One of my most dreaded moments during a holiday is the miserable taxi journey to the airport, knowing a crowded plane and 15 hours sits between you and rainy England. My time in Indonesia, however, came to a close with a magical finale with a stop at Cuca restaurant in Jimbaran, only 20 minutes from the airport.
The buzz of a open kitchen always excites me at a restaurant. When we arrived at Cuca, we were lucky enough to be seated at their tapas bar overlooking the theatrical performance, watching the chefs prepare our gastronomic adventure. On the walls you can spot their signature dishes, along with the stages involved in the cooking process – it’s really interesting to see the preparation and time that goes into their masterpieces.
Cuca offers an awesome array of signature cocktails (or mocktails for the nominated drivers). We opted for a zesty and fresh Tokyo mojito and a Moon-gria (the white wine lover’s Sangria!). The Moon-gria is served with Cuca’s signature frozen fruit flavoured ice cubes meaning the drink changes taste and becomes fruitier and more delicous as the ice melts!
The Cuca team prepare tapas style dishes, with a dedication to local Indonesian ingredients, and they are brought one at a time to share. There is the option to try the Chef’s tasting menu highlighting Cuca’s favourite dishes.
Our first amuse bouche was an intriguing cotton candy ball, flavoured with Indonesian herbs and spices (think savoury candy floss!) These yummy mouthfuls are served in the cutest little mini handbag shaped dish!
I absolutely adore scallops, so was in heaven when the chef brought over our appetizer of scallops baked in the shell. Served with a sliver of zucchini and cheese crumb – divine! I could easily have devoured the entire portion…
For one of our five a day we had the broccoli Caesar, charred broccoli bits served with coconut flavoured cream and an anchovy crumb for a salty kick.
Next we were treated with another of my favourite dishes – octopus! This seafood has a bad reputation, those suckers (excuse my attempt at a pun) don’t know what they’re missing! Cuca prepared a beautiful BBQ-ed version for us, with a delicious charcoalled edge, caramelised cauliflower florets, apple and Asian gazpacho.
Although fried chicken isn’t exactly what I would have expected to be served in Indonesia, it is secretly my guilty pleasure at home (and one I should never admit to missing!) The crispy chicken served for our main, accompanied by pickled cabbage and palm nectar mayo provided a wonderfully fresh take on a sometimes greasy dish; even fried chicken has finesse at Cuca!
Moving on to sweeter things, our first dessert was one that I had heard great things about and I was far from disappointed! The Bali Breakfast is served as a striking ‘fried egg’, created with whipped coconut cream and a spherified runny mango ‘yolk’, on top of a passion fruit and biscuit crumb base. I would love to eat this lavish dish everyday for breakfast!
Although we were absolutely bursting already there was room for one more dessert – The Caramel Apple, Charlie’s favourite dish of the day! The baked apple served with salted caramel mousse, vanilla panacotta spheres, waffle croutons and vanilla ice cream provided the perfect end to our taste of Cuca. The salty caramel coupled with the sweet vanilla and apple was delicious.
Following our meal we were welcomed into the kitchen to talk to the chef who gave us an insight into the inspiration behind Cuca and their many dishes. He let us in on a little secret, the kitchen may have looked slickly run but in fact that night was semi-organised chaos, we’d have never known!
We explored the rest of Cuca and there are many areas you can enjoy your meal – at the food bar (where we sat alongside the bustling kitchen), outside in the garden lounge or in the dining room. The dining room has curtains allowing tables to be separated off from the main room creating a lovely personal experience, although you might miss out on the people watching!
Find Out More…
Cuca – https://www.cucaflavor.com/