There is a culinary phenomenon taking place on the island of Bali – a newly launched Sunday brunch so popular that visitors throughout the Asia Pacific region are booking seats months in advance to ensure a spot at Soleil, the Mediterranean Riviera inspired signature restaurant of The Mulia, Mulia Resort & Villas in Nusa Dua.
Blessed with stunning views across the resort’s expansive swimming pool and out to the sparkling cyan blue Indian Ocean, Soleil is making waves among the island’s luxury, six-star resorts with its innovative take on the traditional culinary leisure known as Sunday brunch. “As a team, we brainstormed to create the ultimate brunch experience,” explains Soleil’s Executive Chef.
And that’s certainly what Soleil has achieved. Above and beyond the indulgent buffet-style encounter found in many A-list, luxury resorts, Soleil offers a personalised a la carte menu, an extensive carving station and grill-to-order display kitchen featuring swordfish toro, tiger shrimp, maguro tuna, roasted leg of lamb & lamb chops, roasted turkey and grilled Karobuta pork belly to name a few. Surprise amuses-bouche arrive at your table unexpectedly throughout the afternoon keeping guests on their toes with new flavours and thoughtful presentations.
The custom menu that the food and beverage team has artfully prepared for Soleil works in perfect sync with the refined, beachside ambience of the dining room’s gilded interiors. As we are led to our seats, a comfortable banquette topped with an assortment of pillows in soft, Asian floral and preppy, sunflower yellow and white stripes, it is impossible not to take a deep breath and relax within the sophisticated, yet unpretentious atmosphere where every guest is treated to an interesting view.
In addition to the specialty cuisine that has top chefs, CEOs and government ministers occupying the tables around us, Soleil’s value-oriented price tag, even with free flow wine, has created a frenzy of interest from gourmands who cringe at the average cost of a nice bottle of wine in Bali. As our lovely Balinese butler pours two glasses of crisp, South African sauvignon blanc, our eyes wander over to the seafood tower, shimmering with the most outstanding oysters we have ever seen in Indonesia.
Flown in from Fanny Bay, a specialty shellfish supplier situated along the pristine coastline of British Columbia in Canada, each oyster averages a length of 12 centimetres, easily taking center stage amongst stiff competition that includes succulent king crab legs, plump cocktail shrimp, freshly rolled sushi and gleaming slices of sashimi.
One could easily spend all afternoon right there, eating one tender oyster after another, and as we contemplate doing just that as the oysters go hand-in-hand with the perfectly chilled wine, the kitchen discreetly diverts our attention by introducing us to Soleil’s peerless mini-degustation menu.
Fiercely committed to sourcing the freshest, highest quality ingredients spanning the globe, as well as the most skillful staff selected as carefully as the food, Soleil is surprising Bali’s competitive culinary landscape with products never before seen on the island. The perfect example arrives in a flawless, porcelain pot filled with a luscious cheese fondue, artisan-crafted locally. Accompanied by whispery thin slices of toasted baguette, no one at our table had ever heard of gourmet cheese actually being made on the island. But that’s how Soleil does it; with impeccable taste and a desire to surprise and delight guests from the moment you drive through the lotus-framed resort entrance.
“Soleil is surprising Bali’s competitive culinary landscape with products never before seen on the island.”
Although our eyes wander again, this time over to a beautifully stocked table tempting us with smoked salmon and all the right accoutrements, petite martini glasses filled with inventive Nicoise salads and a savoury spread of Italian antipasto, our butler refills our wine glasses as her suspender-clad associate presents a cerise-red lobster, simmered in a rich tomato broth made from a Japanese variety of tomatoes sourced in Bali’s fertile mountains north of Ubud. As the last mouth-watering morsel disappears, the kitchen showers us yet again with a wedge of Tasmanian salmon that appears to be raw, yet has been cooked via a creative method in olive oil for an extended period of time, topped with caviar and presented neatly atop a creamy leek and vermouth broth.
As our window of opportunity to enjoy the dessert table starts to narrow dangerously (we’re getting full), the smiling food and beverage director plays a cruel joke on us and sends over two immaculately concocted Bloody Mary’s, glasses rimmed with a heady mixture of garlic powder, pepper and sea salt. Too tempting to resist, we sip the cocktails and take in the view before sampling the divine dabblings of Soleil’s Hawaii-born pastry chef. Understanding his limited chance to wow an audience that has been indulged with every Mediterranean delight under the sun, he prepares carefully chosen desserts that satisfy the sweet tooth without tipping the scales: melt in your mouth chocolate fondants, airy chocolate mousse topped with an irresistible layer of crushed chocolate cookie, chewy pistachio cookies and mini-tarts topped with fresh blueberries bursting with flavor. Sundays will never be the same.