- Vanessa Liwanag
Dining Corner: A Hidden Gastronomic Gem in the Jungles of Ubud
What started as a trek into the lush green jungles of Ubud, in the heart of Bali became a memorable trip full of new culinary discoveries as we stumbled upon Dining Corner, a lovely restaurant tucked in between the luxurious villas of the Kayumanis Resort and Spa.
We entered the premises of the Kayumanis Resort on our way to Dining Corner and PR Coordinator, Stephanie Antolis warmly greeted us, along with Chef Made Armawa who made our hearts melt with his genuine smile and grace.
As soon as we took our place in one of the beautifully decorated tables of the restaurant, we marvelled at the superb views of cinnamon and coconut trees surrounding the whole resort while being serenaded by the gentle gush of water streaming from the Ayung River, which was just a few steps down. It started to rain, but it didn't bother us at all, as we started to know more about this new destination in Ubud that is yet to be discovered by many travelers and tourists wanting to savour some authentic Balinese dishes in a unique and tranquil environment.
Chef Made shared to us that all the dishes he serves in the restaurant with his team comes from the recipes that his mother has passed down to him. He shared that he watched his mother cook in his native hometown of Negara and tried his best to get all her secret tips that would make any dish a top one. As what any discerning food critic would say, the best dishes would always be those that would make you reminisce of your childhood days and we were transported in a short moment of time to be like children all over again, savoring new flavors and tastes for the first time from the exceptional menu that Chef Made has prepared for us.
We started with some fresh appetizers that consisted of vegetables and tofu cuts rolled in cucumber slivers dosed with a delectable peanut sauce in what seemed to be a delectable serving of the traditional Indonesian dish called Gado Gado served in an innovative and contemporary style. Paired with a refreshing green juice that was laden with pounded green local leaves, it was a great start for dinner, with Stephanie explaining to us that they only use seasonal greens and products in their daily menus to be able to showcase the best flavours from their beloved island.
The main course was a wonderful presentation of pan-grilled native duck and slowly cooked beef marinated in Balinese spices, complimented by local leaves and edible flowers that was perfectly mixed with a slighlty spicy sambal matah relish on the side. When asked how the sambal matah concoction was made, Chef Made generously offered to us his recipe of which was passed to him by his mother - a simple mix of chopped shallots, chilies, lemongrass, ginger, and fish sauce together with some lime juice, salt, and pepper! Now that's something to note down lest we would be craving for more of this delicious mix after our trip when we get back in the city!
Dessert came and it was simply divine, paired with some local white wine made from Bali, which was a real surprise for us. Stephanie explained that they do have some whites and red in Bali and the local supplier mixes some grapes from Australia and some locally grown varieties to make the wine. A sumptuous row of sorbet, sweet yellow curls of mango slices, local mint leaves, soft toasted rice cake and wild Bali strawberries presented on a lovely ceramic plate had us in Cloud 9 as we savored each morsel with our tiny wooden spoons, trying to make each spoonful last a bit longer as it should.
After a savory experience at the Dining Corner, we thought to ourselves that this establishment really does merit a spot as one of the rising culinary destinations that has to be visited when one is in Bali. It is not only the perfect jungle setting and ambiance that sets Dining Corner apart from other restaurants, but its their beautifully presented and delicious menu that should be discovered by one and all. It is rare that you find a harmonious fusion of contemporary and traditional BalI cuisine in Ubud and Dining Corner has achieved this feat, under the helm of Top Chef, Made Armawa.
The Luxe by CTW highly recommends booking a table at Dining Corner in Kayumanis Resort and Spa located in Ubud. Start your gastronomic voyage and reserve here.
All photos courtesy of Dining Corner, Kayumanis Resort and Spa and Vanessa Liwanag.