Posts Tagged ‘Massimo Italian Restaurant’

FOOD TRIPPING IN BALI

Mention Bali and food in one breath and the flavourful nasi campur that lights up the palate come to mind. But iconic local dish aside, restaurants abound in and out of Sanur that makes food tripping in Bali a very delectable experience. It is also an advantage to have a gal-pal who has had her ear on the ground when it comes to the culinary delights around the island.

Sanur is replete with myriad dining choices, but my culinary adventure always started each day with breakfast at La Tartine, the restaurant where guests of French-owned Hotel Puri Tempo Doeloe troop to from 7 am to 10 am. One’s choice of breakfast set comes with fruit salad, orange juice, and black coffee or tea. A creature of habit, my choice was always scrambled egg with fried tomatoes and herbs partnered with a thin pancake from the other sets of bacon and egg, scrambled egg with grilled cheese, tartine of the day, and nasi goreng (fried rice) or mie goreng (fried noodles). Each breakfast set is prepared on the spot with the right amount of oil and spices, and absolutely basking in freshness. For a mid-day repast of Italian, gal-pal Eta swears by the nonpareil menu of Massimo – Italian Restaurant on Jalan Danau Tamblingan. This more-than-a-decade old eatery sees nights teeming with diners already seated or waiting for their table. The first time we got there we had 40 minutes before we could get ours, so we had gelato (the cannoli is good) first and walked around the area. The gelato counter at the entrance is similarly swarmed by diners. The special dish that night was paccheri in salmon tomato sauce in which the creaminess of the sauce was a beautiful melding of cream and tomato sauce that zigzagged on the palate, urging me to finish the dish to the last tube pasta. Meanwhile, Eta’s favourite spaghetti carbonara was equally bursting with flavour. On our next visit I went for the classic mushroom fettuccine while she went out of her comfort zone and had spaghetti aglio olio.

La Tartine breakfast

Breakfast of scrambled egg at La Tartine, Sanur

pasta from Massimo

Paccheri with salmon tomato sauce from Massimo

Spaghetti aglio olio at Massimo

Spaghetti aglio olio at Massimo

Massimo gelato

gelato by Massimo

Another dinner excursion in Sanur led us to Kuu Izakaya Dining located also along Jalan Danau Tamblingan. Eta and I were in the mood for Japanese and took our chances when we spotted this one. Kuu was a serendipitous find: strong, palate-tickling flavours; food served on elegant glazed earthenware; refreshing Mango Tango and Apple Cinnamon drinks; Zen-like ambiance; and gracious servers. We had a feast: tempura ebi (crunchy and not oily), tori teriyaki (succulent and not salty), dragon maki (creative dragon rendition with the shrimp head), and chawan mushi (bouncy egg custard).

dining al fresco of Kuu

Dining al fresco at Kuu

Dragon maki

Dragon maki for two

Chawan mushi 2

Piping hot chawan mushi

Kuu

Kuu drinks

L-R: Apple Cinnamon and Mango Tango

Going beyond Sanur, it was Cafe Lotus on Jalan Raya Ubud for lunch. It is another iconic dining establishment on the island that beckons the guests because of its location and view. Located between Ubud Palace and Museum Puri Lukisan, and adjacent to a Starbucks, the sittings near the entrance are fantastic. They offer a majestic view of one of Ubud’s main temples, Pura Tama Kemudra Saraswati, which is the stage for the nightly performances of traditional dances. The temple lies beyond another pull-factor of the restaurant: an enormous lotus pond with ancient kamboja (or magnolia) trees joined by the newly added by orchids standing regally against the alluring blue skies. My chicken satay were not scrawny slivers of grilled chicken, but succulent chunks that almost melted in your mouth while Eta’s breaded chicken was not oily or thickly wrapped in bread crumbs. Sadly, service was less than welcoming – the server that greeted us was crabby.

Chicken satay at Cafe Lotus

Chicken satay by Cafe Lotus

view from Cafe Lotus

View as you dine at Cafe Lotus

Venturing into Kuta, we went American for lunch at Hard Rock Cafe on Jalan Pantai Kuta, which is just opposite the famed, crowded Kuta beach. Ironic as it may seem, I had the duck breast which wasn’t a disappointment. The slices of duck breast were juicy and the kailan crunchy. Adding a zing to the noontime meal was having chicken wings with tangy barbecue sauce for appetizer. Meanwhile, Eta’s fish and chips were a good choice – succulent fish that wasn’t thickly coated in batter or swimming in oil.

fish and chips from Hard Rock Cafe

duck breast from Hard Rock Cafe

Tangy Chicken wings

Food tripping in Bali is a gastronomic experience with the myriad restaurants ready for the picking. The choices are endless with each new day promising a palate-tickling, tummy-satisfying culinary journey.

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GELATO MANIA

Chatime is a lone stall along Jalan Bypass Ngurah Rai in Sanur, but I learnt that other outlets are starting to dot other regencies. Starbucks is everywhere on the island including rustic-but-slowly-getting-urbanised Ubud. Even the Thailand-made Fipper rubber slippers are ubiquitous. But what struck me the most was the ubiquity of gelato counters because every where you walked is a gelato kiosk teeming with people. Gelato mania is strong in Bali which is nonexistent in Bekasi. Naturally, I jumped on the gelato bandwagon duly accompanied by my gal-pal Eta who had sussed out the gelato to dig into. I needed to understand the mania.
My pick of Oops! gelato was an oops moment, meaning oops, it was a mistake to get a cup of gelato from it. Both Eta and I were unanimous in our review that the texture was nowhere near the rich creaminess of Massimo and Gusto. The taste fell flat on the palate. On hindsight, I felt like I was eating air. The experience wasn’t as exhilarating either as expected when digging into a cup of sweetness. The surliness of the old man who took our order made the gelato experience take a nose dive. I have always maintained that people working ice cream – or cupcake – counters must be as chirpy as the animals in the Walt Disney animated film “Cinderella”.

Gelato by Massimo Italian Restaurant

Eta was au courant about gelato and steered me towards Massimo. Located on Jalan Danau Tamblingan in Sanur, its counter is at the very opening of Massimo Italian Restaurant which is equally packed with diners, both locals and tourists, every night. A throng of people surrounding the gelato counter will certainly pique one’s interest. The crowd is made up of those having their dessert first while waiting for a table to clear; those dropping by for a cup or cone; or those ending their Italian meal on a sweet note. The beauty of Massimo’s gelato lies in three factors. First, there is a myriad flavors to choose from. That night I settled for a small cup of cannoli and Nuttella sitting side by side. Two flavors in one cup without additional cost is the second factor. You can mix and match any flavor unlike in Oops! Lastly, the servers, although busy, were not crotchety compared to the staff at Oops!

Second gelato stop was Gusto Gelato and Caffe in Seminyak that exuded that Massimo aura. It was jam packed like Massimo, but there was no lag in ordering and getting your gelato. The crew was hustling but far from brusque. Choice of flavors too was not limited to one scoop per cup and cone – one gets two choices at no extra cost. The set up was simple: pay first then move to the ice cream area where a crew member will collect your receipt and ask for your choice of flavors. My small cup – it is very filling – this time had a scoop each of caramel and matcha which I scooped clockwise melding the flavors into one delicious gelato swirl.

Back: pineapple and coconut gelato Front: caramel and matcha gelato

My curiosity was sweetly satisfied. The gelato mania isn’t simply to beat the heat of sun. Scooping into gelato is a delectable treat as you cool your heels and take in that relaxing Balinese vibe.