As a rule, there is nothing special about the food at any night entertainment venue. You rarely go there for the food alone. That was certainly the case at leading Bali nightspot Hu'u until young Singaporean chef Abu Goh, arrived in Bali. The food is unashamedly Asian Fusion. Do not shudder, it works!
Hu'u is really two different places. In the early evenings, it is a fine dining location, with well spaced tables outside between the light-infused swimming pool and the water wall. It is definitely a relaxing way to dine. Late in the evening the action moves indoors to the much larger cocktail bar and lounges, where the tapas menu takes over.
The very strange and unpronounceable name comes from a famous coral atoll off Sumbawa, renowned for its big waves.
A Crisp Squid Salad is the first of many surprises. Chopped and tossed in a Cantonese sweet and sour sauce with sesame seeds and a touch of balsamico, it is as crunchy as fried tempe and nothing like any squid I have ever had before. Try to stop eating this dish!
A balance of perfect Asian Fusion is found with the Confit of Hainanese Chicken and the Mini Crab Cakes with a mango salsa, an aioli sambal and citrus vinaigrette.
The Oriental Duck Pancakes (above, right) are their signature dish, everybody orders them! A soft crepe is wrapped around generous chunks of Peking duck in an orange mayonnaise. Impossible not to like!
Soft Shell Crabs are very crisp, accompanied by mango salad, roasted peanuts, dried shrimps and a chili lime vinaigrette. The Lobster Bisque is enhanced with a dash of cognac.
The main courses continue the exciting kitchen offerings. The Duck Leg has been slowly braised and is served on yam rice tossed with chopped cabbage and shiitake mushrooms. The Quail is boned and cooked butterfly style, coated with Moroccan spices, the meat soft and tasty.
Lamb Shanks get a very different treatment here. After an initial cooking the shank is de-boned and steamed before being served in a Thai green curry with home-dried tomatoes and mash potato. Lamb can not get more tender or tastier than this!
L-R: Caramelised Onion Tart, Grilled Chicken Tikka, Demitassa of Warm Chocolate Cake.
Enormous Grilled Jumbo Prawns are perfectly grilled and sit on sweet potato rice cakes, alongside long beans with matah vinaigrette. Often too chewy when this big, these jumbo prawns are firm but tender.
If you cannot survive without your beef, then you will not be disappointed. Both the Rib Eye (with a puree of parsnip, glazed shallots and sugar pea with a black pepper sauce) and the Tenderloin (with potato cake, leek and corn compote and a truffle sauce) are from the royal Black Angus!
For vegetarians, some healthy dishes with taste: a Caramelised Onion Tart combines sauteed onions with thyme, tomato and mozzarella on crisp puff pastry; a Beetroot Carpaccio is with crisp capers, mimosa, mizuna leaves and a raspberry vinaigrette; Cappuccino of Celeriac with apple compote and truffle oil; a wonderful Asparagus Risotto, the young asparagus chopped into small pieces and combined white wine, mascarpone and parmigiano cheese.
An extensive wine list and eager, pleasant young service staff all go to make dining at the new Hu'u an experience to remember.
The very talented young Singaporean Executive Chef Abu Goh is really making his mark on the Bali dining scene.
Jln. Raya Petitenget,
Tel: (62-361) 736.443
Open: Dinner from 4pm - midnight (Sun-Thurs); 4pm - 3am (Fri, Sat)
Price: $75 for two (+ drinks)
This is an abridged version of the full review that appears on the BaliEats web site, Bali's comprehensive restaurant guide: www.balieats.com