Published on : Saturday, April 4, 2020
After 15 years in the doldrums, a Balinese building that was once the heart of Hendra Hadiprana’s private estate has been reimagined as a new tapas lounge, Panen Padi, at Tanah Gajah, a Resort by Hadiprana.
The noted Indonesian architect, who fashioned the Balinese resort as a family retreat in the late 1980s, used the building, then known as Pondok Margin, as his place of residence when visiting the vast estate. The abode was left unused and in its original state until recently when a new group, Hadiprana Hospitality, lured the property back into the family’s fold and opened the building as a tribute to the late founder.
Anchored between the kind of lush rice paddies Ubud is known for and a serene swan pond, Huiyam, as the building is now called, is one of the property’s most scenic locations. The name Huiyam was a dedication to Hendra’s father and father-in-law, Hui and Yam.
Diners are introduced to the founder’s history during a visit to Panen Padi Lounge, inside Huiyam. A passionate art lover, Hendra’s own life story has been created into artwork and adorns the restaurant’s ceiling. The piece takes visitors on his journey from youth to his golden years, with imagery of Bali, the property, and from his time in the Netherlands.
A spacious terrace was added to create an al fresco dining venue, where guests can enjoy sunset over the rice paddy fields and catch a glimpse of the hotel’s hot air balloon taking flight. Here the evening is ushered in to the tune of smooth jazz as guests recline on the plush cushioned seating that borders the deck.
At the new dining destination the resort’s executive chef, Chef Khairudin ‘Dean’ Nor, shows off both his green thumb and his creative flair with a selection of tapas fashioned with ingredients from the resort’s abundant vegetable garden. The Singapore-native, who has helmed the resort’s F&B efforts for most of the last decade, has also hand-smoked and cured many of the meats in the dishes, such as the house-smoked Balinese pork sausage and smoked and cured tuna filets.
The menu draws inspiration from around Asia with other tapa options including Taco Sushi, with the choice of salmon, or slow-cooked pork or beef accompanied with avocado and edible flowers; and Tempura Corn, a novel dish of organic corn tempura, wasabi furikake (a Japanese seasoning), and cured organic duck egg yolk.
The drink selection also shows some panache with an extensive selection of cocktails and mocktails, named for the location and inspired by it. Examples include Padi Senja, a blend of tamarind, passion fruit, calamansi puree, mint leaves and mango boba; or for a stronger tipple, there are options like the Combrang Vibe, a gin-based cocktail with dry martini, honey, tamarind, torch ginger flower, and a dash of salt and chili.
“With Panen Padi Lounge we wanted to create a new foodie destination that was open to both guests and non-guests,” said Deasy Swandarini, the general manager of Tanah Gajah Ubud. “We also wanted to share some of our story while giving visitors a memorable backdrop to create their own.”