SOLEIL, THE MULIA, BALI
You don’t have to fly to Italy from Indonesia to sample Mediterranean cooking at its rustic best. Simply catch an ojek to Soleil, the rather handsome poolside restaurant housed within The Mulia in Nusa Dua, on the southern coast of Bali. The restaurant is like a temple to fine dining, with marble floors, plush seating, gilded patterns, flower-filled vases and the requisite tinkling jazz. The name Soleil also offers a clue as to the kind of location you can expect: the restaurant overlooks a sun-soaked pool near the Indian Ocean. Soleil feels more high-end Italian than Indonesian – especially when the first course of delicate cacciota-filled squash blossoms and decadent foie gras crème brulee arrives. The main plates are also stellar; agnolotti is not easy to get right but the fontina-cheese-filled ravioli and rich, meaty veal jus is received like a masterclass in Mediterranean flavours. The charcoal-grilled black Angus beef tenderloin was also rich and full of flavour with a zigzag of salsa verde and tweezered bits of zingy cress. The only complaint from our corner table was that it overlooked a section of sunloungers adorned with beautifully bronzed Europeans, which made it a challenge to enjoy a guilt-free dessert – slow-cooked vanilla cheesecake topped with tropical fruit cream. Note: Sunday brunch is hugely popular, so don’t forget to make a booking. If you do manage to nab a table, plug Soleil into the GPS, as it’s one of nine restaurants in the sprawling 30 ha resort.