Sunset, Sushi & Style
Hailing from Dubai and London, Sake no Hana is now open in Bali, presenting Japanese cuisine with local and modern twists amidst a lavish ambiance on the edge of a cliff...
Situated on a cliff-top right next to Alila Villas Uluwatu, Sake no Hana and OMNIA Bali are the latest establishments to become one of the best spots to see and be seen on the island. Located adjacent to each other, Sake no Hana and OMNIA Bali boast a magnificent view of the Indian Ocean, each serves as a Japanese restaurant and a day club respectively.
It was 5 p.m. when I arrived at the restaurant with a friend of mine. We actually wanted to have a dining experience at Sake no Hana, but the vibrant vibe of OMNIA Bali was so inviting that we decided to have a sunset session at the cliff edge club first. Designed with sleek and edgy style, OMNIA Bali has infinity pools, sunbeds and lounger that make a perfect spot to unwind in the afternoon accompanied by delicious drinks and an unobstructed view of the ocean.
We immediately made our way to the bar that is located between the two pools. Sunset was about to come, so it was only right to have some drinks in our hands – we opted for the Rock Pearl (a concoction of vodka, raspberry, lemon and more) and Floral Tang, a mocktail drink (consisting of pomelo, lavender, lychee and soda). The refreshing drinks tasted even more delicious as we enjoyed the ocean view and the breeze by the glassed-in edge – afternoon drinks couldn’t be better than this!
At 7 p.m., we went upstairs to dine at Sake no Hana Bali, the first of its brand in Indonesia, following its success in Dubai and London. We were pretty lucky because during our visit, Japanese London-based Head Chef Hideki Hiwatashi – the brain behind all the food at Sake no Hana – was on duty in Bali and spent some time talking with us. “Our concept is Japanese modern,” he stated as he sat at our table. Having worked in the food industry for over 20 years, Chef Hideki holds on to his philosophy in presenting food. “One of my keys to making dishes is using local and seasonal ingredients. Here in Bali, we source vegetables from Bedugul and fresh fish from fish mongers in Jimbaran.”
Chef Hideki also trains the kitchen talents in the best techniques to produce fresh dishes. “For instance, to present flavorful sushi, we use a special knife for sashimi that is long and sharp. The kitchen team needs to understand why and how to use this knife,” he explained. “With the right technique, this knife produces a very fine cut that influences the texture and taste.” Of course, the surprise doesn’t stop there. Not long after, a number of dishes were served on our table, each one proved just how outstanding Chef Hideki and his team are in combining local produce and modern touches to create authentic Japanese flavors.
Our culinary journey began with several excellent appetizers, starting with the Lobster Wa Salad. It consists of blue lobster sourced from Jimbaran, this dish has a perfect balance of freshness with green salad and yuzu sauce, and a crunchy texture from the crispy cassava on top. The Australian Wagyu Tataki marble 5 also makes a splendid starter. Topped with ginger and sesame, the beef tataki is deliciously delicate, and is matched perfectly with egg yolk mustard.
Another option for the appetizer is the grilled prawn. It comes with crispy asparagus, the juicy prawn is already flavorful on its own, yet it is more elevated when dipped in the wasabi mayonnaise. Of all the starters menu, the Hamachi Namawasabi is the winner. This signature dish presents thinly-sliced king fish from Japan that is tender, and tastes amazing with delicious black truffle sauce. The fish is also topped with homemade wasabi – to be honest, I was skeptical about wasabi as it usually burns my nose. But Sake no Hana makes their own wasabi with Chef Hideki’s recipe. The result? Their wasabi gives a refreshing sensation to the dish, almost similar to that of peppermint.
For the main course, we opted for the Chilean Sea Bass Champagne Yuzu Miso, also one of Chef Hideki’s signature dishes. The moment I took my fi rst bite, the flavor took me back to my holiday in Japan that I had last year. The fish was tender and smoky, while the yuzu sauce added an authentic Japanese flavor. “The sea bass is marinated in a special miso from Kyoto for three days,” Chef Hideki explained my curiosity about this dish. “It is then chargrilled and mixed with champagne to make it crispy.”
The Australian Wagyu Sumiyaki Beef is another star main course. Perfectly grilled, this dish has juicy, tender meat, paired with ponzu that elevates the flavor and some grilled asparagus on the side. By this time, we were already full, but we couldn’t resist the sushi. So, we opted to have some Nigiri that consists of squid, cuttlefish, salmon, yellow tail and tuna sushi. When the sushi platter was put on our table, I could see what Chef Hideki meant with the sushi technique earlier. The fish was finely cut, creating a taste that is really fresh, unlike any other sushi restaurant in Bali. The squid sushi is also interesting as the squid is torched to make it soft. Sake no Hana only uses fresh fish, so the selection of Nigiri depends on the kind of fish that is available that day.
A Sweet Touch
Just when we thought our culinary experience came to an end, Sake no Hana Bali surprised us once again with their dessert selections. The Toro Matcha is the best choice for every green tea lover. It is comprised of matcha parfait topped with rose flavored Chantilly, cherry compote and matcha foam, this dish has layers of goodness, wrapped in matcha tuille. A little tip; spoon the whole layer as well as the matcha crumbles to enjoy all the taste and texture. Then, take one of the “cherries” that comes with the dish – each of these “cherries” is filled with sorbet that will pop in the mouth and serve as a cleanser palate.
Our second dessert was also amazing. Celebrating bamboo as a tradition in Japan, Sake no Hana presents “Bamboo” dessert in a form of bamboo with white sesame, mandarin gel and chocolate mousse filling, surrounded by “soil” made of black sesame and a few drops of mandarin gel. How to enjoy this dish? Simply crack the bamboo with the back of the spoon, and get every element in one bite – the flavor easily took me to the moon and back. Don’t forget to pair the dessert with one of their cocktails, like the Pandan Martini, for a perfect closure.
Sake no Hana Bali
Jalan Belimbing Sari, Uluwatu
By Risty Nurraisa
Magazine issue > Dine&Delights