The Grill Thrill

Have you ever wonder what makes a good ‘Barbecue’? Or what it’s all about in general? Well, Chef Arbie surely can give you a fine answer. Not only blessed with raw talent in cooking, the Jogjakarta-born resourceful and innovative personality traits has given him the necessary edge to ensure The Butchers Club maintain its finesse as one of the island’s most prominent steak house. During his bustling daily work, Chef Arbie manages to take a brief break and share his thoughts about barbecue and beyond. Check them out!

Tell us a bit of your background. How did you get involved in the BBQ business?

Actually ‘chef’ started off as my side job in Australia while studying, I never intend to do that profession because I took Geology course in college. But as time flies, I grew fond in the world of cooking and continue that as my main career until now. Three years ago I applied here (at The Butchers Club Bali) as sous chef and got attracted in the world of BBQ. For me, to cook a great steak you have to use your own senses. I didn’t use thermometer or any tools to measure the meat. Just by the touch of fingers and instinct. Every restaurant gives different challenges and experience and I would like to embrace that while keep learning new stuffs every day.

Explain about your preferable BBQ process. Boil or bake? Smoker? Hardwood or gas?

I like proper grill with unconventional method. Here at The Butchers Club, we didn’t use gas, but instead we use hardwood charcoal. The woods are carefully selected from fruit tree to give the meat extra natural flavor and aroma; such as jackfruit, coffee, avocado and many local fruits. I would prefer to use ‘real’ fire and ingredients, not just from gas or modern equipment. For us, even the cooking process will create a great sensation as the fire burns and fragrant smoke fill the kitchen.

 What is 'BBQ/ barbecue' all about anyway? How would you explain it to someone who’s never had it before?

Barbecue is a process of cooking meat with grilling method. Actually, Indonesian traditional satays are made with ‘BBQ’ technique, only comes in distinctive form, ingredients components and cooking method. So the fundamental is the same, it’s just the culture that makes it different.

 What kind of meat is good for BBQ? And how to prepare a perfect steak according to you?

I’m basically a meat lover; beef and lamb in particular.  But for me the best steak is made from rib-eye part because they are more tender and juicy. To prepare a perfect steak is pretty easy. All you need is a nice piece of meat. If you keep it in refrigerator, take it out for 5-10 minutes until it reaches room temperature so you can grill them faster and easier; medium, rare or well-done. Then, you would need a nice crack pepper and salt. I would prefer seasalt; take the chunky one, not the powdery, it will give a nice crusty texture to your rump slab of juicy steak.

Was there a dish if your creation in particular that you were most proud of? Elaborate to us about it

We have one menu here called Roasted Lamb Shank in Moroccan Style. To get the recipe of this particular dish is not easy. I got it from one of the restaurant I worked in Australia. It was the hardest time I experienced in my entire career because I started as a helper, didn’t know what to do other than saying ‘yes, sir’ all the time. But from there I understand how to use tajine sauce to cook Moroccan style dish, and now I can combine it into my own signature dish. For me, it’s not only a mere ‘food creation’, but so historical as well. It took years until I figured out how to make this dish myself, and I put all my hardest effort in the process.

Where do you get quality ingredients for your food and how do you choose your suppliers?

We emphasis on using local ingredients here, and we’re so lucky now to have a really good supplier in Bali, which brings fresh produce that locally grown in the villages around the isle. This supplier can meet our specifications to the smallest details; color, taste, and everything. But our meat comes straight from Australia, which brought by the largest meat supplier company in Indonesia.

The process of selecting a fine supplier doesn’t come instantly; in fact we are trying lots and lots of suppliers since the opening of this restaurant, until we finally find the prominent local one right now.

What is your favorite non-meat food to cook? 

Good question! Beside meat, I also love to cook home-made vegetarian pasta; spinach, cheese, ravioli and also gnocchi. Dealing with meat on daily basis, I cook this at home for my family as a brief relief to refresh my mind from all the blood and fat. I also make my own salad along with its dressing. Sometimes I think to myself, maybe in the next two years, I will become a vegetarian (laugh)

Any piece of advice you would give a home barbecue enthusiast?

This applies to everyone including me: Keep It Simple, Silly (K.I.S.S). Sometimes people put too much focus in fancy marinating, rare herbs and everything. It enhances the flavor, sure, but all you need in the barbecue is actually the taste of the meat itself, with a bit of nice salt, pepper and olive oil. That’s it! When we cook BBQ home for our family, if you didn’t have griller, a grill pan will do, then nice cut of meat, salt and pepper. Don’t overwork it. Essentially, barbecue is all about the flame and original taste of the meat itself.


Jalan Petitenget, Kerobokan, Kuta Utara, Kerobokan Kelod, Kuta Utara, Badung, Bali 80361

Phone: +62 361 897 4004,