Enjoying what is perhaps the perfect spot to watch the setting sun, Akasa treats the sky and sea like a stage, providing premium box seats to the island’s most popular show. Complimenting the fiery sunset views is a menu of flame-grilled delights, which together make this cliffside restaurant and bar a destination worth visiting.
Set above the famous Dreamland Beach of Uluwatu, Akasa perches at the highest point of Jumeirah Bali as its crown jewel, overlooking the royal water garden-inspired resort. The open balcony seating has become a favourite come sundown, with intimate spots by the restaurant’s edge making for the ultimate viewpoint. As the sun slowly sets and the evening sky darkens, dramatic fires light up the central lounge areas, creating a warm and sultry atmosphere.
The element of fire is clearly a focus at Akasa. Inside, the centrepiece of the open kitchen is the wood-fired grill, which Chef de Cuisine Joan Achour uses to her advantage, extracting and adding flavour to the premium seafood and prime cuts found on her menu.
Before dining, however, a pre-dinner cocktail is in order. The bar’s signature menu is inspired by Pararaton, a 16th-century chronicle of past Javanese royalty from the Singhasari and Majapahit era, i.e. The Book of Kings. The menu pays homage to the stories, characters and spices of the period.‘The Palapa Oath’, for example, is an ode to the promise that General Gajah Mada made not to eat spice until Nusantara (the archipelago) was united, it features East Indies Gin, timut pepper, makrut leaf, dry sherry whites and bubbles. ‘The First King’, another refreshing drink, is made from papaya-infused Blanco tequila, pineapple, peach citrus and cinnamon.
After a tipple, it’s time to explore the wide-ranging menu, featuring a range of Crudo, Sharing, Robata, From the Sea and From the Earth Flame-Grill options. Throughout, Chef Joan infuses Asian influences into chosen dishes, resulting in complex, flavourful creations.
Starting with the Crudo menu, the new Lobster Carpaccio is a delicate preparation of cooked lobster, with light touches of citrus marinade, yuzu gel and radish pickles to add a soft zest. The Furikake Foie Gras is a favourite starter, a generous portion of seared foie gras is given a Japanese touch with a dashi broth and nori tempura for an extra textured bite. Presented as an exquisite bouquet of colour, the Yukari Alaskan King Crab is like an elevated prawn cocktail experience: neatly sliced avocado, mango, lettuce and tomato swirled with meaty helpings of fresh king crab, plus a dressing of spicy mayo.
When it comes to the mains, expect to share the generous bites. A must-try is the Banana Leaf Seabass, a modern take on an Indonesian method with a whole fish wrapped in banana leaf and grilled, soaking the essence of its flavourful blanket, strong and aromatic. Those who like a rich dish should order the Wagyu Bone Marrow, a stunningly presented helping of Thai-styled wagyu beef tartare served atop bone, the flame grill bringing out an irresistible creamy and buttery umami in the central marrow. A real premium option is the Truffle Tenderloin, wagyu MB 9 with golden pear pickles, truffle sauce and sprinklings of katsuobushi.
Then cleanse the palate with something sweet, and the dessert menu does not disappoint. Jeruk Kintamani presents a medley of tangerine compote with mascarpone lime cream and lemon mint sorbet, light, citrusy and fresh to the touch. However, the constant crowd pleaser is the Chocolate Sphere, a highly indulgent melting of chocolate strusel, thick ganache, raspberry compote, and raspberry lime sorbet, a superb and thick mess of berries and choc that will have you licking the plate clean.