Latin Lotharios

Google+ Pinterest LinkedIn Tumblr +

Combining bold Latin flavours with European and Asian flair, Santanera brings a burst of flavour to Bali’s dynamic dining scene.

Whether you’re a regular visitor or a Bali newbie, most travellers know that when it comes to the island’s best dining experiences, the oh-so-cool coastal enclave of Canggu is where it’s at.

The once sleepy village is a vibrant kaleidoscope of culinary concepts, among the newest of which is Santanera, an elegant venue helmed by Colombian natives Andres Becerra and German Rincon, who tap into their extensive personal experience as well as their homeland’s gastronomic traditions and add touches of local flavour to create refined farm-to-table tapas. Whether you’ve worked up an appetite or are just passing for a sunset libation, Santanera should be on your list.

READ: New Look for Happy Valley Classic

The two-level, glass-encased restaurant is a symphony of influences and inspirations. Touches of rattan, leather, polished timber, and wrought iron, aided by towering picture windows that dissolve the lines between inside and out, create an ambience akin to an elegant French boudoir.

Combining Latin flavours with European and Asian flair, Santanera brings a burst of flavour to Bali's dynamic dining scene.

The effect is especially enchanting at night when Persian-styled pendant lamps illuminate intimate tables and when revellers can farewell the last of the daylight from the lush rooftop. It’s the perfect canvas against which Becerra and Rincon weave their culinary magic, reinterpreting classic Latin leanings with locally sourced ingredients and inspiration.

READ: Your New Bali Hideaway

By the time we arrived at the restaurant on a weekday evening, many of the 140 seats were taken and the venue was a hive of activity, with waiters smoothing gliding between tables and past eye-catching pieces by artists Due Hatue. It’s a fitting ambience for a restaurant that takes its name from the saint of the gipsies, and which references the joy, not only of eating and drinking but of coming together as a community to do so.

Combining Latin flavours with European and Asian flair, Santanera brings a burst of flavour to Bali's dynamic dining scene.

We commence dinner with a round of superbly made martinis care of Santanera’s bar manager, Gabriel Steinberger, although cocktail lovers will also find some great innovations on the restaurant’s menu, including Picante 37, with tequila reposado, triple sec, spicy tamarillo and jalapeno purée, and lime; and Ambrosia, with dry gin, absinthe liqueur, sour passion fruit, sage, lemon, and royal honey water (it’s their best seller).

READ: 5 Male Sex Toys for Summer

We matched the drinks with the first course, Mahi Mahi Tarama with island organic crudities and woodfired cassava bread. This silky, elegant dish (above) has just enough fishy umami to balance out the creaminess, and the texture of the tarama is juxtaposed with fresh, crunchy organic vegetables.

Combining Latin flavours with European and Asian flair, Santanera brings a burst of flavour to Bali's dynamic dining scene.

This was quickly followed by Seabass Tiradito with passion fruit, quinoa, and finger lime in a dish that was again infinitely elegant and a true homeland homage, the fish fresh and firm, the fruit adding sweetness and acidity. Blue swimming crab with brown and white rice and a rich yet bright seafood broth is another triumph, at the same time hearty and light.

READ: Jakarta’s Sexiest House of Slumber

Other Santanera crowd pleasers include ‘Lomo al trapo’, a beef tenderloin that’s rolled in rock salt and wrapped a piece of cloth soaked in beer before being placed directly on the burning coals; Punta de Anca, char-grilled O’Connors Black Angus with fresh horseradish and pickled zucchini; and dry-aged duck, a Bali staple, that’s served with charred kale and caramelized yoghurt.

Combining Latin flavours with European and Asian flair, Santanera brings a burst of flavour to Bali's dynamic dining scene.

We finish with Mille Feuille with dulche de leche ice cream, lemon curd, and salted-caramelized hazelnuts, although Santanera’s signature strawberry and white chocolate granita, a rift on the classic Colombian street snack fresas con crema, is also to die for and features compressed watermelon, white chocolate ganache, strawberry granita, and milk sorbet.

Santanera is a true passion project; a restaurant that tells the story of ingredients and how they travel, of traditions and heritage, and of innovation that stays true. Combined with crisp, friendly service and a sensational drinks list, Becerra and Rincon’s cuisine is some of the best on the island.

For more Wining & Dining inspiration click here.

LIKE WHAT YOU SEE? FOLLOW ALPHA MEN ASIA ON FACEBOOK, OR INSTAGRAM AND SUBSCRIBE TO OUR HONG KONG-CENTRIC NEWSLETTER HERE

Share.

About Author

Alpha Men Asia is the region's ultimate destination for today's modern gentlemen, covering everything from travel and style, to grooming, fashion, dating, wines and spirits, and the movers and shakers defining our scene.

Comments are closed.