AS I STEP across a floating pond filled with colourful carp into a sleek, stunning, lotus-shaped, open-air restaurant I know I am in for a special night full of surprises.
It's the first time I've had the pleasure of dining at Dava - an ultra-chic Bali eatery and cocktail bar with breathtaking views over the Indian Ocean at Jimbaran Bay on the island's south-western peninsula.
Dava is the signature dining venue at the five star, award-winning Ayana Resort and Spa and I'm about to be taken on a gastronomical journey.
Renowned former Singaporean chef Jusman So has put a new spin on dining at Dava with a Surprise Menu consisting of a four or six-course degustation menu.
As an adventurous eater, the thought of not knowing what I am about to be served fills me with excitement and anticipation.
Even the waiters do not know what's on the menu, but I'm happy to put my faith in Jusman who is regarded as one of Singapore's best chefs.
As the stars twinkle above me and a Javan band plays softy in the background, I am presented with the first of my courses by the all-smiling, all-dazzling Tiara - one of my waiters for the evening.
"Surprise, surprise," she says as she places a delicate dish of crayfish with mango gazpacho in front of me.
I take my first bite and I'm in heaven.
Next comes beef carpaccio with truffles, crispy parmesan cheese and olive pudding - another delicate and light dish that has my tastebuds tingling.
Then it's black truffle mushroom cream with goat's milk cheese, followed by veal loin with baby asparagus, goat's milk cheese fetta and parsley.
Between each course, the supervising waiter Juanda checks that everything is to my liking.
As I sip a glass of French wine, I tell him it's one of the best dining experiences I've ever had.
Just when I think I can't eat another mouthful, Juana tells me to save room for the decadent dessert.
I love chocolate, so I am richly rewarded with a chocolate fondant with raspberry parfait and bread crumbs and milk sorbet topped with Baileys Irish Cream.
It's no surprise that Dava's Surprise Menu is receiving acclaim.
"We are getting very positive feedback from guests who enjoy the anticipation and fun of a Surprise Menu and who are happy to put their complete faith in me and my choices," Jusman said.
"I personally enjoy it to, as it allows me to be more spontaneous and creative on a daily basis using ingredients that are often harder to find and therefore may not be on the main menu."
Dava also offers diners a regular a la carte menu and the stylish Martini Bar for 'molecular mixology'.
The Ayana Resort is also home to the famous Rock Bar - an outdoor bar located above the ocean and only accessible by an inclinator down a sheer rock cliff.
The legendary bar is a magnificent spot to watch one of Bali's famous sunsets while sipping a cocktail or two.
IF YOU GO
Dava Restaurant is at the Ayana Resort and Spa, Jimbaran Bay, Bali.
The four-course Surprise Menu costs 450,000 rupiah or about $45 per person.
The restaurant is open for breakfast from 7am to 10.30am and for dinner from 6.30pm to 10pm.
For more information on the restaurant and the resort go to ayanaresort.com.
Located only a block back from the Noosa River and the famous Gympie Terrace at your doorstep this property is in a prime position. The resort takes pleasure in...
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