With the growth in tourism in Bali, one of the hot spots to visit is Ubud. Bali has also become a diversification of food, almost any cuisine can be tried and the food in restaurants is improving in quality and taste. One of the latest culinary destinations is the Four Seasons Resort Bali at Sayan where a French Bistro style concept was launched at the Riverside Cafe. The aim is to serve French Bistro style food mainly made up of local Balinese and Indonesian ingredients with an emphasis on a ‘farm-to-table’ approach. Lots of ingredients are sourced from the resort’s own vegetable and herb gardens, to ensure freshness of local produce. You can certainly taste the difference regarding the vegetables.
This new menu was specially created to offer something new for customers staying at night time. The Riverside Cafe was previously only open during the day time. Guests and visitors can now enjoy more choice at affordable prices. MenStyleFashion was keen to try out the menu and so we set off to the Four Seasons. At the entrance, we were picked up by an electric golf car and driven around the 17-acre resort to end up at the Riverside Cafe. I was surprised at the sheer size of the resort only to find out it had only 60 suites and villas. When visiting as an outside guest, please ask to be driven down to the riverside café, it’s amazing. The Riverside Cafe is set along the banks of the fast-flowing Ayang river in a lush tropical setting. The setting is unique and a must experience.
The welcoming staff organised for us to meet with the chef, so I could learn more about the food I was going to taste.
Chef Jocelyn Argaud uses traditional French techniques with cast-iron pots and wood-fire ovens to present his favourite dishes passed down by his mother, and by her mother before. He explained to me that it took nine months to carefully select the right reliable local food suppliers to create the new French Bistro style menu at the Riverside Cafe. Jocelyn believes in integrating as much as you can with local suppliers so they can be incorporated within the Four Seasons Menu. His experience and commitment to high standard food is why he has found the right balance of French cuisine meets Balinese and Indonesian ingredients. I and my partner were eager to try them.
The Food Experience
As a couple, we decided both on seafood for starters and as I am a lover for seafood I continued with this for my main course as well. My husband decided to go for red meat and he chose the oven-roasted lamb shank.
The Riverside Cafe has a decent list of wines to accompany the food that is on offer. I settled for the 2014 Matua Sauvignon Blanc from New Zealand to go with the starters. This wine was crisp and fruity, perfect for the seafood that was to come. To accompany the lamb later my partner chose an Australian Shiraz.
Starter 1 – Chilled River Prawn avocado cocktails
This starter consisted of 3 river prawns, tarragon aioli, French cocktails sauces and mango salsa. The prawns were huge and cooked to perfection, the taste was very fresh, succulent and sweet. What I liked was that the hard work was done, the prawns were peeled and put on a cocktail stick with the head attached back on to it. This meant not much mess to eat these prawns and you could really appreciate the taste.
Starter 2 – The Seafood Platter
This consisted of pacific oysters, slipper lobster, local clams and catch of the day tartare. It was truly fresh and tasty and the presentation was very exotic indeed. Don’t be intimidated if you’re not familiar in how to eat shellfish. It is cut in such a way all you have to do is gently pull it apart, it was not a messy experience at all. I have a fractured hand at the moment and it was easy to eat.
Main Course 1 – Oven Roasted Lamb Shank
The lamb shank came with zucchini tian with tomato concassee and natural jus. The lamb shank was cooked to perfection, it came off the bone without it being overcooked.
Main Course 2 – Woodfire River Prawn Casserole
Prawns accompanied with provencal ratatouille with cherry tomatoes, fennel and vegetable shaving. I had one of these prawns before in my seafood platter, this time the prawns were cut open on the side and grilled to perfection in a wood-fired oven. Very different taste indeed.
Coffee And Desserts
Desserts were the woodfire crispy pear frangipan tart with homemade vanilla ice cream. I had the Bali POD chocolate fondant with hazelnut and vanilla ice cream. When speaking to the chef, he explained that they work together with the local Bali POD chocolate factory to make this dessert. For chocolate addicts, you taste buds go into overdrive.
The food was excellent and the staff were friendly, relaxed and open to having a chat with you. The lovely setting overlooking the infinity pools next to the riverside with the ambience of running water made for a nice romantic meal. After finishing the meal I was amazed how the chef Jocelyn Argaud had pulled this all off with using 85 percent of the ingredients sourced locally. It shows how much respect he has for Indonesia.
If you stay in or near Ubud, I certainly would recommend eating at the Riverside Cafe.
- For booking and reservations please click on the link.
- Address: Jl. Raya Sayan, Ubud, Sayan, Gianyar, Kabupaten Gianyar, Bali 80571, Indonesia
- Phone: +62 361 977577