Operated by a family-owned team, Viceroy collaborated closely with Chef Nic to create a splendid restaurant. For a chef, having the opportunity to design your own kitchen with substantial resources at your disposal must be a dream come true. This kitchen boasts separate pastry and savory sections, a central pass, induction cooktops, and dedicated air conditioning over each workstation. It’s undoubtedly a space where many aspiring and seasoned chefs would be eager to work. When you combine that with an executive chef renowned for his meticulous attention to detail and discerning palate, along with a superb team of local talent, including pastry chef Dayu Chintya, kitchen staff, servers, and an outstanding bar team, you have a recipe for success.
The Art of Apéritif
The ideal way to begin your culinary journey at Apéritif Restaurant is with an aperitif—a tradition embraced across Europe. This pre-dinner ritual is as much a social event as it is an appetite stimulant. Head mixologist Panji Wisrawan, known as “the man behind the bar” or “on the trolley,” is passionate about sharing this tradition with guests. He personally visits the tables with his drinks cart, offering a menu of three cocktails and two mocktails.
Panji adds his twist to my favorite cocktail, the Nightshade Negroni. This classic pre-dinner drink delivers a unique aroma and tantalizes the palate. Panji’s version uses local East Indies Gin, replaces vermouth with Cocchi Rosa Aperitivo, and retains the original Campari. To give depth and a personal touch to the cocktail, they introduce Espolon Reposado Tequila and Nusantara Cold Brew, a local coffee liqueur. The drink is infused with tamarillo, which actually lends its name to the beverage, as tamarillo is part of the nightshade family. The leftover tamarillo is transformed into pâte de fruit, aligning with Apéritif’s sustainability philosophy and serving as an edible garnish. While it may sound complex, all the flavors harmonize wonderfully. This aperitif pairs wonderfully with a collection of exquisite canapés.
Intan then takes over, delivering a delectable selection of canapés and explaining each one in detail, including a coconut charcoal puff with smoked mackerel cream, Martino (a Belgian beef filling encased in filo pastry), a charcoal pastry tartlet with squid salad and yogurt, and a fish tartare with yuzu kosho between potato waffle in the shape of a maple leaf.
Degustation Menus Apéritif Restaurant
Apéritif’s degustation menus range from five to seven courses, with vegan and vegetarian options available. You can further elevate your dining experience by adding extras such as lobster, caviar, wagyu, or a cheese plate. The five-course (but closer to nine courses with snacks, cheese, petit fours, and more) lunch degustation starts at IDR 1,050,000++. Prices increase from there. I had the pleasure of trying several dishes, including both signature dishes and new creations. I’ve provided a few examples below, but you can explore their complete offerings on their website, with menus subject to ingredient availability. A visit to Apéritif requires a few hours; you’ll want to savor the ambiance, service, and all the delightful extras. It’s also advisable to consider the wine pairing, as the selection is impeccable.
For my first course, our patient waiter Bayu explained the dish and poured the aguachile sauce over it upon serving. The Scallop Aguachile, inspired by Mexican cuisine and incorporating local ingredients, sets the stage. The presentation is impeccable, with a bowl of white pebbles adorned with succulent components. The scallop is incredibly tender, with a highly enticing citrus finish. The bilimbing buluh, a tiny starfruit, adds a bright, tangy element that I believe is the secret to this dish. The grilled cucamelon and colo colo (a local seasoning mixture of chili, tomatoes, shallots, citrus juice, and a hint of sugar) also play crucial roles. The aguachile features cucumber, pear, and cilantro oil, resembling leche de tigre, the marinating liquid used in ceviche, but in this case, the scallop is lightly soaked in chili water and served immediately.
Henri Bourgeois Sancerre La Bourgeoise, Loire Valley, France, 2014
This dish is brilliantly paired with Henri Bourgeois Sancerre La Bourgeoise from Loire Valley, France, 2014, which complements the tartness of the mini starfruit in the scallop.
