When you’re spoilt with all the trappings of a luxury stay, you enter a dangerously complacent state where you expect the best of everything, especially when it comes to dining. Luckily, Bali’s Amankila Resort meets and exceeds these expectations, thanks to the creative genius of executive chef Shane Lewis.
Lewis never over-complicates food, choosing instead to focus on cooking methods that extract maximum flavour while treating local produce with the respect it deserves. Traditional Balinese-style cooking styles (slow cooking, cold smoking and coconut-husk grilling) have been introduced by Lewis, with an emphasis on fresh-picked herbs and local produce (organic where possible) being the ‘stars of the plate’.
In Jasari, the local village 15 minutes away, you will find a free-range duck farm where ducks are fed fresh maize and green waste from the resort’s kitchen. The ducks roam in the rice terrace during the day and are herded back to the ponds at night and during feeding time. In Kusamba, just 10 minutes away, the natural sea salt is made on the beach in vats and dried in bamboo.
Amankila has its own berry farm located on Mount Agung (the highest point in Bali), where it grows figs, blueberries, raspberries, mulberries, blackberries and strawberries.
Meanwhile, Lewis is currently upgrading the herb garden at Amankila. Basil, mint, coriander, chilli, Balinese lime, kaffir lime, thyme, rosemary, tarragon, Chinese kale and wheatgrass are all grown here. Also on site is a cold smokehouse, where Lewis and his team smoke salmon, tuna, suckling pig for the Bubi Guling, a remarkable crisp dish served with Balinese sambal, and various products that feature in the resort’s delectable specials.
Amankila’s incredible dining experiences include private dinner on the beach, candle-lit poolside bale dinner, satay evening in a local village 15 minutes away and Amankila’s candle-lit bale set high on the hills.
My breakfast favourites include:
Middle Eastern Breakfast (labneh, zaatar, cucumber, mint, tomatoes & char-grilled sourdough)
Mexican Eggs (grilled tortilla, fried eggs, guacamole, tomato salsa, corn salsa, sour cream and jalapeno)
Moroccan Doughnuts (fried beignets with spiced custard and espresso cream)
My dinner favourites include:
Babi Guling (crisp roasted suckling pig with Balinese sambal – one of the best I’ve had)
Kuah Bayam Tomat (tomato soup with spinach and coconut cream – I don’t normally eat tomato soup, so that’s how good this is!)
Udang Bakar (char-grilled giant prawns with chilli, garlic and Balinese lime)
Otak Otak Udang (minced prawn grilled in banana leaf with Balinese spice)
I’m salivating just thinking about it.
I took time out with Amankila Resort’s executive chef Shane Lewis to ask him a few questions about his personal favourites. Here are his thoughts:
A hard pick but I do enjoy the Western confit suckling pig with sweet corn puree, shaved fresh fennel and pear and natural jus.
I love so many but Japanese has always been my favourite to eat.
Favourite food destination?
Melbourne and Tasmania. Melbourne now has one of the best food scenes and so many different cultures, while Tasmania has fantastic produce and covers so much.
Favourite travel destination?
South-east Asia. For a Westerner, it’s the culture and street food that are so different and diverse in south-east Asia and now it’s so easy to travel from country to country I find this cuisine hard to beat.
Most popular dish at Amankila?
Udang Kelapa – roasted giant prawns with turmeric and coconut paste, with fresh cucumber, lime and coconut salad. Our fresh baby barramundi is also very popular and our fresh seafood market is a big hit where guests can tailor-make their cooking style and pick their choice of sauce and side dish from the menu.
I never travel without …
My Lonely Planet guide book.
For more details on my stay at Amankila, please visit here