Right in the heart of Seminyak, lies “Seventh Heaven” or Settimo Cielo. This fine Italian restaurant was opened by Chef Nicolas Lazzaroni who had been making a name for himself in Indonesia since 2011 with his previous work with Bridges Bali, Uma Cucina and his latest project, Opia. Settimo Cielo is a rustic refined Italian restaurant that has quickly became a benchmark for quality Italian cuisine in Bali. The design is contemporary yet has a relaxing atmosphere. This is also shown in their dishes where they blend modern sophistication with the traditional warmth of an Italian kitchen. Naturally, this is the same feeling we got when we talk to Andrew J. Leith, the General Manager for The Layar and Settimo Cielo.
WNB: Nice to meet you, Sir. Can you tell us a bit about your background?
Andrew: I am from New Zealand. I’ve been working in hotels for 25 years now, all over the world: Australia, New Zealand, Fiji, Turks and Caicos Island of the Mediterranean, the Maldives and now Bali. My experience is in smaller property and boutique luxury hotels and villa resorts. I’ve been in Bali for the last five years, and I love it.
WNB: When did Settimo Cielo first started?
Andrew: This restaurant open in July 2015. The owners of the company are Italians who obviously have a passion for food and wanted to develop this in their own restaurant. Settimo Cielo, in collaboration with Chef Nicolas, showcases this passion.
WNB: What type of Italian cuisines does Settimo Cielo serves here? Is it traditional or fusion?
Andrew: If you speak to the three Italian owners, all will tell you different thing about what is a traditional Italian food, because it depends on the region. The menu is designed to have traditional flavors but served in a modern rustic presentation – this is what we mean by rustic refined. The flavors are a little twist on the traditional but in keeping with tradition, and are certainly not fusion. There are dishes from all over Italy and not just focusing on one area.
WNB: What do you mean by rustic and refined? Would you say this is a fine dining restaurant?
Andrew: This is a high end restaurant, but we wouldn’t call it fine dining. You won’t find big plates will bite size food here, but you will find generous portions served “rustically” such as steak served on serving boards, and the use copper pots and ceramics. It’s well presented but not finicky.
WNB: Can you tell me more about the interior design?
Andrew: We didn’t want to be another Italian restaurant that look kind of similar all over the world. It’s a modern look and works well for all day and all night. It’s done by HC2 – Cempaka design and they did a great work. It’s modern and comfortable.
WNB: This is one of the first restaurants you manage. When you start, do you make a lot of changes?
Andrew: Thankfully, when I arrive in June 2016, it is already running well. At that time, the place is already open for a year. The first year in a restaurant business is always interesting. I came on in an opportune time because the restaurant is already in a great position and has great reputation in Bali. The review is great on TripAdvisor, and people know us. The place is booming. So, I don’t want to change a lot. The staffs are really good. The restaurant is based on its food, so the priority is to keep the food great. We concentrated on developing our service, ensuring all our dishes were the best they could be, and ensuring the all-round dining experience was as faultless as possible. We continually develop our wine list to ensure quality wines at a reasonable price so our guests can come and enjoy their dining experience. We want the food to speak for itself – but it should always be enjoyed with a good glass of wine.
WNB: How often do you and the Chef sit down and discuss the food?
Andrew: Perhaps everyday. Well, the menu is pretty much the same. The Chef and I sit together daily and talk about the food and refined some of the menu. We do special function and special event menu. We are also planning some special menu for some nights. We recently introduce the Grazing Lunch, which was a bit of an innovation.
WNB: What’s next for 2017?
Andrew: In 2017 we probably do a little review on the menu. I don’t want to make something gimmicky for the sake of it or to look good in photographs. I think the presentation of the food is already so beautiful and unique that people keep on instagraming it anyway.
WNB: What about you personally… are you a foodie?
Andrew: I go to a lot of restaurant here in Bali. There are always new places to try and there are the classics that have been here since forever. This is what I do for fun… go to restaurant, spend time with the family, drink wine and some days play golf. A couple of days a week or on the weekend I will go with my wife. This is what I love the most about Bali: the freedom to do anything you like. You can go to the beach and eat nasi bungkus that is so cheap, or go out to a superb five star restaurant. I like the freedom to do both things whenever I like.
Jl. Pangkung Sari 10X, Seminyak.
T. +62361 – 474 1117