(Bahasa Indonesia) One evening we received an invitation from Cuca Flavor, a new restaurant located right in front of Kayumanis Jimbaran. The restaurant featured a minimalistic design with Japanese inspirations. It comprised three main areas; a unique and casual area that offers diners a bit of privacy while they can still enjoy views of the surrounding gardens, and able to close the curtains that hang around our table (which for us was quite a quirky feature), and then we were shown to the restaurant’s outer section where several synthetic rattan tables and chairs are placed around a garden, where guests can enjoy an alfresco scene under the trees while sipping away on drinks. The garden also features a bar area, which serves its signature ‘Sun-gria’, a sangria with a twist that is served with ice cubes made from fruit juice instead of fruit slices. Last but not least, the area that we found to be very attractive was the Food Bar, with a long table and several chairs facing an open kitchen where diners can interact with the chef – the table was positioned higher than the kitchen, enabling us to observe the excitement of our meals being prepared, which is really fun. We chose to sit at the Food Bar accordingly. Soon after, Chef Kevin greeted us warmly and explained parts of the menu. You won’t get lost amidst the name of the items as all are listed according to their main and accompanying ingredients, which is simply straightforward. Depends on what you feel like trying for the day. You can check out the Cuca Menu here. As the offerings comprise Tapas, the portions aren’t very big which enabled us to try out many different bites.
Before enjoying our meals we were served complimentary Cotton Betutu, a cotton candy-like treat covered in ayam betutu spices, which was a mix of spicy, sour, and savoury that really roused up our senses. Ready for our meals, our first three orders included Smoked Sablefish (60K), served with beetroot yoghurt, avocado, bread crackers and wild herbs. The smoky taste of the tender fish and the sourness of the yoghurt together with the spicy ingredients were a right and delectable combination. The next menu was a BBQ Octopus (95K) with slightly hot Asian gazpacho with aromatic coriander leaves, fresh apple, caramelized cauliflower, coriander, and soft slices of octopus. Next we tried the Marinated Pulled Pork (65K), with soft boiled egg, cinnamon raisin jam and charred spring onions. Usually we’d expect pork to taste sweet, but this was slightly salty and the sweetness came from the unique cinnamon and raisin jam, and the savoury flavours came from the egg yolks. Our taste buds were tantalised with the blend of various tastes.
Then came the second round. We chose the Golden Snapper (80K) with grape ice, blended avocado and tarragon. The menu item resembled a bit like Japanese, the fish was served raw (like sashimi), with a bit of spiciness, and the grapes provided the fresh combination of sweet and sour, and the aroma of spices lingered around in our mouths. Our next menu was the Farm Chicken Chicha (60K) with purple grape, wing bean, red onion and lemon basil. Rather simple in its presentation, it offers a spectrum of flavours through its grilled chopped chicken. The last before dessert was Mushroom Puddles (50K) comprising red rice with hazelnut, pumpkin and sage, resembling a dish of risotto, with its rice served with gravy. The dominant aroma and flavours of mushroom matched the savoury gravy.
Then it was desserts at last. Several other patrons hinted to us we had to try it out, and our curiosity was finally to be answered. Our choice fell for the Cocoa 8 (80K) which was a warm dark chocolate mousse with homemade mint ice cream and cocoa crouton. When our dessert was served, the sous chef told us that this was inspired by the After Eight chocolate bar. Its homemade mint ice cream with a mild mint flavour provided just the right amount, and the soft dark chocolate mousse with cocoa croutons was simply a heavenly dessert for us. Overall the dinner experience here with all the clash of flavours summed up into one word: DELICIOUS! Cuca Restaurant uses all locally sourced ingredients, and the flavours suit Indonesian tastes. Two thumbs up for the chef and his team.Cuca Kompleks Villa Kayu Manis Jimbaran telp: 361 708066 http://www.cucaflavor.com/