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The Bali Culinary Collective

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Bali’s is Southeast Asia’s enfant terrible of the culinary scene, with destination dining luring fabulous chefs from across the globe to cook up a monsoon on the island.

Top chefs such as New York’s dessert genius Will Goldfarb, Melbourne’s Frank Camorra and Geoff Lindsay, Caribbean-born London-raised Miles Belfield and Singapore-based-UK-born Ryan Clift are flocking to Bali. They join long-time giants of the culinary scene; Franco-American Chris Salans and Englishman James Efraim of Mozaic, Australian Will Meyrick and French dining trailblazers Nicholas ‘Dou Dou’ Tourneville and Said Alem who created Warisan and then Metis.

A visit to Bali demands that dwellers of exquisite villas drag themselves away from the delights of a private chef for a night or two of culinary exploration.

Prepare to be impressed.

Foremost in the savoury fray is the internationally renowned team at Ku De Ta, lead by executive chef Ben Cross. KDT’s fine dining restaurant, Mejekawi, is the host venue for The Culinary Collective Supper Club, a high cuisine extravaganza where imported talent collaborates with Chef Ben and KDT’s head chef Stephen Moore to create rare delights.

Recently, the award-winning chef Blaine Wetzel of The Willows Inn in Seattle – which is widely considered to be one of the best restaurants in the USA – produced a series of outstanding dishes that merged American traditions and style with Balinese ingredients to great success. Five hours of fine food and matched wine was a singular sensation. Think lushly juicy whole barramundi and crispy suckling pig cooked over coffee wood and paired with an Italian Marchesi de Frescobaldi Niozzano Riserva.

Serious foodie travellers and expat gourmands are the staple supporters of this supper club where networks are grown and friendships forged over a feast of fun and familiarity.

The next Culinary Collective is slated for March 9, when Chef Monty Koludrovic from Sydney’s legendary Icebergs will be in town. Chef Monty’s early cooking influence came from his Russian Nona and her traditional feasts, and was later refined at important kitchens throughout Europe.

On May 4, Executive Chef Federico Zanellato of Sydney’s award-winning fine diner LuMi will hit the pans, followed by the amazing barbeque king

Dave Pynt, of Burnt Ends in Singapore, on June 24. In September Hong Kong’s Matt Abergele from Yard Bird will headline, while October will feature the many talents of Chef James Lowe of Lyles,

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Exploring Phuket’s Wild Side

in Recreation by

Phuket’s tropical heat makes it tempting to laze days away on the beach, but those seeking adventure will find plenty of action-packed activities on and around the island.

The warm, clear waters of the Andaman Sea, the island’s lush interior and a growing number of adventure and sports operators all offer plenty of adrenalin-fuelled fun while connecting with nature.  

Surfing and standup paddle boarding: From October through May, when the south-west monsoon brings bigger waves, Phuket is a surfer’s dream – especially off Kata Beach. During the rest of the year, calmer conditions mean smooth, glassy water in the bays, perfect for standup paddle boarding (SUP).

Sailing: Phuket is a great place to learn to sail or hone your sailing skills with lessons and yacht charters available at all the island’s marinas. The Phuket Yacht Club in Chalong hosts regular races and lessons, and its fleet of small dinghies are perfect for kids learning the ropes.  

Scuba diving: A prime launching point for exploring the Andaman’s fascinating sea life, Phuket welcomes divers of all abilities. Several PADI-certified shops around the island offer instruction and day trips to nearby sites including the sapphire waters of the Similan islands. 

Kiteboarding: Kiteboarders should head to Rawai or Nai Yang beaches where colourful kites pull riders at breathtaking speed across the bay. Rentals and lessons are available for learners.  

Wakeboarding: Board riding is not just surfer territory in Phuket. The island has two inland cable wakeboard parks that see everyone from beginners to world champions flying and flipping their way around the course. Try Phuket Wake Park near Patong or Anthem Wake Park in Cherng Talay, not far from Surin and Bang Tao beaches. 

Cycling: Phuket is not big on bike lanes, so two-wheeled explorers may want to try a guided cycling trip rather than navigating their own route. Amazing Bike Tours offers day tours to off-the-beaten-track locations that provide healthy doses of fresh air and beautiful sights. An especially scenic trip takes cyclists to the nearby island of Koh Yao Noi, along peaceful rural roads with magnificent views across Phang Nga Bay. 

Ziplining: Soar like an eagle through the treetops on ziplines that give you a bird’s eye view of Phuket’s jungle landscape.

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Spilling the Beans: Villa ISSI

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Every chef in Elite Havens has his or her signature creations – the ones guests ask for again and again. This month, the chef at Villa Issi shares two of his gourmet dishes with us. Try these recipes at home and get ready to wow your guests at future dinner parties. 

AYAM PELALAH

Shredded organic chicken breast with homemade tomato sauce

Ingredients:

  • 150 gr chicken breast
  • 25 gr bean sprout
  • 5 gr romaine lettuce
  • 10 gr tomatoes, diced
  • 10gr red chillies, diced
  • 1 tbs olive oil
  • 5gr garlic, diced
  • 5gr shallot, diced
  • Salt & pepper
  • 2 – 3 star fruit slices (optional)

Preparation:

  1. Grill chicken breast for 5 -6 minutes per side.
  2. Transfer chicken breast to a bowl, allow to cool and shred the chicken meat with 2 forks.
  3. To make tomato sauce, heat olive oil in a pan.
  4. Sauté diced tomatoes, garlic, red chillies and shallots.
  5. Transfer to a blender and puree until smooth.
  6. Mix shredded chicken breast and bean sprouts with tomato sauce.
  7. Place romaine lettuce on top of a plate, serve the chicken and garnish with star fruit (if using).

