Brothers Dion and Michael ended up in the hospitality industry almost by accident – if you can call a combined love for cooking and priceless family recipes an accident, that is.
It began with a passion project to create a salted egg yolk sauce, but before long the boys found themselves in business with their first restaurant named Yoi, meaning "yes!" in Indonesian. The successful, hawker-style venue opened in 2019 and brought Indonesian-fusion comfort food to delivery apps throughout 2020 and 2021. But now, Dion and Michael are ready to get serious.
Kata Kita, their newest project, is a joint venture with their mother Lie. The name translates to "together we say", meant as a warm invitation to relax and explore the Indonesian archipelago one bite at a time. Compared to its excitable predecessor, Kata Kita delivers layered, modern Balinese specialities in a pared-back environment that allows you to focus solely on the food. Be prepared for flavour bombs of zesty lemongrass, tongue-spiking chilli, homemade aromatic sambal underscored with zesty lemongrass, shrimp and sweet palm sugar.
Matte concrete tabletops and rattan wall panelling make for the perfect blank canvas for an explosion of culinary colours. There's the bright reds of hot and spicy Indonesian-style crab, the browns of caramelised five-hour slow-roasted pork and the fluorescent pops of slices of lime to cut through the richness. For lovers of street style Indonesian, level-up with nasi goreng's spicier and richer cousin, bebek goreng madura – a complex dish featuring fried duck that is as crispy as it is tender. It's served with both raw sambal and a unique black sambal called bomb hiram that is fried until it reaches a deep, charred hue.
There's plenty of smaller plates for a quick feed or if you're in the mood to share with friends. Try the sate lilit: mince pork rolled on a lemongrass stick; babi bakar: Balinese pork ribs glazed in sweet and sticky soy sauce; or scallop gulai: grilled scallops served with a rich, spicy curry sauce.
Aside from their collective love of food, Lie, Dion and Michael are brought together by their passion for sharing their culture with others. The Kata Kita ethos mirrors that of their Indonesian culinary heritage – coming together over food and celebrating the people you love.
The family's 'must-try' recommendations include the babi fuling, Balinese roast pork served with crispy glass skin, lawar (mix of vegetables and coconut), bumbu genep (Balinese spices) and sambal embe, and the Uluwatu cocktail of gin, Cointreau, pressed pineapple juice and passionfruit pulp, topped with a smokey passion fruit bubble. Tos tos tos (cheers).