|Chef Firing Up the Grill at Tenkai Japanese Restaurant, Padma Resort Bali at Legian|
Tenkai, Padma Resort, Bali at Legian
Tenkai Japanese restaurant is located poolside at Padma Resort Bali at Legian. Apparently it’s the only Japanese restaurant in the area so is quite popular with both in house and visiting guests.
There are a couple of teppanyaki barbecues but also regular dining tables both inside in the cool air conditioning, and also al fresco with views of the beautiful tropical gardens. As we arrive we smell wonderful aromas coming from the kitchen and can’t wait to order.
Three drink lists are presented – a cocktail menu, a wine list and a one pager of Japanese favourites. We think sake is an appropriate choice so request the Sake of the month (150ml IDR150), which is Ozeki and can be served either chilled or heated. Ours is warm and I smell fruit before sipping the rich smooth liquid.
We’re here for teppanyaki but never miss the opportunity to sample from across the menu. Four pieces of nigiri Sushi (IDR80) topped with tuna, salmon, snapper and prawn make a pretty plate and we begin the meal with enthusiasm.
Before I’ve had a chance to even browse the rest of the menu, hubby has ordered the longest list of teppanyaki items possible, so I quietly concede and handover the decision-making. The Hakucho (IDR435) line up features a set of 12 dishes. I hope they’re small portions as my tummy seems to be filling just thinking about them all.
|Our Smiley Teppanyaki Chef|
A trio of sauces – garlic and soy for the seafood, sour ponzu for the vegetables and, sweet teriyaki for the meat, are delivered and explained, nudging our anticipation for what is to come.
The appetizer of Tuna Salad has just the right amount of mayonnaise, moistening the fresh fish but not drowning it. “Mmmm, I like it. That was magnifico,” proclaims hubby.
We start with assorted vegetables, which our chef explains, are all grown in Bali. He asks if we’d like butter of not. Of course I want none, and hubby wants it all. It’s not a problem though. Chef happily obliges and splits the grill, cooking my lighter version on one side and hubby’s heart attack on the other.
Next comes a juggling act. Chef’s whole body is involved. He bends his knees, launches a huge smile, taps the wooden shaker on the counter and flips it in the air a few times, adding a few whole body shakes for dramatic effect. The theatrics continue throughout the meal with a percussion of scrapers and knives making some lively kitchen music. Finally soy sauce is poured on top of the vegetables causing the griddle to sizzle. Green capsicum, mushrooms, carrots and onion are sided with a healthy tangle of bean sprouts and white cabbage. Hubby finds it hard to believe that vegetables can smell and taste so good.
|Vegetables from the Teppanyaki Grill|
Seafood is on the grill next with extra large River Prawns and local mahi mahi, White Fish. Chef asks if we’d like to tries the legs. I’m a little hesitant, but hubby cheers, “Why not? This is the island of magic.” He’s clearly enthusiastic about the island and having the experience of a personal chef preparing food right in front of him is tickling his fancy to no end.
|Extra Large Bali River Prawn|
Chef prepares us for his next trick. “ Fire,” he calls as he lowers the lights and sets the grill aflame. The prawns come off the teppan with a toasty edge as a result of the flambé. Finally the legs are ready and, if we were blindfolded, we might think we were eating prawn crackers.
|Fried Prawn Legs|
The Japanese scallops are fine specimens - chubby pot-bellied models of excellence. Cooked supremely, they melt in our mouths. Hubby, who usually changes temperament within seconds, the slightest misfortune setting him off, remains suspiciously in high spirits for the entire evening. I don’t hear a single negative under-the-breath mumble. Chef evidently has cast his spell.
Tasmanian Salmon is also cooked faultlessly. A touch of gold is seen on the outside but the middle is rich and fatty. Tuna Medallions are from local seas and couldn’t be fresher.
|Plating the Next Course|
When it’s time for the Chicken Breast, chef shares with us that it’s local and asks if we’d like some garlic too. Fresh slices of the bulb are soon frying alongside the poultry crisping nicely and giving off that wonderfully pungent bouquet. I find the chicken a tad dry on its own, but enhanced greatly with a quick dip in the sweet teriyaki sauce.
Australian Wagyu Rump Beef of marbling 6-7 is fat, pink in the middle and, a superb illustration of melt-in-the-mouth tenderness.
It seems chef can’t resist a little bit of a bang and a rattle of his metal utensils. He makes me smile and himself too with his jolly play at work. He tells us he has been a teppanyaki chef for eight years but with the Padma Resort Bali at Legion for 24! As hubby is enjoying this show so much I’m hoping he’s also noticing how magnificently clean chef’s approach is, scraping and wiping down the hot plate after every course.
Miso Soup, purple Pickles and Fried Rice are served at the same time. The rice is a mouthful of small flavours combined to make a well-balanced bowl. I’d said earlier to leave out my rice serving but now find myself scooping up as much as I can poise on my chopsticks from hubby’s bowl.
|Miso, Fried Rice, Pickles|
Finally the meal ends with ice cream, but not quite. I can’t resist an order of the Japanese spirit Shochu (45ml IDR 118). The ice cream is made in house and is gloriously creamy with tiny black specks, evidence of the use of real vanilla beans. Our Shochu is served over ice, but our waitress tells us we can also have it neat or diluted with a splash of room temperature water. I find its strength in between a wine and spirit and mildly fruity on the nose. It’s a fine way to conclude a lovely experience at Tenkai.
|Vanilla Ice Cream|
Reason to visit: quality Japanese food in a fun and pleasant environment.
Tenkai Japanese Restaurant
Padma Resort Bali at Legian
Jalan Padma 1
+62 361 752 111
Open daily 6pm - 11pm