|Rafael Nardo, Restaurant Manager, Salt Tapas and Bar|
Earlier in the year The Yum List spent a wonderful 10 days in Bali. One of our favourite food and beverage experiences was at Salt tapas and bar. Here restaurant manager Rafael Nardo, shares with us some of his stories from behind the scenes.
What do you do and how did you get into the industry?
I am the restaurant manager at Salt tapas Bali at Peppers Sentosa Seminyak. I used to love to discover new places to eat and drink in my home town, Sao Paulo back in Brazil. I guess that’s one of the most exciting things to do when you are living in a big city as everyday a new place pops up. So after a while I started looking at the venues with a different angle and appreciating just sitting there and watching the service, soon I decided to go to University to study Hotel Management and that was when everything started.
Share with us an interesting story from behind the scenes.
Being behind the scenes is actually what we are all about. We work hard long shifts preparing the restaurant, polishing glasses, stocking beverages and food, taking care of uniforms, managing bookings etc, just for a couple of hours of service when everything needs to be spot on and, then we start all over again. Behind the scenes is actually my everyday job. I try to convince our floor staff that a good set up means a fun service.
What’s the best / worst part of your job?
Definitely the people that we serve make our job exciting. I love the fact that at work I’m 100% in contact with people, from suppliers to guests. Also being a bit patient helps with the moods specially dealing with a moody chef (ha ha ha).
What’s your personal favorite meal at Salt tapas?
I have two favorites at the moment. Definitely the lamb cutlets, with ras el hanout, baba ganoush, pistachio tabouleh and saffron yoghurt, is one of the most beautiful lamb dishes I’ve ever had. Recently Chef came up with a few ideas for the lunch menu thinking about those guests that don’t want to share or just want to have something quick and go – the result was this amazing beef burger, cumin caramelized onions, pickles and beetroot. Now I just can’t get enough of it.
Tell us a story about one of the cocktails you prepare.
We have a great cocktail list here at Salt tapas designed by Michael Callahan, one of the top mixologists in the world and by far the most passionate guy I’ve met behind the bar. We take our cocktails here pretty seriously, using premium spirits, housemaid syrups and purees. The boys behind the bar love infusing local flavors and putting together drops like the Knackered Knees. Housemaid Mangosteen gin, Balinese honey and lemon with just a hint of fresh raspberry keep guests coming back for it. Even if they are not dinning with us they sometimes stop over for a cocktail before dining elsewhere.
What’s one of the scariest things you’ve seen behind the scenes?
When I used to work behind the bar in this night club in London we had to evacuate thousands of guests because of a car bomb parked at the front. Luckily the bomb didn’t go off. I would hate to think what might have happened. It was one of the busiest clubs on the West End with different levels, bars and a restaurant. The place was packed and we did a great job guiding everyone out, but to be honest, I was scared stiff.
The perfect day off would be… going to Brazil to have lunch at my mum’s house, having a beer with my mates and be back on time for an afternoon surf session in Bali. I know I’m dreamer.
A life in the day of a restaurateur is… urgency. Service requires a lot of last minute decision.
What do you do for fun?
I have two dogs, Sally and Finn. I just love to spend time with them. Also surfing is part of my life here in Bali. I don’t think I would last very long here without it.
What’s something you’d like guests to know about the cuisine prepared at Salt tapas?
Our food at Salt tapas is designed to share. We have signatures dishes that you can find in every restaurant of our Celebrity chef Luke Mangan such Salt Grill in Singapore or at Glass at the Hilton in Sydney. We have influences from the Mediterranean, Middle East and use local traditional spices in our dishes. We celebrate great food in a very casual and simple way.
What’s your view on the Bali restaurant scene?
Bali has so many new places to go serving great food and drinks at the moment, from beach clubs to modern local restaurants. It is changing really fast. We will see a lot more great chefs and restaurateurs coming to Bali in the next couple of years and that will take the industry on the island to another level. Soon well established restaurants will become part of an old school Bali scene and more modern vibrant venues will open up offering a better level of service and dinning experience.
What can guests look forward to in the upcoming months?
We are really looking forward for the next few months when Bali will be pretty busy and our guests will have a chance to try some of our new dishes and the program we created for the season with cooking classes, dj sessions by the pool on Saturdays, our BYO nights and the Sunday Family Lunch with kids program and special menus.