The Four Seasons Resort Bali at Sayan extends its acclaimed Sattvic dining to the flavours and textures of Indonesia.
Ubud has it all for wellness travelers: yoga, Balinese healers, meditation, breathwork practices, ceremonies, vegan restaurants, and countless spas. The Four Seasons Resort Bali at Sayan has long tapped into the world of wellbeing while also focusing deeply on authentic Balinese cultural experiences. And now the resort unites these two priorities with a new Indonesian Sattvic menu at its treetop restaurant, Ayung Terrace.
Though rooted in Indian Ayurveda, the Sattvic diet has gained popularity around the world among those seeking to increase sattva, which refers to consciousness or goodness. Light, seasonal and healthy, plus high in fibre, fresh vegetables, grains, and nuts, this ethos translates to balanced dishes that can promote mental clarity, increase longevity and boost immunity.
The resort’s wellness programming first inspired Chef Suta’s curiosity with the Sattvic dietary ethos, which is thought to increase energy and happiness. It excludes meat, seafood, eggs, and pungent ingredients that stimulate the appetite or central nervous system. Since launching a Western-focused Sattvic soul food menu at Riverside restaurant in 2021, Chef Suta has become inspired to create an Indonesian version for Ayung Terrace, one that caters to health-conscious guests craving local flavours while in Bali. However, this was no easy task since the Sattvic diet precludes stimulating ingredients that are at the very heart of Indonesian cooking.
“For me as a chef, especially in Indonesia, cooking without onion, chili and garlic is really like a nightmare,” says Chef Suta. His entire life, starting in the small Balinese village of Klungkung and later learning from his aunt to prepare ancestral Indonesian food, he has only ever known these dishes in their original form. As head chef of Four Seasons Resort Sayan, he has elevated his favourite childhood recipes to a five-star standard and immortalized them in a cookbook for guests to bring the flavours of Bali home. Now, he has reinvented them through the lens of Sattvic philosophy.
“We build our tastes, our palates, on a lot of onion and garlic since we’re very young,” says Suta. “And suddenly to change and go without, as a chef you feel like, no, it’s not right!” Still, he persisted for more than one year and ultimately found creative ways to represent beloved Indonesian flavours and textures. The strikingly diverse and well-balanced menu comprises three starters and three mains, plus a dessert, all in alignment with Sattvic principles and the Resort’s wellness mission. Additionally, the low-fat offerings highlight an abundance of organically, locally farmed fruits and vegetables.
“I’m not a person who likes fusion, I like to keep the original taste, protect the original flavours,” says Chef Suta. “The cooking can be changed, the presentation can be enhanced, but the flavour should be original.” Appropriately, his dishes take advantage of Bali’s deep devotion to root spices: turmeric, ginger, galangal, wild ginger – freshly ground in a mortar and pestle on a daily basis. Many of these same ingredients are age-old herbal remedies, further adding to the menu’s healthfulness.
Medicinal turmeric features in the jamu granite dessert, while ginger and lime leaf add a delicious zing to the sambal-inspired tomato sauce that tops tender grilled king mushrooms, accompanied by crunchy rice crumble, in jamur panggang. Sweet and sour rujak is a cross between ceviche and Thai papaya salad, with cashews, tamarind and local herbs. Chef Suta’s tahu tek is a spin on the fried tofu street sold from street carts married with the beloved peanut sauce found on gado gado. There’s a tandoor-inspired spiced cauliflower and sesame paste–marinated tempe as well.
The nasi campur is unmissable, a healthy and incredibly fresh Sattvic celebration of iconic flavours that originated in Java. Served with red rice, the colourful mix (campur) of dishes includes fern shoots prepared with coconut shreds and jackfruit rendang so nuanced and tender it’s arguably better than meat. Chef Suta admits it took finessing to achieve balance and not lose the complexity expected of Indonesian dishes.
While the flavour profile of each is unique, the new dishes are all comforting, calming and undeniably satisfying. Naturally, the plating and presentation are photo-worthy. The original Western Sattvic menu is available at Riverside alongside the selection of international fare, and the Indonesian Sattvic menu is on offer at Ayung Terrace during lunch and dinner as an addition to the restaurant’s modern Indonesian fare
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