Authentic Japanese on The Paradisal Grounds of Grand Nikko Bali



As one of the grandest resorts built by a hotel group founded in Japan, one would expect the Japanese restaurant at the Grand Nikko Bali to be something special. Benkay doesn’t just meet those expectations but exceeds them, offering up both authentic and innovative Japanese cuisine set in a restaurant that feels traditional yet sophisticated. The smell of fresh meat cooking on the iron grill greets you when you open the door, together with a welcoming smile from authentically-dressed staff and a glimpse of chefs performing acrobatic culinary feats in the open kitchen.

On our visit, we chose to sit at the Teppanyaki Counter, enticed by the culinary maestros flipping succulent steaks on the iron grill, spinning eggs and creating giant fires in the form of crêpes flambé. And of course, the stylish little aprons given to each teppanyaki diner is another reason to sit at this interactive counter. As part of the teppanyaki offerings, guests can choose from one of three set-course menus: the lobster “kutani,” seafood “arita” or the wagyu “kiyomizu.”

For each of the set menus, the culinary performance begins with a selection of three delicacies. On this particular evening, we were treated to very meaty chunks of dried tuna, glazed slices of unagi and soft cream cheese encased in a crispy parcel, like a spring roll. Then there was the colourful spread of masterfully prepared sushi and sashimi, including buttery smooth toro, an uber fresh slice of salmon and nigiri sushi topped with sweet shrimp. Each slice and every morsel is created with military precision, and the quality of the fish is superb.  The next course of mixed vegetables, locally sourced from the highlands of Bedugul then drizzled in a piquant ginger dressing, refreshes the palate. This light dish is a great way to prepare for the main courses that follow.

The wagyu set menu featured a garlicky tenderloin steak, grilled to preferred perfection then meticulously chopped into juicy little cubes. Ask for the fatty parts of the meat to be cooked extra crispy, then mix with the freshly fried garlic – we had to pinch ourselves to make sure we hadn’t died and gone to heaven.

For the seafood main course, 240 grams of Indonesian tiger prawns sizzle and spit on the scorching grill, while three succulent scallops are seared alongside a light-pink salmon steak. The chef surprised us by snapping the legs off of the prawns and frazzling them with butter. They are as addictive as fries and moreishly crunchy, leaving a delicious taste of the ocean that lingers for just the right amount of time after each bite.

The mains are followed with an aromatic miso soup, a small bowl of fried rice and a handful of marinated pickles before the crêpes flambé mark the finale of the culinary show. Throughout the meal we were thoroughly impressed with the one-on-one interactions with the chefs, making it an exclusive and personalised experience from start to finish. The impeccable attention to detail was also commendable, from the origami offerings and obedience to Japanese customs, to perfectly-sized coasters that conveniently held our wine glasses in place. The service and overall consideration at Benkay is truly impressive. We left not only with full tummies and an origami souvenir, but also with memories of spot-on Japanese food that will keep us talking for a long time to come.


Previous articleShiro
Next articleRin