Sunday Mail - Travel/Escape - - HOLIDAYS OF AUSTRALIA -

bring out some meat or seafood,” he says. “But we’re not in Mel­bourne, we’re in Bali – dif­fer­ent place, dif­fer­ent cul­ture – and our menu is a bit of a bi­ble. But when­ever Aus­tralians who know me come in, they ask for me to come to their ta­ble and tell them what’s cook­ing in the kitchen. Peo­ple love word-of­mouth rec­om­men­da­tions.”


Slip­pery Stone, fried fetta saganaki $10, lamb chops $23, 9 Jalan Batu Be­lig, Seminyak, Bali. slip­pery­s­


Ev­ery Sun­day, more than 200 peo­ple swarm into the W Re­treat & Spa for the leg­endary Sun­day Brunch – a pan-Asian smor­gas­bord of titanic pro­por­tions set in al fresco-style Starfish Bloo res­tau­rant. Add 150 guests for break­fast and another 100 for din­ner, and a pic­ture emerges of a gas­tro­nomic star­ship that wel­comes nearly 500 peo­ple a day. And who bet­ter to man­age it than Matthew McCool, a chef from the Cen­tral Coast of NSW whose re­sume in­cludes stints at Gor­don Ram­sey’s Maze in Lon­don, Quay Res­tau­rant, Wild­fire and GPO in Syd­ney as well as Shangri-La Bei­jing’s China World Ho­tel. “The cul­tures of Bali and Aus­tralia are re­ally quite sim­i­lar,” McCool says. “The Ba­li­nese love surf­ing, football and bar­be­cues and so do we, so it was quite easy for me to adapt. But I had to spend many weeks try­ing to un­der­stand the roots of recipes like cur­ries and sa­tays to mod­ernise them to ap­peal to a young crowd in the ‘W’ way. Kim chi was a re­ally tough one. We have to make it the cor­rect way for the Kore­ans, or they’ll kill us!”


Starfish Bloo, crab tacos $18, jumbo king prawns laksa curry $19, Jalan Petitenget, Ker­obokan, Bali. wre­treat­


Six years have passed since Ni­co­las Laz­za­roni was poached from a res­tau­rant in Broome to run the kitchen at Bridges, a fine­din­ing es­tab­lish­ment in a jun­gle­clad gorge in the vil­lage of Ubud. “While a lot of Aus­tralian chefs in Bali im­port skills they learnt back home, my pro­fes­sional ca­reer de­vel­oped on the is­land,” says Laz­za­roni. “So I have a bet­ter un­der­stand­ing of the cul­ture than most, which makes it eas­ier for me to man­age staff and ex­pec­ta­tions.” Laz­za­roni is now ex­ec­u­tive chef at The La­yar De­signer Vil­las, a col­lec­tion of 23 cut­ting-edge pool vil­las in Seminyak that of­fers in-villa din­ing in the form of Asian, Mediter­ranean and Brazilianthemed bar­be­cue ban­quets, an a la carte menu and pretty much any­thing a guest de­sires. “If our guests want a din­ing ex­pe­ri­ence they have thou­sands of restau­rants to choose from in Bali,” he says. “So my job is to give them what­ever they want – com­fort food. As a chef that means I have to be quite hum­ble.”


The La­yar De­signer Vil­las, margherita pizza $13, Brazil­ian chur­rasco bar­be­cue $85 a per­son, 10 Jalan Pangkung Sari, Seminyak, Bali. the­la­

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