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Authenticity and Generosity in Lombok: An Interview with Chef Surya Hadi Kusuma from Aura Lounge and Bar

Something wonderful is cooking at Selong Selo Resort’s Aura Lounge and Bar, renowned as one of the best restaurants in Lombok.

Chef Surya Hadi Kusuma is at the forefront, meticulously crafting a new seasonal menu that champions sustainability, health, and authentic Indonesian food with a modern twist — dishes reminiscent of what your grandmother might serve if she were a world-class master chef.

We sat down with Chef Surya to delve into his culinary philosophy, inspirations, and the unique dining experience at Aura.

Q: What inspired you to become a chef?
Chef Surya: “My culinary journey began with a profound love for food and the creative challenge of transforming simple ingredients into healthy, delicious meals. It’s about delighting people, nourishing loved ones, and the confidence in knowing I can always create something wonderful from even the humblest ingredients.”

Q: How would you describe your cooking style?
Chef Surya: “My style is a personal homage to traditional Indonesian food, yet it’s distinctly my own. Experimentation is key—I embrace the trial and error of new flavor combinations, which fuels my growth and joy in cooking.”

Q: Who has influenced your cooking the most?
Chef Surya: “My mother has been my greatest influence. She instilled in me that food should not only satisfy the taste buds but also evoke memories and leave a lasting impression.”

Q: What’s your signature dish at Aura?
Chef Surya: “Ayam Taliwang is our signature dish. It’s special because it’s infused with local herbs from our garden and traditional ingredients, like Lombok terasi and cabe rawit. It’s spicy, and healthy and delicious – a culinary representation of Lombok’s vibrant culture.”

Q: How do you ensure sustainability with your ingredients?
Chef Surya: “Sustainability is at the core of our kitchen. We prioritize locally sourced produce, sustainable seafood, and have forged strong partnerships with local farmers and fishermen. This approach not only ensures freshness but also supports our community.”

Q: What’s your favorite meal to prepare at home?
Chef Surya: “At home, I step out of my chef’s apron to be a husband and father. I enjoy making simple Indonesian food, comforting dishes for my kids, like mac & cheese or egg fried rice. For my wife, I occasionally prepare her a special curry that she loves.”

Q: What do you hope guests remember after dining at Aura?
Chef Surya: “I hope to represent Lombok’s rich culinary culture in such a way that our guests leave with a deep appreciation for our local cuisine. I want them to feel valued and hope their experience at Aura remains a memorable one.”

Q: What can guests look forward to in the coming months?
Chef Surya: “We’re thrilled to be rolling out new menu items that spotlight healthy, homemade dishes utilizing fresh, local ingredients. We’re enhancing our garden-to-table concept to give guests more reasons to return.”

Chef Surya Hadi Kusuma is redefining the culinary landscape at Aura Lounge and Bar, inviting every guest not just to a meal, but to a journey through the heart of Indonesian food culture.

Join us at Aura Lounge and Bar in the picturesque Selong Belanak, South Lombok, to experience the generosity and creativity that Chef Surya infuses into every dish he creates.