Serves 1

TUNA SAMBAL MATAH

Pan-seared Tuna with shallot, garlic, lemongrass sambal and fresh mango salad.

Ingredients:

  • 200 gr tuna loin
  • 100gr young mango, cut into long thin strips
  • Salt, freshly ground black pepper and paprika powder
  • Sweet chilli dressing
  • 50gr sautéed asparagus
  • Steamed rice wrapped in coconut leaves (optional)

For the sambal:

  • 2 shallots, chopped
  • 2 cloves of garlic, chopped
  • 2 lemongrass stems, finely chopped
  • A pinch of salt
  • 2 tbsp. vegetable oil

Preparation:

  1. Season tuna with salt, black pepper, and paprika powder.
  2. Mix the sliced young mango with sweet chilli dressing.
  3. Sear tuna loin on a pan about 5-8 minutes and cut into 4 slices.
  4. To make sambal, mix all the ingredients for sambal in a bowl.

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Galle’s Outdoor Activities

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Located on the south coast of Sri Lanka, Galle is a destination in its own right. Stay in a luxury villa in Galle, such as the superb No. 39 Galle Fort, Ambassador’s House or Villa Pooja Kanda, and you’ll be blessed by having a wealth of attractions and activities on your doorstep.

Galle’s golden beaches are washed by a warm sea where snorkelling, diving, deep sea fishing and surfing are all possible, as well as whale and dolphin watching from November to April. The coastal interior is characterised by paddy fields and palms, and this setting is ripe for explorations on foot, by bicycle, or by canoe, travelling upriver to seek out birds and wildlife.  

Snorkelling and diving

IMAGE CREDIT: MY TOUR IN SRI LANKA

Sri Lanka’s marine life and coral reefs don’t quite live up to other parts of Asia, however it’s still an enjoyable experience nonetheless and easy to organise from Galle. Experienced divers can explore a handful of wrecks lying in deeper water. Marine life in the region includes turtles, reef sharks and coral fish, though the coral around Sri Lanka is generally in a poor condition. Dive sites are better towards Hikkaduwa, where there’s a marine sanctuary. There are a few spots for snorkelling, such as at Unawatuna, Jungle Beach and Hikkaduwa.

Surfing

IMAGE CREDIT: THAMBAPANNI LEISURE

Surfing in Sri Lanka has really taken off in the last couple of years. Many beaches close to Galle, such as Devata, Ahangama and Midigama particularly, as well as Weligama, 45-minutes’ drive east, and Hikkaduwa, 45-minutes’ drive west, are well set up for surfers of all abilities. Devata is the closest beach to Galle, and has emerged recently as a place to learn to surf; its sliver of sand is sprinkled with surf outfits. Weligama has many more surf operators and its wide sandy arc of bay is a much more picturesque setting for beginners. Many of the other locations mentioned, such as Midigama and Ahangama, suit more experienced surfers.

Whale and dolphin watching

IMAGE CREDIT: SRI SHARAVI

Sri Lanka is one of the world’s best places to see the planet’s biggest fish – the blue whale.

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Five of the Best

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We present you the best five (extraordinary) activities you can only experience in Bali.

Be a Rascal

Take a day trip on Rascal – a handcrafted 31-metre phinisi cruiser that launched at the end of 2016.  Hewn from ironwood and teak, Rascal is a luxuriously modern yacht with chic interiors that give a nod the beach house style of The Hampton’s.

Life is a lot more beautiful on Rascal. Image credit: Ultimate Indonesian Yachts

Rascal’s pared back style delivers hospitality of the highest order: among the crew of nine is a talented young chef working the kitchen, which was designed by Bali’s famous Watercress Café’s executive chef Josh Job, and the award-winning mixologist outfit Proof & Company inspired the cocktail list. Onboard, for your leisure and pleasure, is fishing gear, diving equipment and a personal dive manager, two tenders, kayaks, waterskis, a biscuit and a banana boat.

Visit the beguiling island and deserted beaches of Nusa Penida, the hot surf spots of Nusa Lembongan or sip cocktails during a private and romantic sunset cruise. 

More information here.

Flying High

Soaring high above the lush, jungle-carpeted mountains, sparkling crater lakes, dazzling Kuta coastline and active volcanoes that leak steaming sulphur into the atmosphere are just some of the highlights of a helicopter tour in Bali.

Life is better at the top. Image credit: Bali Adventure Sky Tours

This island of the gods is an awe-inspiring visual package, with verdant rice terraces that are so exquisite that UNESCO has marked the region for all-time preservation, set alongside ancient sea temples such a Tanah Lot – perched high on top of a rocky outcrop that’s inaccessible at high tide.

Image credit: Bali Adventure Sky Tours.

More information here.

Mesmerising Sunset Trance Dance of Fire

The Kecak dance is an extraordinary display by 100 or more bare-chested men clad in checkered cloth, sitting in concentric circles, swaying, standing up, lying prone as the story of the Hindu epic – the Ramayana unfolds around a raging fire.

Kecak dance at Uluwatu Temple. Image credit: ewigbalitour

Voices chant in a trance-like rapture while the gamelan beats. A woman is stolen by a demon from her princely husband and the story tells of the challenges the young prince and his brother must overcome to rescue her.

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