Blossom Restaurant Bali: Defining Global
Published 01 February 2009
Text by Sarah D
Chris Patzold is not keen on labels. The Executive Chef at Sentosa Villa’s signature restaurant, Blossom, has recently introduced a new menu to the resort, which shakes off the old Thai tag and offers a broader range of tastes.
The refined dining room at Blossom was enjoyed by enthusiastic crowds when Sentosa Private Villas first opened in Petitenget; the vast bar, pool deck with waterfall and the smoky mirror-lined dining room were chic, new and full of diners who raved about the restaurant.
One and half years ago, the restaurant and villas set off in a new direction from management, and Chris came on board as Executive Chef. He first came to Bali to open KuDeTa, before opening his own restaurant, Axiom, in Seminyak. This was followed by a stint as opening chef at the Canggu Club, before settling into this position, which appears to be another very successful transition.
Change came slowly to Sentosa, with many diners still showing up for the excellent Thai food and Chris claims it has taken him this long to put his own stylish stamp on the menu. However, change has come.
“I’m not doing anything really differently to what I would do if I were working anywhere else, except that this being Asia, most of my ingredients are sourced in Asia and Asian flavours are therefore still relevant on this menu. However, I have now also expanded the menu to encompass more global tastes,” he explains. Like most successful changes, this one has been a slow and thoughtful progression. The night we arrived at Sentosa was a tricky one for the kitchen, as this was the first time the complete new menu was being introduced.
A clear Saturday night brought out a good crowd of diners and put the kitchen through their hoops. At that point the plan was to offer two menus side by side, The Asian and The Global. Two degustation menus, featuring selections from each, were available and my dinner partner and I luckily fell across the two camps, her preference being for Asian, mine for the alternative. Degustation menus are an investment, featuring a lot of small courses. On this first night out there were some wonderful taste sensations and the overall experience was one of restrained luxury, as Chris is careful that Blossom is not priced beyond the comfortable budget of most diners.
The two distinct menus suited us well, however a few days later Chris further simplified his menu, based on the feedback he had received. There is now one degustation menu that combines the best of both previous menus. The a la carte menu has also been combined and currently features firm favourites and a few of the Australian chef ’s signature recipes.
“I don’t set out to do anything really different, I have kept some of the Thai favourites that defined the Blossom experience initially, but I have changed them a little, according to my own style,” continues Chris.
The seared scallop starter with crispy duck was on the original menu, created by Chef Will Merryck, and is still there and just as fabulous. The incredibly popular Pork hock with sticky tamarind tamarillo sauce is also still on the menu but with the addition of pork belly, adding a softer texture to the dish.
There are a few more Thai dishes but also new Asian items such as Chinese style Roasted Duck, which was one of the highlights of our dinner. A Yellow Lamb Shank curry suggests an Indonesian influence. Oysters can be ordered with Japanese flavours; tempura with salmon eggs, or with the typically Thai nahn jim, fashioned as a classic sorbet.
Flavours and styles swim together on this menu now, creating a more cohesive and decidedly modern selection. The starter menu is particularly appealing with offerings such as duck lasagne with beetroot jelly, seared foie gras with a sugar crust, suckling pig tortellini and a black pepper wagyu beef salad, all priced below Rp100,000.
For Rp 70,000 those that can’t decide can still jump the Asian or the global divide with a choice of two tasting menus, called the Tasting Plate, each featuring three selections. Super good value.
However, back to the degustation, which allowed us to try so many of the a la carte dishes, albeit smaller serves, but still more than enough to chew over. Dishes include the main course of Wagyu fillet, a tender, delicate portion of the famous beef adorned simply with black truffle and parmesan butter, an oyster starter alive with fresh flavours, a single suckling pig tortellini with a meaty reduction sauce, and the wonderfully tender Chinese duck were all thoughfully prepared and lay the basis for a fairly meaty menu.
However, dishes can be adapted for vegetarians and there is a good level of flexibility in the entire menu. Some diners expect large portions and can therefore request them, while the degustion menu is excellent for both bigger appetites and those that want to try various things.
“I tend towards smaller portions and for the degustation, I weigh everything in, knowing what most diners are capable of getting through in an evening. We calculate about 400-500 grams per person. Particularly in the case of the expanded menu, I believe smaller portions are more attractive. You always need to work with your market though, and satisfy their demands,” is Chris’ philosophy.
After one and half years at Blossom, it is clear that the chef has done his homework, and nothing has changed too quickly or dramatically. Gradual improvement has resulted in a further upgrade and the result is a rich experience that melts in the mouth and in the mind.
SENTOSA VILLAS AND SPA
Jl. Pura Telaga Waja, Petitenget, Seminyak,
T: +62 361 730 333