Text & photos: Veronika K
Kilo Bali, the sister restaurant of its popular sibling in Singapore, came to the island three months ago and is already making waves on Bali’s ever-evolving food scene. It’s a laboratory of food innovation, so for those of you looking for a very different culinary experience, look no further than Kilo.
Tucked away on Jalan Drupadi in Seminyak, what you first notice is the distinctive exterior, for Kilo is a refreshingly modern structure for Bali. Its minimalist and raw concrete wall shield the restaurant from the bustling street and contrasts with the luscious, well-manicured, green lawn in the front.
The restaurant presents a see-through glass building and upon entering you will be welcomed by a no-less modern interior. It is evident the owners have paid attention to every little detail. The design of the L-shaped interior boasts glass tables and special wooden chairs from Hong Kong. Extravagant large-scale paintings decorate the walls and a huge family of cacti towers in the middle. It all provides a stage for the main attraction here – the food.
Kilo Singapore has already built quite a reputation and the options in Kilo Bali are identical. The tantalizing lunch and dinner menu readily spoils your tastes buds with unexpected combinations of flavours, fresh home ingredients and cocktails made from scratch.
Instead of fine dining, the aim here is fun dining. There is no room for stuffiness in Kilo. It’s all about the experience of wanting people to come here often, hang out and have fun with friends. The concept is refined comfort food with traditional preparation and an Asian twist. The owners themselves coined the phrase “fusion-confusion” to describe their cuisine and the menu reflects their humorous and playful creativity.
We could not miss their signature dish, the Tuna Wasabi Tartar, which is something the owners always recommend. A staple on the menu for the past four years in Singapore, it represents the essence of Kilo: and rightfully so. It’s a harmonious taste of perfect tender tuna and sesame mixed with avocado, shallots and chives, styled into a neat offering.
The presentation is another thing that makes Kilo stand out; simple yet unassuming, making the food really shine. I could definitely have ordered more, though that is a reflection of how divine it tastes, not at all the portion sizes. Tuna lands on your plate fresh every day right from the ocean. The secret behind the meals tasting so special is that they don’t freeze anything here.
Further working our way through the dinner menu, we tried Black & White Prawn Ravioli with sake butter cream, arugula and parmesan. Filled with prawn mixture, it’s a meal with a lot of Asian flair. Then the champion Squid Ink Ric landed on our table, featuring crispy baby squid with garlic aioli on a pile of blackened fried rice, topped with salmon roe and sesame. This creative explosion in the bowl is to be enjoyed mixed. Again, a very dramatic, unusual mix of tastes.
The royal portion of Kilo’s pork ribs sets a new standard for the meat lover. Slow-cooked, barbecued pork meat served on a wooden board with a side of roasted peppers marinated in rosemary, falls off the bone upon the fork’s gentle poke. Stewed for a very long time, it’s not at all chewy and you don’t so much bite it off the bone as it literally breaks off and melts in your mouth.
Kilo offers us some creative leeway in their lunch menu. Comprising bowls of food, you can play a bit with what you want to have served in yours. By combining different meats with different sides, you can either go completely decadent – pork belly with sushi rice, medium healthy – combining beef short ribs with quinoa or healthy, ordering salmon with red rice. There is also a super-healthy option for vegetarians – roasted veggies with your choice of sushi rice, organic brown rice or quinoa. Another choice is to go with intriguing Vietnamese sandwiches Bahn Mi. Thai curry spiced blackened mahi mahi sandwich comes with scallions, cucumber, watercress, carrots and fresh coriander, with a side of a plantain chips.
Further setting themselves apart, Kilo crafts their own alcohol and mixers. Vanilla vodka, jalapeno tequila, orange-infused rum and rosemary-infused gin. All ten cocktails are the Kilo’s team very own creations: original alcohol and ingredients give the exquisite cocktails very noticeable and pronounceable flavour.
Be sure not to miss the superstar signature drink Orale Huea, which means ‘what’s up’ in Mexican Spanish. What’s up is that this drink is a killer – spicy and bright orange coloured with an interesting slightly bitter aftertaste. It is made out of fresh blood oranges, tequila, agave nectar and tamarind. For a little lighter taste try the Sure Thing cocktail, a refreshing cucumber tasting drink with homemade vanilla infused vodka, lime juice and simple vanilla syrup. Sure thing this one is a crowd pleaser.
With their eyes set beyond food, Kilo’s innovative vision is to create lifestyle institutions. Pairing the dining experience with equally distinctive entertainment. Organizing concerts, events, speakers, and talks akin to TED, the end product is always quality. The mission of Kilo is fresh produce, value, and making people feel like they are at home – all communicated through food.
Kilo has a new executive chef on board, the king of untraditional tapas from Singapore Manuel Elbero to bring a new creativity to the table and further help Kilo to elevate the food.
Kilo exemplifies a ubiquitous Bali motif. Nothing is ever what it seems. You see cold beautiful architecture, trendy, hip interior design and an innovative menu – everything screams fine dining. Instead, you find a laid-back atmosphere, scrumptious, redefined comfort food and fun dining. You are even encouraged to kick back on the grass and simply have a drink or two.
Jl. Drupadi No. 20X, Seminyak,