Bali’s competitive restaurant scene is not an easy place to impress the cultured and well-travelled masses that flock to the island in search of global culinary delights.
In comes Shiro Sushi / Sake Bar, quite possibly Bali’s most intimate and thoughtfully designed haute-cuisine eatery. Shiro is situated within the eclectically delightful One Eleven Resort, recently opened on a quiet street located strategically within the heart of Seminyak. The resort’s owner, a seasoned Bali-hotelier, wanted to do something different with One Eleven, so he designed and built just 9 spacious villas on a very valuable 5,000m2 plot. To complement the overall themes for One Eleven that include ‘less is more’ and ‘simplicity is an art’, the owner commissioned renowned Japanese artist, Shigemasa Noi, to create the artist’s very first design project outside of Japan. Turning Shiro into a contemporary art gallery, his extensive wood-block art installation was painstakingly created with thousands of precisely cut and carefully placed blocks, each with a deep meaning – perfect for quiet contemplation (or just to admire) over a beautifully presented glass of Shiro’s exquisite sake.
Hand-picked by the owner to carry out his culinary vision, Chef “Shiro-san” is a top Japanese chef specialising in traditional techniques. He follows the ancient tradition of utilising products that are currently in season, scouring the daily fish markets and making connections with local produce suppliers. Sitting at Shiro’s 8-seat sushi bar, with Shigemasa Noi’s artistic puzzle in full view, guests are provided with the exciting opportunity to be totally connected to a top chef, and to establish enduring friendships that keep guests coming in for more. Unlike many top chefs, Chef Shiro-san is approachable, with an easy-going manner and willingness to share decades of culinary knowledge.
The chef’s recommendation, or ‘Omikase Set’, is one of Shiro’s most popular menu items, providing a diverse selection of Chef Shiro-San’s signature favourites. Diligently prepared before your very eyes, the seven-course feast includes interesting seafood appetizers (slices of delicate fatty tuna with shoyu and roughly chopped octopus in a full-bodied wasabi sauce), assorted sashimi (young fatty tuna, salmon, red snapper, horse mackerel and clam), grilled fish (yellow fin tuna served alongside a small dipping bowl of imported Japanese chili powder), a delightful flan-like custard soup that can be served hot or cold, melt-in-your-mouth sushi (prepared with smaller, bite-sized portions of rice and a dab of wasabi, each overflowing with an expertly cut slice of fish), artisan-prepared miso soup and a scoop of homemade green tea ice cream produced from five simple ingredients.
But first things first: making a selection from Shiro’s unique sake menu. For clients who aren’t sake aficionados, Chef Shiro-san is happy to offer his advice. One of his favourite go-to recommendations is the Kubota Junmai, a drier choice with an ability to pair nicely with the majority of his creations. Honouring an authentic method, Shiro’s sake is poured into very generously sized shot glasses, each placed in a contemporary wooden box to catch the overflow. If you’ve never thought of yourself as a big fan of sake, the mild and refreshing flavor of the Kubota Junmai will certainly win you over.
“We aren’t the least expensive restaurant in town,” laughs David Beevers, One Eleven’s worldly General Manager. “But then again we aren’t striving to be. As we only have seating for 20, we would like to invite our guests to walk in for a nice epicurean feast of intimacy.”