The Chef’s Table takes dining to a new level

Published 28 February 2017   

Written by: JOHN DOE

If you are looking for a new and exciting dining experience you shouldn’t pass the Chef’s Table at Alila Seminyak.

The Chef’s Table overlooking the kitchen.

The Chef’s Table concept is based in the main Alila Seminyak restaurant, which is downstairs overlooking the beach and Indian Ocean. High tables of four are set right in front of the open kitchen offering an excellent view over the culinary action where Chef de Cuisine Vivian Vitalis and his team prepare their four course set menu for your dining pleasure.

Not only do guests enjoy creative and mouthwatering, Western cuisine but they also have the chance to get up-close and chat with the master chef, Vivian, and the mixologist, responsible for the paired cocktails, Carlos Torrescano. They come around to the table to describe each dish and cocktail when served. The sweet, tangy, bitter and myriad other flavours of each cocktail combine deliciously with the dishes served. The flavours sometimes exploding in your mouth or subtly flirting on your tongue to make one of the most memorable and intimate fine dining experiences on the island. These two obviously spent some time developing the menu. “This is the best part of the job,” Carlos told FRV. “When you get to create something from the beginning and turn it into an experience for people to enjoy! Apart from all the drinking and eating while preparing the menu of course!”

Now how about the menu?
The menu starts with a Tuna Tartare with Yuzu, soy sauce ice cream and candied orange peel delicately laid out in a circular fashion on a large plate. This is paired with a Yellow Tail Martini; Belvedere vodka, Grand Marnier, mixed with pineapple, lemon, syrup and red chili that has a real punch and not just from the laced chili. This was one of my favorites and the combination of flavours was dynamic.

Crispy Pork Belly and Lemon Sorbet Martini.

Confied Barramundi comes served with a rice porridge, Kemangi, fried garlic and with a crispy skin. This fish dish arrived with a Bombay Delight cocktail made from Bombay Sapphire gin, lemon, lemongrass, lemon Basil leaves, cucumber and lemongrass syrup. As you can see the cocktail could almost be called a side and compliments the dish perfectly.

Crispy Pork Belly arrives to our table next with steamed banana and an orange curry reduction. The Lemon Sorbet Martini (Belvedere vodka, lemon sorbet, lime juice and ginger syrup) helps to cleanse the palate for the menu finale, the Glazed Beef Rib. This large chunk of tenderloin rib is served with black garlic, mashed potato, star anise, minced beef and caramelized onion. And accompanied by a Rye – Old Fashioned; Bulleit Rye Whiskey, white sugar cube, Angostura bitters, orange bitters and orange peel. Chef Vivian came to the table and told us, “The black garlic was cooked for 48 days, and the taste changes to prune without a garlicky taste. The Sous Vide ribs are cooked for 72 hours to get that succulent texture of the beef on this dish.” Meat and whiskey is a combination made in heaven and this one slows the conversation to a trickle. Vivian explains, “Combining the flavours of every element of this dish makes the whole experience of the Chef’s Table memorable. The paired Old Fashioned cocktail fits perfectly with this dish and it’s a beautiful closing to the savoury dishes.”

As I mentioned above, the tables and chairs are set higher than normal in order for guests to overlook the kitchen and there is a maximum of four tables each evening so guests are guaranteed plenty of space and plenty of attention. It’s best to book the day before. Both Chef Vivian and the mixologist come around to the table each course to describe what the course entails. The Chef’s Table is a dining experience, a time to learn about the joy of cuisine and gastronomy, so I wouldn’t recommend it for a romantic dining experience; sitting outside next to the beach with candle light would be more appropriate for that. But if you are interested in fine cuisine, The Chef’s Table experience is for you.

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