Kaum may not be the first Indonesian restaurant on the island, but this newly open addition to the PTT Family is more proof that the PTT Family team never stops making innovations through their delectable menus and comfortable spaces. Located on the second floor of the Potato Head Beach Club, Kaum takes guests on a culinary journey across the archipelago through their authentic and delicious Indonesian dishes.
Without a doubt, Kaum is an unpretentious and authentic Indonesian restaurant. Authentic is a big word, I must say, as many other restaurants claim to be authentically Indonesian but without using a large number of ingredients sourced within the archipelago. However, Kaum has been very brave. Their team has traveled across the nation to find the best ingredients for each of the dishes, and even more amazingly, they also try to engage with the people behind those ingredients.
“We spent months traveling the archipelago not only to find good quality ingredients but also to meet local indigenous tribes, ethnic groups and independent producers, and that’s how Kaum builds its strong character,” said Lisa Virgiano, the Brand Director of Kaum. Even before taking on this role she has been passionate about Indonesian culinary heritage and has initiated several projects that showcased the country’s culinary world, including the Indonesian Coffee Project. And for Kaum, she has traveled together with the restaurant’s team including Executive Chef Antoine Audran to find the key ingredients that make each dish so authentic and delightful. From their travels they are proud to put those quality ingredients in the restaurant’s outstanding menu.
Kaum offers selections of dishes from the western to the eastern parts of Indonesia that may not be available in other Indonesian restaurants in Bali such as Ikan Lele Sambal Tangkil, Lawar Klungah and Pia Waluh. And while enjoying these mouthwatering dishes, guests may be lucky to get the chance to chat about Indonesia’s culinary heritage with Lisa, Antoine, or even the kitchen staff, most of whom are Indonesians.
Sharing Is Caring
Kaum boasts a hip interior design with a warm vibe. The restaurant is filled with wooden furniture, hanging plants, and a long communal table, perfect for those who want to dine casually with family and friends. The interior will steal one’s attention easily, and the menu is just as interesting. The list is extensive but don’t feel overwhelmed, because the restaurant’s staff will be more than happy to help give you food recommendations.
Sitting at the communal table with some friends of mine, I was drooling already when the Batagor was served as our starter. Batagor is a fried prawn and fish dumpling smeared with a thick peanut sauce. This dish is actually an Indonesian street food that has always been on the top of my comfort food list, but it has been pretty hard for me to find a delicious one in Bali. However, that is no problem anymore because the Batagor at Kaum is special – it tastes just like at my favorite place at Bandung in West Java, and is served with sauce that is a mix of cashew nut and sweet soy.
It was a smooth start already, but the appetizers didn’t stop there. A plate of refreshing Gohu Ikan Tuna (a traditional dish from the Moluccas Islands that is similar to tuna tartar), Gado Gado (a mix of garden vegetables, a free-range egg, tofu and garlic crackers with peanut sauce) and a bowl of slow cooked Acehnese spicy curry prawn called Gulai Udang Aceh followed.
The appetizers had filled up our stomachs a bit, but the main course list still had us anxious for more. Our empty appetizer plates were soon replaced with scrumptious Indonesian signature dishes such as Sate Buntel, Pepes Ikan Pesisir and Mie Gomak. The Sate Buntel is a portion of grilled lamb skewers served on top of burning charcoal that made the meat really tender, while the Pepes Ikan Pesisir is a fish dish that is smeared with fresh and spicy turmeric paste and lemon basil leaves, then wrapped in banana leaves.
The aroma of the Pepes Ikan Pesisir was really inviting, and I didn’t waste another second to take a bite. This fish dish is really unique, as the blend of turmeric and lemon basil gives a sweet and soury punch. Of course, for an Indonesian like me, a dish like this will be much more flavorsome with some rice and sambal – and it’s not Kaum if they take these two side dishes lightly. The rice at Kaum has its own story as it is sourced straight from the rice fields in Jatiluwih, while the sambal offered in the Sambal Selection includes five different types; sambal matah, sambal mbe, sambal rica, sambal kluwak, and sambal ikan teri.
The Mie Gomak is also very special. This wok fried noodle is cooked together with shredded grilled chicken, andaliman spices, fresh curry leaves and coconut milk sauce. The ingredients blend beautifully together, resulting in a dish that is flavorsome in each bite. Seriously, I couldn’t stop slurping this noodle, as the spice and the curry left a unique aftertaste on my palate.
As I told myself that this has been the best Indonesian restaurant I have ever tried in my life, a plate of Kacang Mete Caramel was served on the table, making my opinion even more valid. Flores cashew nuts, coconut shortbread, Amed sea salt, caramel and Bedugul vanilla ice cream in one big plate? Let me know if you do not end up ordering one more portion of this dessert.
Potato Head Beach Club
Jalan Petitenget No. 51B, Seminyak