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(11/8/2010) When it comes to outstanding displays of delectable cuisine, Bali is indeed bountifully blessed with hotels, resorts and restaurants competing to satisfy both gourmets and gourmands.
One of our personal favorite recommended to those seeking a selection from Balidiscovery.com' "short-list" of unique culinary outings in Bali is the St. Regis Bali Sunday Brunch served each Sunday in the Boneka Restaurant.
Like any great gastronomic undertaking, it's important to warm up before plunging into the "main event." To that end, diners are encouraged to gather at the King Cole Bar between 11:00 am and noon for complimentary "Bloody Mary's" and canapés. A well-prepared "Bloody Mary" is somehow synonymous with Sunday brunch, making the savory rounds of tomato juice and vodka from the Company said to have invented the cocktail in New York the perfect prelude for the culinary adventure to follow.
Slightly sedated after a round or two, you can make your way across the Resort's lobby to the Boneka Restaurant for the three-hour long food-fest that commence on-the dot at 12 noon.
The bright, sun-lit lounge doors open to the inviting sound of a live performing jazz trio. Those with children in tow will welcome the permanent engagement of clown located in a discreet corner of the restaurant to entertain the younger set who may need breaks between trips carrying refilled plates.
The positioning as "brunch" allows the island-renowned chefs of the St. Regis Bali to bedazzle diners with an almost endless array of tempting delicacies certain to frustrate and,sadly, in the end, defeat even the most determined calorie-counter.
Diners are welcomed, nay encouraged, to stroll and pick from beautifully presented food displays and ala minute cooking centers in operation or, alternatively, sit back on upholstered divans while attentive waiters and waitresses bring tray after tray of freshly prepared food. Merely express a culinary preference to any member of the cooking or serving team and you're more than likely to see that dish miraculously appear shortly thereafter.
Our overwhelmed and over-satiated recollections of the items on offer during our recent lunch include:
• Fruits - A wide supply of tropical and imported fruits including mangoes, mangosteen, rambutan, pomelo, persimmons. Lychees, logans oranges and succulent melons are also available There were also a range of sweet berries served with dollops of fresh cream or low-fat yogurt.
• Cold Meats & Cheeses - A rich array of hard and soft imported cheeses sat in close proximity to platters of cold meat featuring thinly sliced Salami, Mortadella, Black Forrest Ham, spicy pepperoni, pork-belly pate and cold chicken. The cheeses and meats were accompanied by dried fruits, gourmet mustards, capers and other well-chosen condiments.
• Fish From the Carving Station - Smoked salmon, smoked mackerel, seared tuna and teriyaki-glazed salmon or red snapper were served in generously proportioned servings by a chef.
• Salads - In possibly perfunctory homage to wiser palates, a selection of mixed greens with afterthoughts of whole pitted olives, carrots, cucumbers, onion, green peas, mixed peppers and vine-ripened cherry tomatoes is on offer to be topped by virgin olive oil, truffle oil and Asseto Balsamic vinegar.
• Appetizers Portioned to serve as appetizers but available without limit were: Yellow fin tuna with green olives and lemon relish; BBQ duck breast wrapped in thin pancake with spring onion, fresh coriander leaves and hoisin sauce; gado gado rolls with green bean, white cabbage, tempe, sweet peanut sauce; slow-roasted cherry tomatoes and fresh mozzarella cheese, and basil pesto; prawn cocktail with ice berg lettuce, avocado and cocktail dressing; and smoked duck breast with pickled red beet root and horseradish parfait.
• Breads - Croissants, German sour dough bread, sun-dried tomato mini baguette, dark rye sunflower seed bread, seven grain bread, brioche, and onion bread. A range of butters, infused oils, papaya and lime jam, roasted banana and cardamom, passion fruit and honey are available to accent the bread selections.
