Written by Darren Lim
I decided to round up my weekend by driving all the way from Canggu to tick off an item on my Bali Food bucket list; to eat at Aperitif Ubud. The impressive Sunday lunch experience didn’t surprise me since I’ve heard a lot of good things about the restaurant. On arrival, I proceeded to the lavish vintage dining area, decorated with Dutch colonial-style furniture. The open-kitchen caught my eye, where I was able to watch the kitchen team doing their magic for the patrons. I had intentionally skipped breakfast in anticipation of an indulgent Sunday lunch starting at 11:30 AM, which is a good time to start fueling myself.
First impressions began with the amuse bouche, little charcoal puffs with a creamy smoked mackerel filling. It quickly melted in my mouth with a mix of sweet and umami flavors. The unique flavor got me anticipating the next dish with mixed feelings of both excitement and low expectation at the same time. I was wondering if Aperitif could live up to the hype,I guess.
A gourmet bread selection was served next with focaccia, sourdough, and black rice and a choice of spreads including hummus and three butters flavoured with truffle, salt, and sourdough. I generally wouldn’t eat much bread during the first stage of lunch to save space but I had it all and couldn’t resist having more with a heavenly combination of fragrant truffle butter and rich beetroot hummus. It made me wonder why it was so good, and I later found out the hummus was made with ricotta. It’s a nice touch.
I got even more excited about the next dish since it’s one of my favourites; beef carpaccio. It has simple and refreshing flavors with the addition of rucola, olive, nuts, lemon & parmesan. My taste buds were happy.
The joy continued with Kinilaw, a Filipino-inspired ceviche made with cured fish crudo, ginger, tomato, red onion, and chili. I felt lucky because this was the first time I’d tried a Kinilaw, and this was a gourmet version. It tasted much better than I expected, both mild and flavourful. I was ready to go ahead with the main courses.
First of the mains was white snapper en papillote with rica-rica spice and a basmati fried rice in a portion I would consider huge for such an occasion. I finished the fried rice and was convinced that the combination with silky-smooth fish fillet was a perfect match.
Despite the generous portion, there was still one more main to come; a steak. A charred black angus stockyard sirloin was served with mixed mushrooms, bearnaise, chimichurri, and cassava fries. It was a delicious addition to this unforgettable Sunday lunch.
Unbelievably I still had room for dessert and truthfully, I could not imagine skipping dessert after enjoying the savory dishes which were surprisingly large portions. First up was a black forest gateau that was made with Guanaja chocolate before we finished with petit fours, consisting of tiny bites of pina colada, strawberry cheesecake, and gourmet “Snickers”. As someone who’d grab a Snickers bar after a meal, I thought the “Snickers” that they made was God-sent, a perfect closure to the memorable culinary experience.
The Aperitif Sunday lunch was the perfect escape from a hectic week and my normally strict diet. I was delighted by how the menu was crafted with such passion and gracefulness. Everything was prepared to ensure an extravagant gastronomic experience served gracefully at the table. The Sunday lunch is perfect for those who seek a Sunday indulgence where the blissful and relaxing Ubud ambience meets lip-smacking dishes. My bucket list is not complete yet but I am very glad I ticked this box, it lived up to all my expectations.