Aperitif Restaurant & Bar | Ubud
Ubud is well-known for being the artistic hub of Bali so it’s no surprise that it has become the destination for epicurean. After all, chefs are artists, isn’t it? Many restaurants up there reach the fine dining division, a pure delight for foodies playing in the neighbourhood. Apéritif Restaurant & Bar at the Viceroy is definitely playing in that category. Offering an upscale contemporary global cuisine, the menu crafted by Belgian Chef Nic Vanderbeeken will delight any gourmet. The décor, set in a 1920’s scenery, might be retro but the cuisine, is a modern Indo-European fusion.
Signature Black Puff
Upon being seated in the immaculate and high-ceilinged room, diners are presented with a 6 or 8-course menu. Be ready for a culinary journey inclusive of a cocktail & canapés as apéritif, of course! The glamourous cocktail list blends local flavours with artisanal spirits and in-house infusions. As the concoctions arrived, the canapés are served one by one. Ponzu marinated Fish Tartare on Betel leaf tempura; Foie Gras Mousse in its crispy pillow; and the signature Black Puff, a one-bite mackerel smoked sphere blasting all it essences as you crush it between tongue and palate. If you have a hard time choosing from the expansive and outstanding wine list, we recommend splurging on the sommelier carefully selected wine pairing.
Martino - Beef Tartare
For every course, a choice of two to three dishes is listed. Vegetarian option also available. We started with the Pearl Oyster with spirulina herbal scent and delicate acidity in the emulsion. A great mise-en-bouche. The Martino, a beef tartare made of hand-cut Wagyu beef mixed with dashi, sprinkled with cured egg yolk, is probably one of the most interesting tartare I ever had. Unctuous & melting texture, aromatized seasoning, make the combination first-class. Pickled then steamed the Cauliflower couscous is surprisingly grain-like. Topped with peanut & soil vegetables crumble, the subtle taste of Tamarind from the Karedok extract brings a delectable zest of bitterness to the dish.
The next course was, to me, the highlight of this pleasing evening. A lightly poached, white as milk and glossy, Opu Fish with a mind-blowing Yuzu beurre blanc, enriched with caviar, avocado pearls, fennel & dill. Still, all of these accompaniments let the fish remain the star. Oh my, oh my! The piece de resistance of the meal, the Venison Wellington, with a soupçon of foie gras in it, moistened with Rendang jus is displaying Chef Nic shift to creative simplicity. With a robust gamey flavour, the venison loin, a perfect alternative to classic Auguste Escoffier recipe using beef, stands up well with the local aromatic jus, the rich oyster mushroom and the buttery puff pastry. The silky-smooth mashed potato served with it will have Chef Robuchon jealous!
Opu Fish Yuzu Beurre Blanc
A palate cleanser is served before the dessert, an elegant sweet & sour jumble. Then came the Lemon Tart. All but traditional! The lemon-shaped lemon curd on its pâte sablée crowned with meringue is a perfect dessert for all who love a good citrus sweet treat! Not overly sweet, rich, satisfying and with lovely lemon aroma. Just when you think the culinary journey is ending, you are invited to move to the bar to finish your dessert cocktails, or order another one, with a Selection of Petit Fours and, if you are lucky enough, the sumptuous Chocolate Cigar. Scrumptious!
At Apéritif, each course is studied in colour, texture and design, all delicately arranged and masterfully plated. Congrats too to restaurant manager & sommelier, I Made Yudiana for his brilliant wine pairings, on point with each and every course. The menu might change but will always take you on a delectable journey through Chef Vanderbeeken’s wheelhouse of searing, baking, poaching or just letting ingredients go au naturel. Also to be noticed, the service. They are all consistently put forth the best effort, positively and quickly reacting to anything you might need. Flawless!
Don't hesitate a minute, give yourself a chance for an upscale culinary experience far beyond what you are used to even if you are an experienced diner. Even during the pandemic time. The restaurant and bar put in place an amazing protocol for us not to feel the situation. Well done!