South Kuta, Bali/Jakarta. Bali’s Pandawa Beach used to be a secret beach only known to hardy surfers and enterprising locals. Like everything else on the busy tourist island, though, the spot didn't remain a secret for long. The local government officially declared the beach a tourist destination and opened it for public in 2012.
Located in South Kuta, Pandawa – named after the five heroes of the Hindu epic Mahabharata – is conveniently hidden by high cliffs.
Roads have been built leading from a small village called Kutu on the hills to the beach, but public facilities remain scant.
The pristine white sandy beach stretches over a kilometer and offers a perfect escape for tourists from the hustle and bustle of Kuta.
Roosterfish Beach Club, opened in June this year, is the first and only beach club on Pandawa Beach.
Managed by Renaissance Bali Uluwatu Resort and Spa, part of Marriott International, Roosterfish is a hidden gem, perfect for chilling all day.
"Roosterfish is all about playful experiences. It’s fun. It’s not pretentious. We’re not trying to be luxurious. Come down the bukit [hills] here and discover something very new," Renaissance Bali Uluwatu Resort and Spa general manager Brad Edman said during a media gathering on Saturday (24/11).
Roosterfish doesn't charge an entrance fee, the only thing you'll be given when you come in is a menu.
Food starts from Rp 55,000 ($3.8) and drinks from Rp 35,000. There is no minimum spend, as yet.
It has an open restaurant and bar, which allows you to interact freely with the chefs and bartenders.
The name Roosterfish combines two animals to represent the land and the sea, and the same theme is reflected in the menu.
There’s The Roosterfish Platter, a generous serve of banana-leaf baked baby snapper, betutu-spiced rooster, an assortment of sambals and thickly cut french fries.
Don’t be intimidated by the betutu chicken as it’s nowhere near as hot as the traditional ayam Gilimanuk Bali is famous for.
Then there's everyone's favorite, the Chili Crab Pizza. Sounds Singaporean? You’re not wrong.
Head chef Danang Wijanarka used to work at a Singaporean restaurant in Dubai, and he wanted to bring that experience into Roosterfish’s menu.
Another signature dish is Roosterfish Nasi Goreng, the ubiquitous "nasi goreng ikan asin" ("salted fish fried rice") served with chicken satays and a sunny-side-up egg.
Portions are very generous, so sharing dishes with friends and family won't be a problem.
Kids can also order half-size portions at half the price.
Things get more interesting as you head down to the bar, where the club serves three signature drinks: Bloody Scary Mary, 5 Spiced Mojito and Espresso Martini.
Roosterfish's take on the traditional Bloody Mary is made with Balinese sambal matah – a zingy concoction made of crushed shallots, lemongrass and chili.
Instead of soda, its 5 Spiced Mojito used "spiced water," a special mix of five secret spices.
Its Espresso Martini, a drink originally invented by Dick Brassal at Soho Brasserie in 1993, has gone native.
The club's general manager Adi Asmarajaya said the potent drink uses a coffee blend made from a mix of Kintamani, Toraja and Mandailing beans.
If you don’t drink alcohol, you can quench your thirst with Glory Fizz, a mix of apple juice, fresh basil leaves, cucumber syrup and 7UP.
After stuffing yourself with food and drinks, relax in one of the 80 sun lounges or take a dip in the infinity pool, which has a swim-up bar on the side, so you can order drinks without having to get out of the water.
Direct access to the beach is available through a footpath beside the pool.
Adi said Roosterfish gets around 150 guests each day, up to 200 on weekends.
The beach club can also be booked for parties. It's big enough to fit in 1500 guests (standing) or 300 guests (seated).
"Lots of conferences in the hotel have their gala dinners or after parties here," Edman said.
Roosterfish also hosts their own parties from time to time.
On Saturday night, it was the "Bohemian Sundown Party" featuring Sandrayati Fay, local punkabilly legends The Hydrant and Sunset People Project.
Celebrities Jessica Iskandar, Richard Kyle, Nana Mirdad, Andrew White and Nina Kozok also made an appearance.
The beach club is open everyday from 10 a.m. to 7 p.m. and can be accessed by cars or motorbikes.
If you're staying at the Renaissance Bali Uluwatu Resort and Spa, located just 10 minutes away, there is a free shuttle bus that leaves every hour to Roosterfish.
More information about Roosterfish is available on its official website.