Indonesian chef Ray Adriansyah recreates the exotic menu at his flagship Bali restaurant in Alta V

Everyone knows ‘nasi goreng’, but Indonesian cuisine goes beyond that,” says Ray Adriansyah, one of the top chefs in Indonesia’s modern dining scene, who currently heads the kitchen at Alta Vida, the restaurant in Ritz Carlton-Pune.

The Southeast Asian country is the fourth most populous country in the world, but unlike China and India, “its cuisine has hardly made its mark on the world stage”, says the chef, under the eyes whose open-air grill and bar kitchen comes to life with meats prepared to be grilled and sweet corn and shallots – carefully wrapped in banana leaves – ready to be smoked.

At the newly opened Alta Vida, where the menu is a blank canvas for a line of rotating chefs whose first season ends in March 2023, Adriansyah represents Nusantara by Locavore, his signature restaurant in Ubud, Bali. Keeping Nusantara’s beverage program in mind, each of the eight fruity cocktails on the menu pays homage to different islands of Indonesia and showcases native ingredients such as grapefruit, rice, chili peppers, pandan, coconut and lemongrass.

This is also evident in Rujak Denpasa, which is inspired by Rujak, a Balinese favorite snack. The drink is infused with vodka, tamarind syrup, chilli, cucumber, pineapple and lemongrass. Another tropical drink, Java, is based on the eponymous Indonesian miracle fruit. “The menu is based on our current and previous menus at Nusantara.

We’ve selected dishes that we believe would best introduce foodies to the ancient grilling techniques used in Indonesia and attempt to revive forgotten culinary traditions,” says Adriansyah, whose Locavore is a regular on Indonesia’s 50 Best Restaurants list. ‘Asia. Illustrating the wood-fire cooking method, where marinated meat is first wrapped in palm husk, he says: “Bebek Betutu is my favorite dish, where we cook a whole duck that has been smothered in Balinese spice paste, wrapped in palm husk and simmered for hours over a wood fire. The result is soft, succulent meat, which has a rich flavor of spices and smoke.

Other techniques Adriansyah uses in his open kitchen are cooking inside young coconuts or bamboo such as jukut kelor mesanten, where moringa leaves, base genep and torch ginger are cooked on an open fire. Known for being a crusader for sustainability and farm-to-table – his restaurant won the Sustainable Restaurant Award in 2019 – the chef has partnered with a local farm in Pune to grow some of his favorite ingredients like chayote , Japanese cucumber and moringa leaves.

From hearty coconut milk-based soups to sambal soup curry accompanied by burnt garlic rice, the food is a celebration of the tropical provinces. For dessert, the Bika Gula Merah, a tapioca cake cooked with brown sugar and fresh coconut milk, goes perfectly with Es Legenda, chopped fruit served on
top of frozen coconut milk infused with pandan leaves, cane syrup, avocado and white bread. The Balinese experience, with tropical cocktails and local dishes cooked with local ingredients, is a feast for the senses.

Start with the Minuman Rasa Kelapa cocktail, then move on to the Balinese plate and grilled marinated tuna on bamboo skewers or rice curry and sambal. Finish with bika gula merah and end the night by saying selamat tidur (Balinese for good night) with coconut water.

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