The picture looks a little something like this: Ku De Ta’s iconic red diamond umbrellas are vibrant against an impossibly azure sky, a light breeze swirling wisps of white cloud on the horizon. Sprawling daybeds beckon you to stretch out on this sunny morning, sip a smoothie and get mesmerised by the rolling Seminyak surf as the occasional horse trots past and colourful kites tethered to the volcanic sands flap and swoon.
There’s just one hindrance to a few hours spent browsing the papers or chatting with friends over brunch: Your children. Unless it’s Sunday.
Welcome to Ku De Ta’s Family Dayze, where a team of cheerful staff are on hand to occupy the smaller members of your family, so you might actually have a chance to drink your latte while it’s still hot or indeed eat your ricotta hotcakes without having to share with Ms Sticky Fingers.
On this early Sunday morning, a jumping castle complete with slide has been inflated to one side of Ku De Ta’s pool, while a canopy across the other shades an array of activities to keep creative hands busy. A gaggle of kids are filling tiny bottles with lemon, lilac, aqua and vermillion sand, bubs are lining up for their KDT helium balloons and all manner of crafty items are unfurling on the tables. A minigolf ramp is being set up and other activities you might find include facepainting and temporary tattoos, while on occasions such as World Clean Up day, the activities on offer will be related – think arts and crafts focused on recycling.
Later a barbecue will be fired up, with hot dogs, burgers, chicken wings and ice cream served to the kids – this in addition to Ku De Ta’s children’s menu, which chef Phil Davenport says was freshened up three or four months ago after an internet survey on what kids like to eat.
“We’re a venue that caters to every walk of life. We’ve got seven or eight different menus, about 160 things you can choose from — it’s a lot of food,” says Davenport, who has just returned from Singapore having seen Ku De Ta snag number 9 spot for the 2009-2010 Miele Guide to Asian restaurants (Bali’s Mozaic came in at number 6.)
As your kids are distracted, it means you can browse the brunch menu. All the standards are there, along with standout items including heurvos rancheros with a fried egg, red cumin beans, avocado, sour cream and rancheros sauce and the poached eggs on toasted sourdough with a mushroom ragout, ricotta and lemon butter dressing.
Phil says he and head chef Ben Cross sometimes adapt old classics to bring them up to date. “We don’t try and change the base recipe too much, we might just change the way it looks. We want to be able to present some old classics but done a little bit differently.”
It seems a shame not to ask for Phil’s suggestions just in case you linger on through a Sunday and into dinner. His picks? Start with the Scandinavian-style scampi skargan.
“It’s like a mayonnaise mix, some fine fish roe, some chives, some shallots, lots of lemon juice and diced scampi through it. It’s really tasty. It’s served on little hash browns… with some creme fraiche and some dill and some trout roe.”
As a main, among Phil’s picks is the sweet Alaskan black cod marinated in miso for two days, served with a really light pickled daikon salad – “a beautiful dish.” Or the roasted lamb rack, another classic that’s become a Ku De Ta signature. Dessert? “The macademia nut tart has been another classic that we’ve kept on and it’s one of my favourites, but I’m liking this mango parfait, and the double chocolate tart is pretty insane if you’re a chocolate head.”
But back to Family Dayze. The concept began six years ago, explains Donni One, Ku De Ta’s marketing and creative director. “As you know Ku De Ta has a wide range of clientele and families are a very big part of that. We decided to create an actual day for them, which would be Sundays, where families could come in and have their brunch or lunch and allow their kids to have some activities too for the day,” he says.
Now the Sundays are augmented on special occasions such as Christmas and Easter with bigger family days, with even more activities and entertainment. These days can attract 100 to 200 kids, while busy Sundays draw in around 80 to 100 children. Asked about whether the children might annoy other patrons, Donni emphasises that there’s room for everyone.
“But generally it’s really early Sunday morning — up until 1 or 2 o’clock. I mean some people stick around but we’re not talking like they’re running around spraying people with water guns!”
Overall numbers at Ku De Ta have held well over the past few years, despite the shocks of the 2002 and 2005 bombings on the island, Donni says.
“We’ve been very lucky, very fortunate. We’ve also got very good security here. We try to pride ourselves on having that. We outsource to people who come in here and train our guys and make sure that they always have the correct and up-to-date information on what’s going on as far as intel is going,” he says.
For large events, “we can get up to 100 personnel from the air force to police to banjars, and you don’t see them necessarily but they’re there, they’re there. And we need to do that so people feel safe to come here.”
Ku De Ta’s main market, Donni says, is very diverse. “We’ve got everyone from CEOs to fashion designers to just families and surfers. Especially having a beach club, it’s very, very casual during the day and as you move into night it’s a little more upmarket in a sense. And it’s good to see that when people come here they do want to dress up a little more.”
Jasper Manifold meanwhile is the man to talk to if you’ll be needing a cocktail as Sunday morning blends into Sunday afternoon and the kids are still happily making picture frames under the marquee.
Ku De Ta’s cocktail forte, Jasper suggests, are their fresh twists on old favourites.
“We’ve got cocktails here that at first glance people may –cringe isn’t the word – but find rather surprising at a venue that is offering five-star food and cocktails,” Jasper says. The pina colada may not be looked upon very well, for instance, but the original recipe was a very well balanced cocktail, Jasper enthuses.
“What we’ve done here is we’ve made maybe not the original recipe but we’ve definitely made a beautiful, refreshing cocktail — and then what we’ve done is put a roasted coconut foam on the top. And that is an amazing drink. It’s not too creamy, not too coconuty.”
Along the same lines he says is their long island iced tea. “A lot of the time I’d say it’s probably drunk by people who drink the drink because it’s the one with all the alcohol and it gets you drunk very fast. Whereas here what we do is we make a long island iced tea with all those spirits but the total amount is no more or less than a standard drink — but then on top there’ll be a coca cola and a lemonade foam.”
Then there’s the cuba libra, originally a rum and coke with a squeeze of lime. Ku De Ta’s take is a large measure of rum, served with a frozen ball of coke with a flower-cut lime – the ball nestles into the rum and slowly melts. “There will be a dark, beautiful rum that is very slowly softened out by the coke and the lime.”
The cocktail trend into next high season looks set to revolve around molecular mixology, Jasper predicts. Expect to see more items such as the bacon Manhattan.
“This is going to sound pretty weird but it tastes really good!” Jasper promises. The bourbon is infused with bacon fat, served in a martini glass garnished with a piece of bacon.
Now that might just go well with your eggs on a perfect Seminyak Sunday.