From Kyoto to Bali: Cultural Connections through Aman's Restaurant Takeovers

by Anton D. Javier
19 Sep 2023

Executive Chef Shinichiro Takagi of Aman Kyoto's Taka-An recently took over Amankila and Amandari's restaurants, signalling the luxury hospitality brand's further exploration of culinary-driven experiences.

Trends in F&B come and go, but there is a particular one gaining traction with no signs of slowing down: Culinary collaborations. Whether it’s a kitchen takeover or 4- or 6-hand dinner sessions, it seems that restaurants and chefs are making up for lost time and coming together as often as they can in kitchens around the world.

Taka-An at Aman Kyoto

Diving head first into this trend is Aman, the revered global property brand that’s celebrated for peace, privacy, and unparalleled levels of luxury hospitality.

From 4-8 September, a thread was woven through three iconic Aman properties, where Executive Chef Shinichiro Takagi of Aman Kyoto’s Taka-An did a restaurant takeover at the brand’s two Bali resorts – Amankila in East Bali and Amandari in Ubud.

(Related: Ubud Revisited)

Shojiro Shichikuro, Taka-An's Assistant Manager and Sommelier

The dinners, which were held for two nights at each resort, featured a 9-course kaiseki style menu that offered a magical opportunity to savor the flavors of Japanese culinary mastery in the serene setting of East Bali and Ubud. Further enriching the dining experience was an alcohol pairing comprised of champagne, sake, white wine, and red wine, which was expertly curated by Shojiro Shichikuro, Taka-An’s Assistant Manager and Sommelier.

View this post on Instagram

A post shared by Aman (@aman)

The first dinner at Amankila was a celebration of the resort's seaside location and the region’s produce, where simple yet elegant dishes utilized fresh seafood like sea urchin in the sesame tofu appetizer, lobster miso soup in the Wanmori course, and fresh tuna in the Tsukuri course. 

Meanwhile, the Hashiyasume course, which featured three small bites, was a study in textures and restrained flavors, comprised of ingredients like watercress, raw scallop and caviar, as well as jellyfish dressed in a piquant sesame sauce.

“To be honest, I had no idea what kind of local ingredients I’d be able to get my hands on,” Chef Takagi admitted. “But because we had several meetings with the chefs at both properties, they were instrumental in giving me ideas on what was available, as well as adequate information to help me conceptualize the menu.”

View this post on Instagram

A post shared by Amandari (@amandari_resort)

Over at Amandari, the menu consisted of dishes that celebrated Ubud’s bounties. “Here, I was able to incorporate locally sourced ingredients like yam, eggplants, and even local chicken,” shared Chef Takagi.

The Hashiyasume course presented in this menu was comprised of eggplants, zucchini, and taro, cooked tempura style, and finished with a light dashi broth and grated ginger. As for the main course, tender local chicken breast was served with simple accompaniments of spinach, carrots, freshly grated wasabi, and finished with Jibuni sauce – a thick Kanazawa-style gravy comprised of miso, soy sauce, and dashi.

For a satisfying and comforting end to the meal, we were presented with steamed sticky rice wrapped in banana leaves, studded with fresh prawn, yam, ginkgo nuts, and shiitake mushrooms.

"Each dinner location had its own character, but because it’s under the Aman umbrella, I really felt a special connection.” - Chef Shinichiro Takagi

“Through this restaurant takeover, we were excited to provide guests with an unforgettable dining experience which we hope will leave an impression of a lifetime,” said Chef Takagi. He added, “I had a very good experience from this collaboration. It was amazing to have guests from the US, Europe, and all around Asia coming together and enjoying Japanese food and flavors. I did my best for these dinners and I felt a certain special engagement with these guests because of the link with the Aman brand name. Each dinner location had its own character, but because it’s under the Aman umbrella, I really felt a special connection.”

For more information, click here