When a new place opens in Bali, it becomes the flavor of the month and most everyone drop by to have a look. The long-awaited opening of the W hotel finally happened a couple of months ago and when friends R & M were here for a week, they hosted M's birthday dinner at the W's beachfront seafood restaurant Starfish Bloo. After cold champagne at their villa in Seminyak, we headed off to the easy-to-miss entrance of the W on Petitenget (right beside the red awnings of the Bali Catering Co. is the discreetly placed W sign).
We were seated at one long table (there were eight of us) adjacent to the terrace and with a front-row view of the sea, so close that we could hear the waves crashing to shore. R had organized a family-style dinner. We started with a few different, mostly fish appetizers from the Raw, Rare and Naked section of the menu: Salmon Sashimi which had some spicy Harrisa-coriander yogurt, shredded mint leaves, pickled grapes and toasted almonds, Kingfish Belly Sashimi with watermelon, balsamic soy, pickled shallots and black sesame seeds, Coral fish Sashimi with Thai chili ponzu, preserved mushrooms and shaved radish.
From the Tableside Seared Japanese Hot Rock section, there was thinly-sliced Wagyu striploin, lamb loin and venison loin served raw alongside a white bowl filled with black pebbles and a hot stone in the center for searing the meat. Several sauces accompanied the meat for dipping.
Next up, were three dishes from Field, Farm and Shells: Teppanyaki Scallops on top of warm smoky eggplant and sweet miso emulsion, Crispy Thai Style Pork Ribs, sticky and spicy from the garlic-chili glaze and a ceviche of Marinated Octopus & Cuttlefish tangy from the lime and garlic oil mix and the Sauternes Cured Foie Gras accompanied by a fruit mustard, a croissant (instead of the usual brioche) and a sherry vinegar reduction.
Main courses came from the Air, Land and Sea section. There was the Korean Style Fried Chicken, with a sweet chili-garlic sauce and an apple-cabbage salad, two curries: a Yellow Curry of Sea Bass with purple basil and sweet peppers plus the slightly spicier red curry-based Braised Beef Short-rib Curry with pea eggplants, long beans and green tomatoes, and a second foie gras dish, this time sauteed and served with a hunk of Miso Glazed Black Cod.
We had eaten practically half of the menu but we couldn't end the meal without a few more sweets to share from the dessert selection: a citrus cheesecake with grapefruit and orange, warm chocolate bonbons that were crunchy-outside-melting-inside with vanilla ice cream and finally, a sticky-toffee-pudding like dessert with maple walnut ice cream. The birthday boy had his own special dessert platter with a candle-topped cheesecake. After polishing off the desserts, we had espressos and finally, close to midnight, we headed home with full bellies after a gastronomic evening with friends.
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*Open daily for lunch and dinner. Brunch on Sundays from 11:30 to 3:30.