Five years after Room 4 Dessert made its Indonesian debut, the eatery now sports a new look and more ambitious menu.
Bali-based pastry chef extraordinaire Will Goldfarb is having a moment. His cookbook, Room for Dessert, an intoxicating blend of sugar porn and pop culture, was published by Phaidon last year. He recently starred in an episode of Netflix’s culinary docu-series Chef’s Table. And, riding high on that recognition, he has just reinvented and relaunched his Ubud venue.
“If you must expand, don’t build: Plant,” Goldfarb advises. True to those words, the new sustainable incarnation of Room 4 Dessert features two separate gardens, one a permaculture nursery where his young, talented team grow ingredients in raised beds for culinary experiments—think aloe vera, turmeric, rosella, and mangosteen. In the other, a more decorative after-dinner space, guests savor petit-fours.
“Bali is a paradise for a pastry chef as the pastry larder is all local,” says Goldfarb, a Long Island native who cut his culinary teeth with Ferran Adrià at elBulli and pastry icon Gérard Mulot in Paris before opening his own lauded New York dessert bar. The new Room 4 Dessert showcases the island’s tropical bounty on an intimate culinary journey through three distinct spaces and concepts, one inside, one outside, and one on the cusp. The setup is decidedly unconventional; patrons walk through the kitchen to enter the main dining area, adorned with airy, chestnut-hued drapes and a stopped clock straight out of Alice in Wonderland.
Techniques may be less scientific than in Goldfarb’s New York era, but the results are equally precise. Chefs plate up classically styled desserts—such as the mulberry-vanilla Planifoglia and an intense chai tea brûlée—before your eyes and pair them with beautifully structured cocktails. Surprises span the gamut from an aloe vera “ceviche” to an evanescent floral palate cleanser, from an almost unimaginably delicate pastry dragonfly to a gutsy banana blossom cross-section, the latter served double-fried with a squeeze of lime.
“Technically, it is a seven-course dessert tasting menu with drink pairings,” Goldfarb says. “There may be some savory and sweet snacks, but we would like to keep some mystery.” And with the few available sittings each evening booked up several weeks ahead of time, unveiling that mystery will require a little forward planning.
Jl. Raya Sanggingan, Ubud, Bali, Indonesia; 62/813-3705-0539.
More information here.
This article originally appeared in the June/July 2019 print issue of DestinAsian magazine (“Ubud’s Sweet Spot”).