Flying to Bali to takeover the kitchen at W Bali – Seminyak’s beachside Starfish Bloo… it’s a tough job, but someone’s gotta do it. So, we sent chef Darren Robertson over to plate up a Ducks-style menu of locally-sourced seafood, including Pacific Coast oysters, Indonesian swordfish and lobster. He’s definitely had worse days in the office.
Creating banging Three Blue Ducks dishes with delicious local produce, Darren had fun with local lobster, charred greens and XO butter, raw swordfish, buttermilk, ginger and herb oil, freshly shucked oysters, plus local fruits and vegetables like snake fruit, Jack fruits, leafy greens and loads of citrus.
His first stop on the trip? A visit to the Jimbaran fish market to pick up some seafood for the BBQ. “We picked fresh Mahi Mahi, octopus and mackerel, all bought in that morning,” explains Daz. “A highlight for me was all the clams. We got to cook with green clams, Dara clams and these incredible little bamboo clams. The bamboo clams take about 10 seconds to cook, just in a little oil with chilli lemon and garlic – they were really delicate, sweet and juicy. Wish I could’ve bought a few back, but customs get a bit funny about that sort of thing.”
When he wasn’t cooking, surfing or hanging with the fam (including his partner Magdalena Roze and two adorable boys Archie and Charlie), here’s what Daz loved eating while he was in Indo…
Darren’s top three meals in Bali…
1. “We had a cracking dinner at Sarong. I haven’t seen Will Meyrick for many years – his food is always so tasty and I recon better than it’s ever been. Seriously, we didn’t have a dud dish. I’d say go for everything, definitely the pork belly with Sichuan chilli, Amarillo and tamarind sauce is so good. Oh, and the slow braised masala with hopper and bone marrow. Will was there the night we ate, and he hasn’t aged a day. Legend!”
2. “I’m not sure what the place is called but it’s arguably the best view in Indonesia, and it’s Archie’s favourite cafe. He appropriately named it ‘the coconut cafe’. It’s the cafe just left of the cave paddle out at Uluwatu. You have to walk down about 1000 steps to get there, which is awesome for small kids. They serve freshly cut coconuts and arguably the best best banana pancakes you’ll ever eat – especially after a pretty sketchy climb down with a heavy toddler on your shoulders.”
3. “Crispy duck at Warung Bejana. We had dinner there on our last night – it’s very simple little restaurant serving local food. The duck is the go-to dish, spiced and fried. It’s everything it should be, crispy and delicious, served with rice and citrus and Sambal. With a cold beer after a day entertaining the kids and even a brief surf, it’s pretty hard to beat.”
Photos courtesy of Jarrad Seng.