Bread Trolley – Apéritif Restaurant
Not only is there a drinks trolley, but there’s also a bread trolley! Intan wheels around a selection of black olive focaccia, sourdough, and black rice bread, accompanied by a choice of butter – truffle, sourdough, and salty. She slices and plates the bread to your liking. With another glass of wine in hand, I could happily make a meal of this.
Chawanmushi King Prawn
The Chawanmushi King Prawn, with its Japanese origins, is a comforting and luxurious dish. The silky egg custard is complemented by tender and crunchy edamame and chives, while the dashi broth is addictively flavorful. I couldn’t resist scooping up every last drop.
Otoro – Apéritif Restaurant
Otoro, often considered the highest grade of tuna belly, is typically best enjoyed with minimal interference, letting the quality of the ingredient shine. However, when you have an artist in the kitchen, there are no limits. Chef Nic takes the tuna belly to new heights, lightly marinating it in soy sauce, serving it with a tomato salad, topping it with yuzu gel, and pairing it with a remarkable kombucha kemangi (lemon basil) sorbet. The combination is nothing short of sensational.
Riesling, Hugel – Classic, Alsace, France, 2016
The 2016 Hugel & Fils Riesling – Classic from Alsace, France, is a classic for good reason. This dry wine offers juicy pear and calamansi on the nose, with a crisp palate and a subtle hint of minerality on the finish. It pairs wonderfully with fresh seafood.
Wagyu – Apéritif Restaurant
The Tokusen Wagyu, beautifully presented in a roll with roasted carpaccio-style thin strips, exudes the essence of summer. Black garlic emulsion, bone marrow, mustard seeds, and a wagyu fat vinaigrette add layers of flavor with acidity that balances the richness of the meat.
Chef Nic’s signature Heirloom Tomato dish has a light and refreshing appearance but surprises with its intense and rich tomato flavors. The goat cheese mousse base is infused with tomato powder, garnished with green tomatillo, kombucha sorbet, and a potato leaf tuile, and finished with a clear tomato sauce.
Baron Philippe de Rothschild, Viognier, Pays d’Oc, 2020
The wine pairing with the Heirloom Tomato is the Baron Philippe de Rothschild Viognier from Pays d’Oc, 2020, a full-bodied wine with ripe fruit, particularly apricot on the nose. It leads to an elegant, round palate with lingering fruit and herbal notes.
As an optional addition to the menu, the Canadian Lobster, available for an additional IDR 450k++, presents a delicate and visually stunning dish. Tender chunks of lobster tail and claws are delicately arranged beneath a sheet of ravioli adorned with microgreens, petals, and flowers. The XO bouillon and black rice vinegar elements enhance the luxurious, fresh flavor of the crustacean. This is lobster prepared to perfection.
The seared Hokkaido Scallop takes the meal to a new level of delight. Incredibly succulent and melt-in-the-mouth tender, it’s hard to resist using that cliché description because this is a prime example of culinary excellence. The scallop rests on a bed of bell pepper chutney and dabu-dabu, a spicy condiment from Manado featuring chilies, shallots, tomatoes, sugar, salt, and calamansi. The dish is enveloped by woku soup, lightly foamed, and garnished with shredded fried herbs. Woku is a Manado-style dish prepared with turmeric, ginger, chilies, onions, and kaffir lime leaves. This combination is absolutely addictive.
Pinot Grigio, Cantine Leonardo da Vinci, Dama Con l’Ermellino, Emilia-Romagna, Italy 2020
The wine pairing, a 2020 Pinot Grigio from Cantine Leonardo da Vinci in Emilia-Romagna, Italy, is a match made in heaven for the scallops. Its fruity and floral aromas, along with its fresh palate, perfectly complement the local spice in the seasoning.
Dutch Veal – Apéritif Restaurant
Chef Nic’s preparation of Dutch Veal is impeccable. Sweetbread, often underutilized due to cultural perceptions, is transformed through poaching and searing. This cooking method results in a palatable dish with a crispy top and tender interior. It is served with an Albufera sauce featuring foie gras, king oyster mushrooms, and morel mushrooms, all coming together to create a harmonious flavor profile.
