i Bale Sutra had a facelift upwards and opens a terrace dining area with the stunning sea view of Batu Bolong Beach
It’s just a smart decision: when you have a property around but not that close to the beach, give them a panoramic bird eye view instead. After several months of renovating, Tugu Hotel Bali’s signature oriental gastro bar, Ji Bale Sutra now has an upper floor (or should we say, upper deck?) Dubbed as Ji Terrace by the Sea, the new expansion marks Ji’s venture into serious all-Asian cuisine. Obviously, God (or in Tugu’s trademark fascination for antiquities) is in the details – with Japanese, Indian, Cambodian, Tibet and Indonesian ornaments beautifully scattered here and there. That said view on the other hand, takes less than a second to glance but much more to absorb – making this a new favourite for sunset cocktails, should you prefer a more somber atmosphere than all that Batu Bolong commotion below.
Now let’s talk about the menu. Led by globetrottering experienced Chef Colin Buchan (formerly with Gordon Ramsay in London and Pollen in Singapore) Japanese cuisine makes the thin red line, but with many influences of other nations in Asia such as India and Thailand. We tried several of their bests from start to finish, beginning with crispy arancini balls (it has bacon bits inside!), which tasted as scrumptious as it sounds. The yellowfin tuna tataki was also a personal facourite of ours – with splashes of ginger, garlic and shoyu, it’s several flavours melting into one gracious bite.
Coming into our mains, we ordered duck breast and Japanese mushrooms salad for the greens, while also having the sticky Asian chicken and rice and udon and prawn tempura for some heavier challenge. Of course, we can’t miss their brilliant sushi rolls as well, which we preferred the house specials Ji Rainbow and Tugu California. It’s admirable how diverse the selections are, but still carrying a similar soul. For our finale, we opted the refreshing lemon pannacotta and the decadent green tea cheesecake – then another space reserved for the melted chocolate ball, just because we love our climax to be thrilling.
As the sun begins to at the corner of our eyes, we moved from the dining table to the counter seating facing the ocean and ordered several of their best cocktails. Let’s just say, we had enough to not remember their names, but made this late-late lunch very-very pleasurable.