At a glance, The Restaurant at The Legian, Bali has that laid-back, tropical poolside dining-venue feel to it. That being said, the unassuming casual vibe at The Restaurant makes discovering the brilliant menu composed by Executive Chef Luke MacLeod and his inspiring team feel like revealing a hidden treasure. Being French-trained, French cooking techniques are something that are close to Luke’s heart, however, he makes sure to incorporate local ingredients and infuse regional flavours of wherever he is in the world at the time.
At The Restaurant, Luke relies on the freshest produce to whip up his amazing dishes. “I use Australian beef and lamb, some comes from Tasmania. But the fish and seafood are definitely local, I also get fantastic duck locally and, of course, for the pork we have the local bangkal hitam [black Bali pig].” And you can be sure that Luke isn’t just sitting around waiting for the suppliers to parade the catch of the day, he actually travels around Bali to forage for the ingredients and see what he can do with them. Diners at The Restaurant can witness his journey through the map attached to the menu.
Sometimes his travelling also provides an inspiration, as evident in one of his dishes, the Duck on the Beach. “I was surfing in Keramas, and this guy walked down the beach with hundreds of ducks, I thought it was funny seeing this on the east coast. There was also a corn field right behind where I was surfing, we have green chillies and some cumin in the area, and I thought, ‘why don’t we have these on a plate?’” And that’s how the cool dish got created.
Luke also combines comfort food from his hometown in Australia with some refined finesse and Asian touches in the stellar dish of duck pie. He takes a simple meat pie, substitutes the beef with duck and adds a few twists for the dish. By simple, we mean, breaking down the whole duck, cooking the breast sous vide and leaving it over night, rendering the fat to make classic-style confit duck mix (with garlic, shallots, ginger, chilli, shitake mushrooms, sherry vinegar, sweet soy sauce and white wine, among others), using the skin to keep the breast moist, frying the skin to be put in the confit duck mix, pan-searing the foie gras, making the puff pastry and arranging everything. The result is a perfectly baked pasty dome veiling layers of duck-based delicacies inside.
“I love meat pies, and I always have some whenever I’m in Australia. Since we have a few duck dishes here, I thought of making the duck pie. It has a Chinese-Hong Kong – I used to live in Hong Kong – flavour there as well.
Talking about fusion cuisine, it can be a fusion of different flavours from different countries, or a fusion of techniques from different countries. It has to tell stories of where you’re from, it has to be coherent. I do a lot of dishes with French techniques and Indonesian ingredients. I call my dinner menu ‘Evolve’ because fusion is when you put two things together, shake them up and they interweave. Evolve – or merging – is when the elements slowly come together. Much like what I found: the longer I’ve been in Bali, the more Balinese my flavours have become. But if you try to make some cuisine that you saw in a magazine, or something that you just came up with, without any connection to the dish or the techniques, that’s con-fusion cooking!
Executive Chef Luke MacLeod
The Restaurant at The Legian, Bali
Jalan Kayu Aya, Seminyak Beach,
Bali 80361, Indonesia
T: (+62) 361730622