Situated in the heart of Bali’s cultural heritage, Nusantara was envisioned as a vessel to introduce Indonesia’s culinary roots to the foreign tongue. Managed by the famous Locavore group, a huge figure in the local F&B industry, their éclat is very palpably resonated by the mood and tone of the experience.
The restaurant is designed like a house, a simple white facade lays bare on the outside. A large traditional wooden door opens to reveal a “revamped” traditional interior, boasting contemporary art pieces while keeping things still very intimate.
Meals are prepared in “family” portions, laid in the center of the table for sharing, just like a family would do during dinners. I went for an entire course, hoping to experiment on as many different food combinations as I can, and letting the chefs do their magic. The result is a compelling food roller-coaster, which starts off very mild and mellow, ascending to stronger and more complex taste profiles, climaxing with fervent explosions in your mouth, then descending back down slowly to resolution, like the closing stanza of a symphony.
To newcomers, the taste will be very unique — an circus of local produce and spices, appraised with traditional cooking methods to create enchanting symphonies in your mouth. To the locals, the taste is very nostalgic, calling back to “I’ve had his before” moments that will send them down memory lane.
Nusantara, a word which depicts our archipelagic unity — is an accurate portrayal of the widespread and complex nature of traditional Indonesian cuisine, which was translated with finesse in this restaurant — and it lives up to its supposed reputation. I’d definitely come back.