In a Class of Its Own

PASSION revisits BLANCO par Mandif in Ubud and discover its attempt in bringing Indonesian cuisine into a new frontier.

Firmly establishing itself as a fine dining destination since opening its door in 2015, BLANCO par Mandif recently upgraded the restaurant. Gone were the days when BLANCO par Mandif was an intimate experience where only ten people could sit and dine at its famous open kitchen. In its place, an elegant and refined sibling for twenty is taking over. Located on the ground of Blanco Renaissance Museum , I immediately feel transported into another realm as soon as I enter the dark dramatic bar which is also the entrance.

I am glad to report that impeccable service remains at the heart of the restaurant. Sitting at one of the restaurant’s best spot overlooking the Campuhan bridge, I am enjoying the serenity that engulfs me. Created by Indonesia’s leading gastronomic chef and restaurateur, Mandif Warokka, the restaurant is a tribute to Indonesian flavour and heritage. Warokka’s perfectionist approach and deep love gives birth to an intense reinterpretation of Indonesian flavours and creative innovation which despite being audaciously modern in presentation, remains rooted in traditional cooking technique.

“Indonesian cuisine is complex and flavourful. Here, we do not want to westernize that complexity but to reinterpret it through our carefully crafted degustation menu. Our aim is to bring Indonesian cuisine to the next gastronomic level,” states Eko Putro, the restaurant’s general manager. He is not alone in that attempt because the kitchen is lead by the capable hands of Chef Tan Ali. As Warokka’s second in command, he is making sure that each and every components of the degustation menu is nothing but perfection. 

With the choice of 7 or 9 courses and optional cocktail and wine pairings, the degustation menu is a gastronomy experience not to be missed in Ubud. The amuse-bouche gives a solid introduction of flavours that comes from a wide range of small treats, from jicama pickles to tofu ball. The pleasant beginning culminated in the form of Asinan, a beautiful presentation of traditional Javanese salad with a velvety and savoury cashew nut sauce. By replacing the standard peanut with cashew nut, the sauce immediately gained a depth and vibrancy. 

Tabanan Farm Cabbage is known in Indonesia as lotek, a popular West Javanese dish made of steamed vegetable and peanut sauce. It is an astounding tribute made of cucumber, freshly steamed cabbage and a clever layer of dehydrated cabbage. The aroma of pungent galanga in the peanut sauce made it uniquely Indonesian. Meanwhile, the Yellow Fin Tuna Toro is a tribute to North Sumatra cuisine. The flavour is distinctive, using torch ginger fruit or asam cikala and andaliman that tasted like Szechuan pepper. Using the fat belly, the best part of yellow fin tuna, an aromatic broth is then poured onto the raw tuna cut. There is no single drop left when I am done with it. 

The Hand-Pulled Cakalang Noodle is unforgettable; a feast of tasty shredded skipjack tuna and has just enough fire to make your want more. The Grilled Aged Wagyu Beef with smoked green chili sambal and sweet potato is another spectacular treat before ending the special evening with an exquisite take of Getuk. The simple Javanese cassava dessert is elevated into a work of art for the eyes and tastebuds, with its melt-in-your-mouth texture and accompanying raspberry cream and sour lemon cui sorbet. A dashingly named whiskey concoction, Jack and the Beanstalk, closed the experience in a spicy and comforting note. If BLANCO par Mandif aims is to delight and bring Indonesian cuisine to the next gastronomic level, I think they have succeeded.

Jalan Raya Campuhan Ubud
P: +62 361 4792284