Rumari, Raffles Bali
Words: Kirsten Durward
Photos: Monica Tindall
With spectacular views across the lush tropical jungle to Jimbaran Bay, Rumari is perfectly positioned for panoramic fine dining. Set atop the exclusive 23-hectare property of Raffles Bali, accessed through not one but two tree-lined driveways, an ever-increasing sense of privacy pervades. The location resounds with the luxury of space, quietly connecting with nature elegantly and timelessly.
The ethos of Rumari is embedded in the name, ‘The house of the sun and full moon.’ An amalgamation of three beautiful Indonesian words. Ruma, meaning home, embraces the hospitality and care expressed in the space. Matahari, the sun and Purnama, the moon, can both be viewed in the sky from Rumari’s unique locale.
Purnama also has an additional meaning of ‘complete, infinite and perfect,’ which, as you will read, is the exact expression of our delightful evening at Rumari.
Rumari at Raffles Bali
Chef Gaetan Biesuz and his team at Rumari offer a fine dining experience in nature’s simplicity, embracing sustainable principles. The menu showcases the best of seasonal local ingredients inspired by local traditions, playfully presented with clean, light flavours. Each dish is named for a particular area and creatively interprets progressive South East Asian cuisine in clever and unexpected ways.
The Writers Bar
The perfect time to arrive at The Writers Bar is just before sunset. Take your pre-dinner cocktail, as we did in this expansive colonial-style bar with attentive bartender Jack. As the Singapore Sling is the signature drink of the original Raffles, here, it is our duty to taste its Balinese cousin, the Bali Sling.
Gin infused with blue pea flower, arak Bali, Dom Benedictine, lemongrass syrup, lemon juice, Angostura, tangerine, jackfruit, sour soup and Grenadine combine to make a memorable drink. After sipping it against the backdrop of the Jimbaran jungle, the first pink and purple streaks of the sinking sun threading the sky, we both agree we prefer the Bali Sling to the Singapore original.
Moving to the dining area, where the sky begins to effuse with colour, we continue sipping with the colourful pomegranate Bedugul Berries. This signature mocktail blends blueberry and raspberry puree with ginger flower.
Fine Dining Bali
We begin our fine dining experience at Rumari with a traditional ritual, Mewacik, involving water infused with frangipani and rosemary. The fragrant water is refreshing, and we are now ready to start.
A mysterious round black pot is offered and, on opening, reveals… green bread. This is house-made sourdough baked with ketuk leaf and basil. With a dollop of tomato sambal enlivened herbal undertones and a little lime leaf, this awakens our taste buds.
The originality of the Rumari dining experience is introduced with the amuse bouches. First comes the ‘cornfle’, an Indonesian twist on a corn fritter/waffle marriage. A soft and light morsel complemented by sambal and corn caviar, this is a soft and light morsel. Next, we taste rojak lobster, a blend of young mango, star fruit and vegetables on a rice cracker topped with a sliver of lobster. It’s sweet, sour, crispy, and crunchy, with a tamarind zap to finish.
A spectacular show with a smoky impression brings us an interpretation of fish Satay Lilet. The smoke imitates the scent of the Jimbaran beach grill, and the mini fish cake on red rice cracker is perfectly accompanied by Sambal Matah, a little fresh lemon grass and ginger flower salad. Finished with torched ginger and a touch of tamarind gel, this mouthful sings with aroma and taste.
Our menu features a bespoke combination of the Rumari Unearthing menu and the Green menu to accommodate our vegetarian and pescatarian preferences.
A pristine and delicate portion of ahi tuna dusted with coconut husk and dukkah spice carries a little crunchy sweetness. Plaga kohlrabi texture and ginger flower counterpointed with a salty pop of Jual Baeri caviar, poured directly from a conch shell bears the sense of the sea. Natural seasoning from fish egg emulsification blended with fresh local herbs and citrus creates an elegant taste sensation to bring the dish together as a whole.
In this Balinese vegan delight, organic serombotan, a traditional vegetable mixture, lies in a spicy coconut milk kalas sauce. Bitter gourd, beans and papaya are the basis of the mix, presented in a slender, firm casing. The smokiness of turmeric and the scattering of dried spice tickle the tastebuds at the back of the throat.
