Review: Aya Restaurant & Street Art Gallery

There’s a new restaurant right by Seminyak’s hip street: AYA restaurant. However, when we take a look inside, it’s so much more than a restaurant. It’s a street art gallery – and this is reflected in its decor and its food.

When you look at the brand on the web, you will come across a simple name: Aya Street. But we’re not talking about the famous Kayu Aya street in Seminyak because this Aya Street is located at the Petitenget street. We’re talking about the new Seminyak hot spot that has people buzzing about its cool cocktails, delicious food and the art gallery inside the restaurant. We visited the place this October, right before their Opening Party, and we’re liking what we see.

When you come to this restaurant, do notice that they have a dress code of no sleeveless shirt, bikini tops, singlets, board shorts or alcohol-branded attire, as well as no slippers, beach sandals and flip-flops. Just dressed as if you’re visiting a cool gallery or a fancy restaurant. It’s going to be a great night out, why not as well dressed for it.

We chose to sit by the Ceviche bar area facing the open kitchen so we can see Chef Marco Cueva in action. He came and ask if we have any allergies, and if we would like him to choose the food for us. Of course, we agree. Who’s better to choose our food for us? Chef Marco is originally from Peru, so he knows his food. This is exciting because we have seen some “Peruvian” restaurant in Bali these couple of months, but we never can distinctly describe what it is.

First off, he served us a bowl of fish soup that’s a classic Peruvian dish. This is what Mama makes in Peru, he said. Immediately it warms your whole body and getting us ready for what’s to come. Chef Marco explains that Aya Restaurant can be described as Peruvian Asian because they showcase Peruvian cuisine coupled with locally sourced fresh ingredients. There are influences from the indigenous Inca population and elements introduced by Asian immigrants, with a focus on Peruvian-Japanese (Nikkei) and Peruvian-Chinese (Chifa) fusion. Being from Peru himself, he wanted to introduce not only the fancy menus but also the ones that are cooked in homes by Mamas… the comfort food. We’re all about that!

Second dish or the first course is the Classic Ceviche which has all the cold seafood – from fresh fish, prawns, octopus, squids served in a lemony soup with potato confit and fresh herbs. This was so good and you can taste how fresh it is. Then he continued with a bowl of Tuna Nikkei Causa which is Peruvian Mash Potato, Tuna Tartare, Wakame, Tobiko, Avocado, and Wasabi Mayo. Again it is a home run! They sure know how to work their seafood.

It is so fun watching Chef Marco works because he often dances while cooking. The whole team is like an orchestra working in harmony. A great thing to watch! The third course is Novoandino Fish of the Day. It’s a beautiful plate of fresh Barramundi that sits on a bed of locro pure, quinotto, grilled asparagus and red paprika chimichurri. And for dessert, they gave us Churros with Balinese chocolate and two truffles: chocolate and green tea. Everything was plated beautifully and served in these pretty ceramics that was custom made for Aya by Gaya ceramics.

Guests can sit at the Ceviche Bar and enjoy the great beats, stunning art and top-shelf people watching on AYA Street with a selection of cocktails accompanied by nibbles and tapas. The selection of cocktails ranges from traditional Pisco-based temptations through to contemporary creations and classic favorites. We tried their most popular drinks: Duck Lips, D’Face and end the night with their dessert cocktails Tirami Sue Me. Just when we thought the night couldn’t get any sweeter, it did.

The interiors of AYA are by Helen Milne, who has created an eclectic and surprising space that perfectly captures a vibrant, social street atmosphere. With a carefully curated selection of street artwork, AYA is both a restaurant and gallery and with many tactile surfaces and finishes, is a space that awakens all the senses. Artworks include a huge mural by renowned London artist D*Face, sets of Banksy, Space Invader, Jan Kaleb and many others. Camino Ardiente Hacia la Luz is a beautiful mosaic inspired by Maximo Laura Camino, the award-winning Peruvian tapestry weaver. All artworks are for sale and there will be a rotation of pieces ensuring the collection is ever changing and surprising. Come visit Aya Street soon!

Jl. Petitenget No.99 A, Badung, Bali


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