June 26, 2014 | Bali, International Cuisine
The last thing we tried on our last Bali trip (read the summary here) is Cuca. As we have some time to kill before we have to be at the airport, I insisted that we go to this place. We already had lunch before at Nasi Ayam Bu Oki, also in Jimbaran area. When we arrived there, it was already past lunch time, so the dining area was already quite empty. I found out later that the rush hour is during dinner time. Located just in front of the Kayumanis Jimbaran Private Estate and Spa, the place is spacious, minimal in design, and STRICTLY non-smoking in the dining area. There’s an open kitchen where you can watch the chef and staff work, so we decided to sit at the kitchen bar.
Cuca is headed by a Spanish couple: Chef Kevin Cherkas and Virginia Entizne. They offer a variety of tapas, cocktails, and desserts. After scanning the menu, we decided to try their chef tasting meal 480K/person which is basically the highlight of Cuca’s menu. It consists of 11 courses of tapas, including 2 types of dessert and 2 Cuca’s brew. So without further ado, let’s start.
- Cotton betutu, this is a surprisingly nice opening dish. It looked like cotton candy, but infused with Balinese Betutu flavor, light and airy, and it prepared us for other surprises waiting ahead of us.
- Emperor fish ceviche served with watermelon ice, toasted pumpkin seed and basil. Thin slices of raw fish complemented with watermelon cubes and toasted pumpkin seed. It tasted fresh and resfreshing, one of my favorite dishes at Cuca.
- Smoked butterfish served with asian gazpacho, fresh apple, caramelized cauliflower and coriander. Nicely presented and tasted equally delicious.
- Glazed young carrot salad served with whipped avocado, mountain strawberry, cashew nut and lemon balm. Tasted very good, I love the combination of the glazed carrot with the other ingredients.
- BBQ octopus served with asian gazpacho, fresh apple, caramelized cauliflower and coriander. This one is also a favorite. The octopus was cooked perfectly, very tender and tasty, worked well with the cauliflower and gazpacho.
- Crispy fried chicken, served with wild honey, country coleslaw, sesame dust and asial basil. Tasted delicious, seasoned well, I especially like the sesame dust, but I think there’s nothing special about crispy fried chicken, I can always get a nice crispy fried chicken elsewhere.
- Roasted tiger prawn, served with sweet and sour baby zucchini, red chili, coconut broth, kaffir lime. An Asian influenced tapas. The tiger prawn was cooked perfectly, but I didn’t really like the coconut broth and found it a little too heavy for my palate.
- Premium beef chica served with shaved cabbage, young zucchini, parsley. Nicely seasoned and cooked, but nothing special about the beef patty, though I actually like the cooked red rice that accompanied the beef chica.
- Warm melting cheese with candied coconut granola, papaya jam and rosemary. This is probably my least favorite from all the dishes served to us that day. Not that it’s not good, I’m just not used to the texture of warm cheese combined with papaya jam and candied coconut granola. It reminds me of breakfast stuff and I don’t normally eat melted cheese for breakfast.
- Bali Breakfast (sweet runny mango, frozen passion fruit and whipped coconut). This is the famous dessert in Cuca, it resembled the sunny side up, the “egg yolk” is actually the runny mango, while the “egg white” is made from whipped coconut. It tasted delicious, the “not too sweet” runny mango is balanced by the light creammy whipped coconut.
- Cocoa 99 (warm organic podchocolate, mint ice cream, cocoa croutons). This is seriously so good, even better than the Bali Breakfast, the warm chocolate have just the right bitterness, complemented by mint ice cream and crunchy chocolate crouton. I practically licked my bowl clean even though I’m already very full at that moment. A must try for chocolate lover.
- Cuca Brew consists of vanilla & berry brew for her and pineapple & rosemary brow for him. Well, since SC isn’t allowed to drink liquor, I got two glasses just for me to enjoyed at the outdoor lounge. After tasting both, I think I like the pineapple & rosemary better, not too sweet, not too girly, with a nice aroma of rosemary.
Overall, it was a very nice experience to try the Chef Tasting Meal, the food presentation was exceptionally good. Taste wise, some of the dishes were superb, some were just OK. We also got to talk with the chef discussing about what we liked and disliked from the menu. The service were also impeccable, very friendly and helpful. I look forward to return to Cuca on my next trip to Bali.
Jl. Yoga Perkanthi
Jimbaran, Bali 80364
ph. +62(361) 708066