In Bali two weeks ago, I was invited to attend the 2nd anniversary party of W Retreat & Spa Bali in Seminyak and had a great time there. I’ve been to many of such events in Kuala Lumpur, but the ambiance in Bali seemed different. More upbeat, I would say.
After the party, we headed to FIRE for dinner. Even at 9.30pm, the restaurant was packed so do call ahead to make a reservation if you’re planning to dine here. FIRE features the finest selections of prime meats and seafood, in a setting of dramatic chandelier, marbles inspired by local black and white poleng cloths and pendant lamps, invoking the spirit of the fire-themed kecak dance.
I ordered the duck foie gras 3 way (IDR 185,000) for my starter. This dish was a pretty composition of terrine W sauterne jelly, foie gras foam with sourdough crostini and mini brioche with cranberry compote.
The terrine was creamy with a gamey tinge, while the light foie gras foam was a lovely pair with the crostini. Also delicious was the toasted brioche with buttery foie gras and tangy-sweet cranberry compote. A trio of excellence, I would call it.
My other dining companion had the iced lombok prawn ceviche (IDR 155,000) while his other half ordered the mango wood cold smoked Alaskan scallops (IDR 145,000).
rif had the classic rich onion and lemon thyme soup (IDR 115,000) and it was good. The broth was sweet from the caramelized onions, and the thyme gave it a good aroma. Delicious, with the crouton and gruyere cheese!
The spiced curry leaf mustard mahi-mahi (IDR 190,000) was tasty enough to make me a convert. That’s a big statement, coming from a meat eater. The mahi-mahi was grilled to perfection and placed on a bed of quinoa. I liked how the spices used balanced well with the fish and gave it a lovely aroma.
I ordered the forty eight hour oyster blade steak MB 3+ (IDR 220,000) for my main course, but I didn’t enjoy it as much as rif’s mahi-mahi. The steak was slightly overdone, so it wasn’t as tender as I expected it to be. This dish was given an Asian touch with the baby choko and wild greens.
Dessert was a creative play of sweet and spicy – the chilli chocolate mousse, made using POD extra dark chocolate. Rich and smooth with a mild, spicy aftertaste.
Director of Cuisine, Richard Millar is pretty big on organic food. Richard’s menus are driven by his passion for food and his dishes are often referred to as eclectic. He also has a lovely garden patch at the hotel, growing herbs, chillies, tomatoes and spices.
During our dinner session, he extended an invitation to tour at his garden, followed by a lovely lunch the following Monday. At the garden, Richard talked about the different types of herbs and vegetables he planted, and how they were used in Fire. I appreciated how he uses local produce in his kitchen and makes them work in the dishes.
The steamed foie gras chawanmushi (IDR 145,000) is to die for. Sublimely creamy but also complex from the pureed foie gras, it was absolutely delicious! The egg custard was flavoured with dashi, with chicken, crab, shimeji and edamame added inside for substance.
I also tried the compressed watermelon, rosewater and pink sea salt (IDR 125,000), a creative play of colours, textures and flavours. The pairing of blue cheese and watermelon worked well, as the former gave the rose scented fruit a bit of accent. Very Mediterranean, in a good way.
Chef Richard also served me the W style paella of pearl cous cous (IDR 165,000) with sous vide baby lobster, chorizo, sunset clams, garlic and peas. The lobster was succulent throughout, and the clams from Lombong were meaty and flavourful.
Like its name, the pearl cous cous is shaped like one and has more bite compared to a regular cous cous. This dish had a lot of natural flavour from the lobster and clams, and I liked how Chef Richard went easy on the seasoning and allowed the natural flavours of the ingredients to stand out.
Over lunch, the subject of oysters came up and I asked if he could show me a few types of oysters he used. Among them were the Sumbawa, Baron Point, Calm Cove, Skookum Inlet and Fine de Claire. Here’s a video of the five oysters he showed us.
We capped off our lunch lightly — with a refreshing fruit platter, prettily presented on a bamboo base. On a whole, I enjoyed both my lunch and dinner experience at Fire. I prefer the seafood selection in this restaurant, and really, the chawanmushi is to-die-for!
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Verdict: Great attention to detail and modern creations that tease the senses.