Bold ocean flavours
“At Cuca, we only use what is Indonesian.
There is not a single ingredient used that does not grow, swim or walk in Indonesia. This is the base for everything that we do,” says chef Kevin Cherkas. As the cofounder of Cuca, Cherkas defines Cuca’s offering as inventive comfort food. Freshness and flavour take centre stage at this Jimbaran restaurant.
Having worked at El Bulli and Arzak in Spain, Cherkas is an ingredient-driven chef. “Before we develop our seafood dishes, we begin by talking directly to local fishermen, sustainable fisheries, and NGOS to learn which products are abundant and good for the sustainability of marine life in Indonesia,” explains Cherkas. Working directly with these stakeholders and knowing for a fact that their purchase benefits the smallscale fishing communities is something that Cuca has been especially proud of since its opening in 2012.
This philosophy can be found in one of Cuca’s signature tapas, Black Squid “Risotto”. Inspired by the classic Spanish dish Chipirones en su Tinta, Cherkas wants to recreate this bold flavour by using local squid. He minces the squid to the size of small rice grains and slowly braises them in a sauce of white wine and tomato, adding vegetable stew and garlic cream, and lastly, garnishing it with popped rice. Cuca’s approach proves that big flavour and commitment to sustainable seafood goes well together. After all, when it comes to seafood, the ocean is the limit.