actually came from Belgium, fyi), beers and many other regional dishes. Situated between influential cultures, such as German, Dutch and French, Belgium has evolved its own eclectic culture, one that combines a little bit of each. But Nick Bril's Experience at Viceroy was not intended to be a display of traditional Belgian cuisine. Nick Bril's display of refreshing, exotic and accessible dishes was apparent in each and every elements, which were painstakingly crafted and plated into beautiful edible form of art. The experience was nothing short of a fascinating spectacle and sensation to the senses, to say the least. I may not get the chance to dine at an actual Michelin Star restaurant yet, but this luncheon, despite the minor issue with the 3rd dish, has certainly set a very high standard for my reference in the future.
Last but not least, I would like to express my heartfelt thank you to The Embassy of Belgium to Indonesia and the Flanders Investment and Trade office for allowing me to be a part of this once a lifetime experience. I certainly look forward to experience the actual Belgian culture in the near future.
|From Left to Right: HE Patrick Herman, Ambassador of Belgium to Indonesia / Mrs. Herman / Chef Nick Bril / Nathalie Surmont, Trade & Investment Commissioner / Rudy Kerremans, Representative for Vlamingen in de Wereld|
Embassy Of Belgium in Indonesia
Deutsche Bank Building 16th floor
Jl. Imam Bonjol No. 80
Central Jakarta - 10310
Ph: +6221 3162036
CasCades Restaurant at Viceroy Bali
Jl.. Lanyahan, Br Nagi
Ubud, Bali - 80571
Ph: +62 361972111
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