Text: David Trauts
Photography: Sulthon & Mejekawi
The chefs at KU DE TA restaurant were instrumental in the development of the new Mejekawi restaurant that recently opened upstairs at the famous genre-defining Seminyak restaurant. Phil Davenport, Ben Cross, Will Goldfarb and in-house mixologist Bruce Bartholomew were all involved in the development of Mejekawi. FRV Travel took a moment of, soon to be departing, Executive Chef Davenport’s time to ask a few questions about the new restaurant. The whole concept is something new for Bali and the rest of Indonesia, and provides diners with a new and enticing food experience with a selection of two degustation courses inspired by Indonesian spices and flavours which also come with wine pairing options which are carefully curated by Juri Menicucci, KU DE TA’s restaurant manager who was responsible for the wine list that won the restaurant an Award of Excellence from Wine Spectator. The ambience is also very slick, modern and once again, defining.
How did it all begin, Phil? What’s the story behind the making of Mejekawi?
We always wanted to do either a private dining or stand-alone restaurant to complement what we do downstairs at KU DE TA. It all came to a final decision to move forward on this idea when we came into partnership with Sub Zero and Wolf. So we decided to create a wonderful tasting kitchen experience on the top story of KU DE TA.
What was Sub Zero and Wolf’s involvement in the making of Mejekawi?
We teamed up with Sub Zero and Wolf as our partner in the Mejekawi venture. They kindly gave us their best products to showcase and use in our kitchen, lab and bar areas.
What was the inspiration for the new look and new concept restaurant?
We were inspired by all the tasting kitchens around the world, big or small, and chefs very rarely get the opportunity to build another fine dining experience within an already established restaurant. So we thought we would do the Bali style villa concept that has a homely feel inside with a very interactive dining experience.
Was there any particular reason you chose to have the seven and 11 course menus?
We offer so much downstairs, we wanted to do a degustation menu only and to have the option of 7 or 11 courses.
Why are they Balinese or Indonesian based menus?
We are not trying to reinvent Indonesian cuisine; Mejekawi is a fine dining experience with Indonesian inspired flavours.
What kind of new techniques are used to make the dishes on those menus?
We are using all sorts of fancy equipment and we try to always be up to date with new cooking techniques and can push the boundaries with our new high-tech machines.
We are not trying to reinvent Indonesian cuisine; Mejekawi is a fine-dining experience with Indonesian inspired flavours.
How about the design of Mejekawi, it appears to be like some kind of luxury bachelor pad. Was it based on functionality or some feng shui type principle?
Call it what you will, it’s decadent and fun, if it was a bachelor pad it would be the ultimate villa in Bali.
The back part is a laboratory of sorts. What concoctions are being cooked up in there?
We are fermenting fruit and vegetables for flavours and essences. We are dehydrating, and we are separating different alcohols for their base flavours and their alcohol reductions. We are also infusing flavours via sound waves.
What is the best part of Mejekawi for you?
The kitchen, just so nice to be in there cooking refined food and it’s a view to die for.
How many does it sit? There’s an outside area too isn’t there? What’s all that about?
It sits 30 inside, and there is an option to have wonderful cocktails on the decking outside. Just another experience at KU DE TA.
How will Mejekawi be used during the summer parties this year? Will it be open?
Yet to be decided, but maybe a few private dinners before the fun begins.
Upstairs at KU DE TA
Jalan Kayu Aya No. 9 Seminyak
Bali – Indonesia
Bookings essential at email@example.com or +62 361 736969