- Swept Away, The Samaya Bali, Jl. Laksmana, Seminyak Beach, Bali ubud.thesamayabali.com
“Right this way please.” “Oh I just want to see,” I try to explain. “No eat.” I follow her from the luscious spa toward the restaurant.
A sign greets me: “Swept Away.” I’m curious. I wonder if the food lives up to its name?
It’s still early and I’m the first to arrive. The place is humble, a mere 10 tables fills the dining floor. Mare greets me with open arms. “Fine, just one drink. But, I have a dinner to go to in an hour!” After I order a Lychee Martini, I stroll the property, home to Bali’s famous Ayung river. Just a five meter walk and I’m on its bank, a jungle oasis. When a torrential downpour begins, I look for shelter. Mare, my waiter, is running toward me with an umbrella. “Sir Alec,” he yells. I run toward safety.
When I return, fresh bread awaits. “Today’s flavor is rosemary,” Mare tells me. “We change it everyday.
It is also served with our home made butter, made with mushroom truffles and fruit.” I’m intrigued.
I deviate from my normal habits and swirl some on the bread. Delicious. Rich and tart delicacy meet the fresh rosemary and I’m in heaven.
An unexpected fresh watermelon cube topped with cream cheese, compliments of the chef. An odd pairing to a foreign mind, but fish with lemon is only accepted because it’s excellent.
This is no different. It teases my palate on the way down. I’m ready for the reason I came.
“I’m here for your Duck,” I tell Mare, signaling for another cocktail. (I admit, it might not have been justified. I did it mostly for the lychee that came inside – the rush of biting into it exploding with vodka, toppled with the fact that wine is nearly impossible to find in Bali). “Well you came to the right place,” Mare answered. “It’s typical Balinese food. Very good here.”
He returns minutes later with two plates. The Fois Grois is the best I’ve ever had. In the past, I had struggled to eat this specialty, my mind’s knowledge of its origin trumping my enjoyment of the taste. Not here. To be fair, I sympathized with the poor duck, but his suffering seemed more just. The liver is not too creamy and when served on a crispy breadstick on a bed of sour apple sauce puree, the trifecta of flavors is too much to handle. It’s gone before I can feel remorse.
The Crispy Duck Breast is a grave understatement and looks more like the entire animal.
Served with coconut rice, the bird is so good I don’t even bother with the sauces. One cannot fix perfection. It’s a bit sweet, which I like, and doused in spices, which sets my mouth ablaze. Nothing that some rice can’t fix.
There’s only one problem. The staff is too helpful and seated alone, I’m getting all the attention. Thus, I cannot pick at the skin with my fingers! Finally my moment arrives. When nobody is looking, I pry the chicken from the bone and lick my fingers before they return! I feel like a kid eating KFC, only better. Mmmmm.
“Do you want dessert?” Mare asks when I’m finished. The banana soufflé and carrot cake with lemon grass ice cream are tempting. “I can’t,” I sigh. “I still haven’t eaten dinner.”
Before I can pay the bill, a golf cart with a driver is waiting to take me back to the lobby. As I buckle in, I pass the sign that mocks me. Swept Away, Indeed.
It would have been better if… I had had time to eat dessert!