• Freshly Squeezed Juices, Smoothies and Teas - Apple and Celery Orange; Tomato and Sweet Basil Mandarin from Bedugul ; Carrot Watermelon; Mango Rock Melon; Pineapple Star Fruit with Lime Syrup; Strawberry; Cranberry Juice; V8 Juice; St. Regis Ice Tea, and an assortment of special blends of teas. Smoothies include mixed berries banana; fresh strawberries; passion fruit ; plus papaya, lime, apple and cinnamon.
• Fruits with Yogurts - Fresh sliced mango cheeks ; papaya and lime compote and oatmeal Brulee; apple-mash flavored with vanilla, topped with low fat yogurt; and poached Chinese pears in a light honey and cinnamon syrup.
• Eggs in Endless Variations - farm-style, fried, scrambled, omelet, "Benedicted" or poached kept company by your selection of smoked bacon, breakfast pork sausage, slow baked tomato, crispy potato cake, Wagyu tenderloin, lobster, chorizo sausage, or salmon.
• Chef's Recommendations - Croissant French toast served with clotted cinnamon butter and papaya lime jam; a selection of sashimi with organic miso soup; fresh oysters on the half-shell with coriander lime drizzle, sautéed spinach with herb Hollandaise; crispy-fried potato cake served with a choice of sausages; Breakfast Pork Sausage; Toulouse; Tandoor chicken served with melted onion and sour cream; and Veal liver spread with sautéed mushrooms, crispy bacon and pickled red beet roots.
• Chinese Dim Sum - a selection served with hoisin sauce, dark vinegar with young ginger.
• Local Rice and Noodle Specialties - Nasi Goreng, Mie Goreng or Indonesian Rice Porridge.
• Sandwich Selections - Bagels served with chives cream cheese smoked salmon; breakfast Burritos with fried egg, re-fried beans, tomatoes, avocado, minced beef meat and sour cream; and Toasted brioche and duck foie gras mouse with cranberry relish.
• Griddle Specialties- Swiss rosti with smoked salmon and chives sour cream; seared foie gras on brioche toast with apple and melted onion; chicken sausage, sautéed onion and sour cream.
• From the Grill - Grilled Tasmanian salmon with teriyaki glaze served with Nimono vegetables; Chicken satays with sweet peanut sauce; and steak and potatoes, served with a herb gravy.
• Grilled Pancakes and Waffles - Waffles with strawberries and whipped cream; Thin pancakes with fresh fruit salad and maple syrup; and fluffy pancake and mango roll with vanilla ice cream.
• From the Carving Station -Standing prime rib served with Yorkshire pudding.
• Indonesian Specialties - A buffet of Indonesian specialties served from a mini "warung."
• Hot Dishes - Pork belly adobo and steamed fragrant rice; beef tenderloin and rendang gravy; supreme of chicken Betutu; seared salmon in a teriyaki-glaze; river lobster curry and eggplant; and Japanese porridge with seafood and wakame seaweeds.
• Deserts - Valhrona chocolate fountain with fresh strawberries and marshmallows; carrot cake and lemon sour cream; chocolate mouse; mango milk shake; a selection of homemade ice creams and sorbet; yogurt mousse and blackcurrant juice and fresh berries; crunchy pineapple tart; and Granny Smith apple ring beignet flavored with lavender.
A word to the wise: wear spandex.
Some of the more daring diners look at the endless array of food as a culinary version of "snake and ladders" – feigning disappointment as they habitually returned to the beginning of the food displays, vowing "to get it right this time" but with little hope or genuine desire of ever making it to the last food counter.
Prices and Reservations
The word is out regarding the quality, range and value on offer at the St. Regis Sunday Brunch in Bali mandating that reservations be made by calling the Boneka Restaurant at ++62-(0)361-8478111.
The 3-hour buffet including the hour's cocktail starting at 11:00 am in the King Cole Bar is Rp. 495,000 net (US$54).
An optional drinks package including free-flow juices, wines, beer and selected cocktails is also available for an additional Rp. 495,000 net (US$54).
Sunday Brunch at the St. Regis Resort Bali is served each Sunday from 12 noon to 3:00 p.m. with complimentary "Bloody Mary's" served in the King Cole Bar from 11:00 am till noon.