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Bali's Luxe New Restaurant

Michelin-starred Italian chef Luca Fantin has opened a second restaurant in Bali, and it dazzles. By JOE CUMMINGS.

Published on Jul 26, 2017


LUCA FANTIN IS MAKING himself right at home in Bali. Since the Michelin-starred Italian chef's first visit in January 2017, he's opened a second restaurant here.

Bulgari Resort Bali, perched on the dramatic cliffs of Uluwatu, hosts the Il Ristorante Luca Fantin. Open only for dinner, the 36-seat restaurant bears the signature stamp Fantin puts on all his dishes, an edgy take on classic Italian.

Il Ristorante Luca Fantin
Il Ristorante Luca Fantin, in Bulgari Resort Bali. Courtesy of Bulgari Resort Bali.

At the original Tokyo Bulgari, which has held a Michelin star since 2012, Fantin applies Japanese touches to contemporary Italian cuisine. An alla carbonara sauce, for example, uses sea urchin instead of egg.

"The only thing I bring to Tokyo is Carnaroli rice, olive oil and Parmesan cheese," he says. Since Bali is a tropical island without the agricultural resources of Japan, relying on local produce here is more of a challenge. "So far, about 90 percent of our ingredients come from Australia, Japan, Italy and Spain."

Still, expect Indonesian specialties to make cameos at this tasting-menu-only eatery, where you can choose from three different options: traditional (four courses), contemporary (five courses) and Bulgari (eight courses). The dessert, for example, sees Fantin and team experiment on a variation on his famed consistenze di latte, successfully substituting fresh Balinese coconut cream for Hokkaido milk.

Tartare, avocado cream, smoked vegetable. Courtesy of Bulgari Resort Bali.

For the opening night dinner at Bulgari Resort Bali, Fantin and resident head chef Fabrizio Crocetta prepare a tour-de-force, six-course menu of standout dishes, while the 200-variety-strong wine cellar, made up of predominantly Italian labels, offers ample pairing options for the progression. Early in the dinner, the tartare con crema di avocado ed affumicato di verdure is a beautiful tartar of Italy's famed Fassone beef with avocado cream and smoked vegetables. The risotto carnaroli mantecato ai finocchi con salsa cacciucco, a rich fennel-infused risotto doused in cacciucco, the tomato-influenced Italian fish stew native to Tuscany and Liguria, makes for a perfect mid-meal main. Rounding out the savory recipes, the aragosta con erbe amare consists of expertly cooked Canadian lobster whose sweetness is balanced by the bitterness of arugula.

Crocetta and Fantin
Resident head chef Fabrizio Crocetta and Luca Fantin. Courtesy of Bulgari Resort Bali.

"I don't want this to be just a resort restaurant," Fantin says. "There are plenty of other places on the island where people can order pizza or spaghetti, but I want to offer much more. I want dining here to be a true experience."; tasting menus from Rp1,100,000.



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Il Ristorante Luca Fantin, in Bulgari Resort Bali. Courtesy of Bulgari Resort Bali.
  • A delicate dish of octopus, capsicum cream and potato. Courtesy of Bulgari Resort Bali.
  • Sweet moment. Courtesy of Bulgari Resort Bali.
  • Canadian lobster with bitter herbs. Courtesy of Bulgari Resort Bali.
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