The climax of the meal at Apéritif is the signature Venison Wellington. This dish has been a part of the menu since the restaurant’s inception and has become a favorite among returning guests. The Venison Wellington is anything but traditional. Venison offers a firmer, smoother texture compared to beef, with a more earthy flavor. To replace the missing fattiness of beef, a center of foie gras is added. The dish is accompanied by a reduced and strained rendang sauce with a hint of coconut, introducing an elegant local touch that resonates throughout the menu. The broccolini and potato puree on the side are equally exceptional, although it’s challenging for them to stand out next to the Venison Wellington.
2018, Cabernet Sauvignon, Black Stallion, Napa Valley, USA
The wine pairing for the Venison Wellington is the 2018 Cabernet Sauvignon from Black Stallion in Napa Valley, USA. This rich and fruit-forward wine features blackcurrants, spices, nuts, and lavender on the nose. With integrated oak, a medium-to-full body, smooth tannins, more fruit on the palate, and a moderate finish, it complements the venison perfectly.
Palate Cleanser at Apéritif Restaurant
The palate cleanser at Apéritif resembles a miniature taco, with semprong tuile (a thin, sweet Asian egg batter) holding a refreshing guava sorbet and freshly shredded fruit. It’s meant to be enjoyed in a single bite to prepare your palate for the three upcoming desserts.
Sensation White at Apéritif Restaurant
Sensation White is a dessert that exudes purity, with its all-white composition. The base features mango and coriander coulis, hidden beneath a coconut emulsion and crispy meringue. It’s accompanied by coconut sorbet and cheesecake crumble. Even for someone who isn’t particularly fond of desserts, this one is a delight. The flavors of coconut and mango shine through naturally, and it isn’t overly sweet but instead celebrates the true essence of these ingredients.
2018, Semillon, Mouton Cadet Reserve Sauternes, Bordeaux, France
To accompany the desserts, Apéritif offers the 2018 Semillon from Mouton Cadet Reserve Sauternes in Bordeaux, France. This sweet wine is a classic representation of the style, with a dazzling golden yellow hue, stone fruit aromas, and a mouth-filling palate. Its sweetness is perfectly balanced with a lively finish.
Chocolate Harmony at Apéritif Restaurant
Chocolate Harmony is a flawless semi-sphere of mousse made from Guanaja 70% and 30% milk chocolate, with a glossy surface and an edible golden crown. Salted caramel and yuzu gel add additional layers of complexity to the dessert. This is a wonderful choice for those craving a chocolatey finish.
Petit Fours – Apéritif Restaurant
To conclude the meal, I moved to the outdoor patio, where a trolley loaded with petit fours and a “sweet, simple thing” from the bar awaited. Pastry chef Dayu Chintya ensures that no one leaves without experiencing the full array of delectable desserts. In all honesty, this could serve as an entire afternoon tea or dessert selection on its own. It exemplifies fine dining at its finest, surpassing all expectations. The trolley features a variety of treats, including snickers with caramel chocolate and cashew nuts, a pineapple tart, cashew praline, cookies with vanilla cream, piña colada (pineapple with chocolate rolled in coconut), a sweet and sour lemon praline, a s’more with chocolate mousse, Graham cracker, and meringue, a passion lolly with passionfruit and meringue, and, finally, a decadent, incredibly rich and smooth chocolate cigar.
Indulge in the delightful Pandan Eggnog at the bar, a “sweet and straightforward” concoction crafted from roasted cashews, coconut milk, pandan syrup, nutmeg, cinnamon, and ginger. This luscious treat serves as the perfect conclusion to an exceptional dining experience.
Reasons to visit Apéritif Restaurant: Experience the allure of Apéritif Restaurant, where excellence extends from the location, service, menu, and beverage pairings. Delight in creatively and painstakingly prepared international dishes infused with local flavors, all while relishing superb service and outstanding wine pairings. Your visit here is sure to exceed all expectations.
Jl. Lanyahan, Br, Nagi, Ubud, Bali
+62 361 908 2777
Apéritif Restaurant Opening Hours
Daily: 12 – 2 pm & 6- 9 pm