Inspired by the Kedoganan fish market in Jimbaran, an earthy sea creature lies atop a silver sliver of soft organic eggplant. Lightly charred and cooked to succulence, octopus pieces are enhanced with traditional Balinese seasoning, tomato and eggplant purees, and delicate garlic crumble.
Rumari, Raffles Bali – Wanagiri Hills
Smooth baked organic pumpkin embellished with stingless bee honey and a nut and seed crust forms the central element of this dish. Bold cardamon-flavoured red cabbage brings contrast, while roasted cashew cream puree winds through crunchy chayote balls building texture and taste. The warm vinaigrette completes the recipe with a nutty acidity.
The star of this dish is the delicate aromatic broth enveloping a tender baby red snapper fillet on a bed of steamed water spinach. The light, subtle yet clear flavours are perfectly balanced to enhance all the complex components of the dish, the creaminess of the snapper, a light turmeric spice, a bite of charred leek and a snap of grilled corn and an uplifting bitter charge from belimbing wuluh (a close relative of carambola) shavings.
As we muse over the flavour and texture combinations, we appreciate the clever menu construction where the palate is challenged with increased layering as the dining experience unfolds.
We’re told Mengwi Orchard is all about the honey, stingless bee honey created by the smallest bee in the world. This artfully presented dish embraces a layering of textures from the frozen baked yoghurt base lending a curdy balance, to the creaminess of the honey ice cream, the sweetness of the honey caramel and the crunch of the honeycomb tuile and topped off by perfect dots of the slightly sour stingless bee honey itself.
Mount Batur Forest
Inspired by the distinctive slopes of Mount Batur visible across the forest and the sea, this innovative dessert is mesmerising in both presentation and taste. Chef Gaetan personally pours the ‘snow’ atop our ‘mountains,’ joking that this is to tame the spice.
On the first spoon through the chocolate casing, the velvety mousse offers unique and subtle warm spice flavours that give the sense of a mellow spiritual hug. The passion fruit snow melting gently into the earthy tones gives a contrasting zesty zing which enlightens the whole taste experience.
A box of secrets unfolds to end our exquisite meal. As each drawer is opened, another delight is revealed. Pairs of perfectly crafted tiny cakes and hand made chocolates are offered to us and what can we do but try each one? Pisang kopi chocolate combines the three earthy flavours of banana, coffee and chocolate. Buah nangka macaroon features ripe sweet jackfruit in crispy macaroon. A tiny, soft, sweet caramel ball cake that floats in the mouth is kue sarang semut. Singkong tape or fermented cassava offers contrast with sweet, sour, yeasty and slightly tangy notes while organic berries bonbon are a pop of colour on the tongue.
Fine Dining at Rumari
Rumari offers four unique dining experiences:
Journey (9 courses)
Unearthing (7 courses)
Discovery (5 courses)
The Green menu for vegans can be ordered one day in advance to ensure fresh produce and dietary requests can be accommodated. Menus change every four months in response to seasonal shifts and ingredient availability.
Chef Gaetan speaks of an indefinite limit of potential and combinations, using the best local produce in an increasingly sustainable approach to fine dining. After our sublime experience, we can only conclude that the team at Rumari deliver what they promise. The clue is hidden in one of the words that combine to make the name: Punarmi: ‘complete, infinite and perfect.’
Reasons to visit Rumari: Pristine nature environment with spectacular vistas, impressively layered original progressive South East Asian menu, sustainable approach to fine dining, superb table-side service.
Rumari Restaurant at Raffles Bali
Jalan Karang Mas Sejahtera 1A
Jimbaran, Bali 80361, Indonesia
+62 31201 5800
Rumari Opening Hours
Monday to Saturday: 6:00 pm – 10:00 pm
Dress Code: Casual Chic
Gentlemen are encouraged to wear collared shirts and trousers with appropriate footwear and dress shorts during dinner. Ladies may be dressed in dresses, skirts or trousers with appropriate footwear. Slip-ons and flip-flops are not permitted.