Bibo and Hotshot were among the most hyped openings of the last two years. Known for the millions of dollars’ worth of contemporary art on the walls, these two establishments have made their mark as destination restaurants – at least for the art, if nothing else. Now Le Comptoir, the group behind these two eateries, is trying its hand at Asian cuisine with a newly opened Balinese restaurant, Tri, in Repulse Bay.
Although this time the concept isn’t about art, that doesn’t mean there aren’t aesthetics to appreciate. In fact, the décor is simply stunning. Each item of furniture is imported from Indonesia, and cross sections of bamboo panel the interior like a serene forest. The most striking component is the dining room-length rock pool, which supports pods that open up to house the tables. Combined with views of the coastline from the vantage point of the beach, the ambience is breathtaking.
Eventually remembering we’re here to eat, we tear away our eyes from the interior design and down to the menu. First, we plump for the common Indonesian street food duck goreng ($180), but this time it’s done with a bit of panache. The bird leg is pressed into boneless slices, then fried and served with chilli mango, cucumber and pink grapefruit, all dotted beautifully around the plate. The meat is succulent and juicy, and the condiments cut the crispy batter nicely. We’re a bit taken aback by the size of our ‘shared’ plate of scallops mesanten ($230), which only contains a paltry three scallops. We contemplate wolfing down the entire plate ourselves – but manners prevail. The portion size is small, but we enjoy the perfect texture of the shellfish and the tangy mesanten sauce. With the scallops quickly finished, we’re glad we ordered a seafood nasi goreng ($150) as filler. It’s tasty – the rice is well seasoned, while the seafood is also perfectly cooked. For the sweet, we opt for coconut panacotta ($80). A thin layer of roasted pineapple rests on top of the pudding, and the side of black rice ice cream adds extra dimensions to the tropical flavours of the dessert.
The Balinese cuisine at Tri is an elevated version of your typical island fare. Though we find the portions quite small, once you drink in the atmosphere, this is one place you’re happy to pay extra for the surrounds.