Bali, 2013 – Raja’s restaurant offers pure Balinese cuisine in a royal setting. Established in 2001, the poolside restaurant located only metres from the beachfront is designed to reflect the way a Balinese royal family would dine.
Raja’s is a place where guests can take home more than just beach memories and standard hotel food. They get to try a more authentic piece of Bali. Raja’s is based on research in Balinese palaces and villages, the result of many interviews and taste trials in far-off hamlets. Raja’s cuisine is seriously Balinese fare, unmodified – a result of more than a year of taste testing, guest trials, and in-house cooking contests. Although it serves original Balinese food, Raja’s is certified as a halal restaurant.
Popular Raja’s appetizers include the award-winning Palem Sari Ulam (steamed seafood in coconut curry pudding), Tum Udang (minced prawn and young coconut steamed in banana leaf and served on a seaweed salad with lesser galangal and garlic chilli dressing) and other unique specialties. Guests may choose to try a soup such as the seafood favourite, Kuah Gedang Sareng (fresh jumbo prawns with young green papaya soup).
The arrays of main courses on offer are as varied as Sate Gede (oversized barbecued chicken, lamb and beef skewers with long-bean salad and sweet chili coriander dressing), Ulam Segara Mepanggang (grilled baby snapper with shallot, lemongrass and live leaf dressing) and Pesan Be Pasih (lemon basil and tamarind marinated mackerel wrapped in banana leaf and grilled). If guests like their meals spicy, as most Balinese do, they can ask for chili sambal – prepared and ground table-side using a traditional Balinese mortar and pestle.
Raja’s signature dish is the Bebek Betutu or Ayam Betutu- a whole duck or chicken marinated in 19 different spices, wrapped in palm leaves and slow cooked for four hours. It is presented to the guests in whole piece and then carved by table side.
The dessert menu includes Pisang Rai (poached bananas in coconut batter with honey and ginger ice cream), a village favourite Dadar Gulung (pandanus leaf pancakes with a jackfruit and palm-sugar filling served with coconut ice cream) and other sweet-tooth traditional specialties.
Guests can dine indoors in air conditioning or on a poolside, open-air wooden pavilion that is decorated regally with intricate Balinese carvings. There is also the option of booking a private indoor area with seating for up to eight people.
All Raja’s dining paraphernalia was sourced and produced in Bali except for the crystal glasses. Noteworthy are the heavy, solid-brass show plates, cutlery and dulang (food stands), as well as the table cloths made from brokat (traditional lace material) that Balinese women’s kebaya blouses are sewn from.
Raja’s has won numerous awards including the Hospitality Asia Platinum Award’s (HAPA) Gastronomic Experience–Asia Cuisine during the HAPA 2008–2010 Regional Series. This is one of the main reasons why the restaurant regularly receives guests from other leading hotels.
Interested guests can try their hands at creating Balinese fare at a Raja’s cooking class with advanced booking every Monday and Friday. Part of the class includes a visit to the hotel’s herb gardens to learn about the kaleidoscope of ingredients needed in the preparation of Balinese spices.
Raja’s is open daily for dinner 6.30 pm to – 11.30pm, except Sundays and Tuesdays. Reservations are recommended to +62 (361) 771210. Seating capacity is 64 persons and dress code is resort casual attire.