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Elegant touches for the exotic, local and rare

CHEF RAGIL IMAM WIBOWO launched NUSA–which gets its name from the Indonesian word for archipelago–to take advantage of his journeys to the nation’s most remote parts, when he asks local farmers about plants and spices unknown outside the region–or when he chases down secret local sauces in traditional markets that don’t appear on Google Maps. While menu changes are frequent at NUSA, depending on chef’s finds; what is constant is Ragil’s superior execution and refined presentation of traditional dishes, and the delicious use of impossibly hard-to-source ingredients from Indonesia’s farthest
corners. Ragil might use molecular gastronomy techniques for one dish, then counter with a brilliant pairing, such as an avocado gelato and durian parfait stuffed with coffee and a coconut milk sauce. Set in a lovingly restored Dutch colonial mansion from the 1920s, NUSA offers an intimate (36 seats, two seatings) dining area in a space designed by Ragil’s wife, the architect Mei Batubara. Art Deco windows overlook a garden where chef cultivates rare Indonesian herbs, while Ragil’s kitchen boasts traditional cooking tools he’s picked up in Sumatra, Kalimantan and beyond–as well as a traditional Balinese clay oven.(cr)




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