Finding somewhere to dine in Senopati is tough—kind of like picking an outfit combination you’ve never worn before from a wardrobe full of clothes. Challenging this notion is KAMA Cuisine & Libations by RAYA, the new dining place on the block that offers a bold-flavoured spread of wood-fired Pan-Asian cuisine and signature cocktails for a lively night out.
The open kitchen immediately comes into view upon stepping into the distinctly homey atmosphere (albeit that of an elegant and opulent house) of the restaurant. With only a countertop to separate the kitchen and the dining area, which also functions as a chef’s table, it’s not the kind of setup where the kitchen crew would keep to themselves. On the contrary, the group of seven young cooks and bakers regularly interact with guests, and candid moments from the kitchen (especially when it gets intense) are not unheard of.
“I want to give a lot of space for my chefs to create and express themselves. Every month, we have our own version of ‘Masterchef’, and the best dish gets a spot on the menu as a weekend special,” said chef-owner Marsya Prihatin excitedly. Beneath her laid-back persona, the chef clearly takes pride in her and her team’s creations. Almost everything is made in-house and all condiments are fermented to bring out the flavours; indeed, she’s not one to take shortcuts.
The “medok” (bold-flavoured) Pan-Asian dishes—as the chef describes them—are centred around the wood-fired grill, fueled with rambutan wood for a tint of smoky sweetness. For the short ribs, melt-in-the-mouth slices of the twice-cooked beef lay enticingly on a bed of burnt honey and smoked roast tomatoes, dusted with coffee rub and accompanied with smoked yoghurt for a dash of freshness. Beef tartar, meanwhile, is the chef’s favourite; a progressive take on the mapo tofu dish, it comes mixed with Sichuan pepper alongside whipped tofu. Alternatively, the dish can also be enjoyed with gochujang and a small block of crispy confit potato for something more easy on the tongue.
After a satisfying meal, the occasion calls for a drink, which can be found upstairs at the bar and lounge area. Light to balance Chef Marsya’s intensely flavoured dishes, signature cocktails such as the aptly named Truffle Negroni and the strawberry-infused Kama Sour are crafted by Bali-based bar consultant Jourdy Outra, who is notable for his Japanese-inspired cocktail creations at Uni Restaurant in Berawa.
With jazz nights every Wednesday and a regular Sunday brunch event soon on the calendar, it comes as unsurprising that KAMA already has familiar faces returning to the establishment just within two months of their opening. But the easygoing nature of the place also means that even if someone were to only come for a bite of the sticky dates dough roll dessert and a glass of cocktail, that would be fine too. In fact, “I love it when people do that,” expressed Chef Marsya cheerfully.