Review: Hidden Gem Restaurant & Wine Lounge – A pocket of paradise and sumptuous fare in Bali’s south


Named after something that possesses a value or beauty that is not immediately apparent, one of Uluwatu’s newest dining spots, Hidden Gem in Hidden Hills Villas, is a place you’d want to discover, and rediscover, after you learn of its worth.

Hidden Hills Villas has won ‘Best Luxury Resort in Bali, Indonesia’ at the International Hotel Awards and the ‘Best Hideaway Resort in Asia’ at the World Luxury Hotel Awards

When the award-winning Small Luxury Hotels of the World (SLH) member resort went through an extensive refurbishment in 2021, expanding significantly to 15 villas—almost double the pre-renovation number of villas—the in-house restaurant also went through upgrades both aesthetically and with their F&B offerings.

Touted as a ‘California and wine-inspired al fresco dining’ establishment, Hidden Gem’s vibe is laidback, the food complementary of both western and Asian influences. Inspired by Californian cuisine, the Hidden Gem menu is extensive, thoughtful, and uses locally-sourced ingredients. Signature dishes include the Hidden Gem’s Charcuterie board, Vietnamese spring rolls, handcrafted steaks, and Surf n’ Turf specialties.

To underline and complement the flavours and textures of the dishes, all dishes are presented with a recommended wine pairing. Most impressively, Hidden Gem has the most extensive by the glass wine list in Bali.

The turquoise infinity 8-shaped pool at Hidden Hills Villas with lounge areas, daybeds and bar

The Food & Drinks
Generally, when I’m trying a new restaurant, I prefer to order the simpler dishes because I’ve found that when they are done well, the rest of the menu usually fares just as well. From the a la carte menu, I chose three courses of a classic Caesar salad, penne aglio olio and crêpes Suzette.

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Classic Caesar with a medley of baby romain lettuce, bacon, eggs, croutons and shaved parmesan cheese, served with Caesar dressing and garlic bread

The salad hit the right spot, with just enough tangy dressing, crisp spears of lettuce, and garlic bread (that also came with my pasta entrée) that I couldn’t get enough of.

The aglio olio was a nice surprise, featuring a bit of a citrus kick to my tastebuds that didn’t overwhelm the garlic and olive oil flavours. Aglio olio is a good dish to order to determine the abovementioned benchmark I like to adhere to, and this iteration didn’t disappoint.

Penne aglio olio with cherry tomatoes, coriander, shaved parmesan cheese and garlic bread

Finally, the classique French dessert of crêpes Suzette. Crepes are one of my favourite sweet treats—there’s just something delectable about the tender and crisp parts of the delicate pancake—and I loved the caramelised orange sauce of this version that had an almost velvety texture that burst in sweetness and tang. After inhaling my last mouthful, I was replete.

Crepes orange, zest, cognac and mint

Not forgetting that Hidden Gem is just as much a wine lounge as it is a restaurant. A diverse selection of over 30 wines from around the world is available by the glass, so that guests can enjoy a personalised and varied tasting experience. Curated by owner Max Loong DIPWSET—certified sommelier with The Court of Master Sommelier—the list offers something for every taste and occasion. Wine lovers will also be happy to know that tasting flights can be arranged.

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The Hospitality
Flawless. The staff are attentive and polite, while knowing when to give you the privacy you deserve.

Location
Hidden Gem is Hidden Hills Villas’ in-house restaurant, located in the southwestern tip of Bali in Uluwatu. Overlooking the Indian Ocean, the hotel is approximately 50-minutes drive from the airport.

Hidden Gem Restaurant & Wine Lounge is where “you can savour the best of both worlds—exceptional cuisine and an outstanding wine selection”

The Noteworthy
The sunset view from where you dine is unbeatable and stretches out into the horizon as far as your eyes can see. The pool also features an ‘8’ design, which is “an emblematic symbol in Asian culture representing infinite abundance and harmony”.

Gorgeous sunset views of the surrounding Uluwatu area and Indian Ocean in the background from the restaurant

Part of the SLH collection, Hidden Hills Villas genuinely offers that boutique experience—and you feel it from arrival till departure. The place feels like an oasis, quiet and serene, where you can slip away from the hustle and bustle of the surroundings.

Hidden Gem is Hidden Hills Villas’ in-house restaurant and sits adjacent to the main pool

The Summary
I’d heard nothing but good things about the resort, and after my visit, I’d happily return. If you’re looking for a pocket of paradise and peace on the island, with some scrumptious food to boot, Hidden Hills Villas is a perfect choice.

Staff
Attentive and friendly

Food & Drinks
Classic

The luxe factor is:

8 Location
10 Service
8 Dining
8.7
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