Il Tempio is an Italian restaurant. There are many in Bali, in fact it is most probably Bali’s most popular foreign cuisine. Although surprisingly, not that many of them have an Italian in the kitchen, but this one does, Chef Dante Pagliani, who faithfully reproduces dishes from his homeland, some with a modern twist.
The restaurant is based in a garden setting at the front corner of the Bali Garden Hotel, surrounding their Balinese Hindu temple. At the front is a series of relaxing lounge style tables just above street level, behind are the more traditional ones in front of the open kitchen.
The quite large menu is nicely divided into well-defined sections. Start with the Salads, the traditional Caprese [Mozzarella di Buffalla with tomatoes, basil and virgin olive oil] and Insalata Nizzarda [a tuna salad with boiled potatoes, French beans, tomato, lettuce, black olives and capers].
Also on offer are international favourites Caesar and a simple Green. The Soup section is pure Italian; headed by the very traditional vegetable [MInestone] and seafood [Zuppa de Pesce], then there is the Chef’s special Vongele alla Sorrentina, sautéed clams in a special broth of the chef’s creation.
The Risotto menu combines standard offerings, seafood, mushroom and vegetable with the more exotic Parmigiana Radicchio [parmesan, radicchio and red peppers], an unusual one with bolognese sauce and a chef creation Blue Ocean Risotto, the Arborio rice coloured by the addition of blueberries and beetroot, cooked in white wine and lemon zest, studded with prawn meat, a large prawn sitting in top. It tastes as good as it looks.
The essential pasta menu is on three sections; gluten free, normal and home-made. The Gluten-free can be with either spaghetti or penne, all done four different ways with the offer by the chef to consider your own creation if you wish.
Normal pasta offerings can be Spaghetti, Penne, or Fettuccine. Most of the traditional styles are available plus a few specials that are a bit different such as a ‘breakfast’ pasta with scrambled egg, bacon and parmesan. Top of the range is the Marinara, full of seafood, wrapped in a parcel and finished off in the oven. The Vongole arrives at the table with a generous serving of spaghetti on centre stage surrounded by a full ring of clams sitting on their half shells….very good.
The Fresh Hand-made Pasta can be Ravioli, Cannelloni or Gnocchi with a mix of vegetarian and non-vegetarian options. I particularly liked the Pumpkin Ravioli, with its classic spicy arrabbiatta sauce of tomato and chilli.
Scalopeni is an Italian specialty but sadly quality veal is too prohibitive a price to be served in most Bali restaurants outside of the fine dining variety. Il Tempio offers you versions using pork instead [local and imported in two different sections of the menu]. Other ‘Italian’ restaurants in Bali do the same but do not bother to tell you. The most simple and most popular is the al Limone, just with lemon. Others can be with mushrooms or cooked in white wine.
Imported Pork gets its own section and the ever popular Pork Belly can be cooked with either skin-on or skin-off. Either way it is baked in the oven with potato wedges, and served with a variety of capsicum [red, green, yellow], carrot, eggplant and zucchini. You select the sauce; cheese, mushroom, black pepper or BBQ. Pork Loin, Neck or Ribs are also all baked in the oven. The Pork Neck is served with spaghetti aglio e olio, nice and spicy.
Main meat courses include Lamb [grilled chops], Pork [steak, with roasted potatoes], Beef [Angus tenderloin or the famous Polpette, meat balls] or Salsicce, Italian sausage. For a meat feast try the Grigliata di Carne a meat platter for two persons of grilled, beef, chicken, sausage and lamb.
Chicken dishes get their own menu section and can be Milanese [crumbed], Valdostana [with bacon and mozzarella], Parmiggiano [oven baked with a parmesan crust and tomato sauce], Picatta [green capers, parsley, white wine and lemon juice], or the more international Kiev [crumbed and stuffed with parsley butter].
For the ultimate meat dinner for the hungry try the Lamb Shank, slow cooked in a braise, with rosemary of course. This dish is so good with a glass or two of good red wine. Seafood can be tuna, prawns or white fish. The Grilled King Prawns are prepared in white wine, garlic and olive oil. Pesce al Cartoccio are seafood wrapped in foil and baked in the oven.
Even the Sandwich and Burger section is Italian. The sandwich is a piece of crumbed chicken Milanese, the burger is Angus steak between Ciabatta. All the breads are baked on the premises.
As it is Italian so there is Pizza, They are all sized at 33cm except for the gluten-free versions which are 28cm. All the standards are included, even that Aussie inspired non-Italian original, Hawaiian, with ham and pineapple.
Desserts are more international than just Italian, although there is the essential Tiramisu. Pineapple replaces apple in the Crumble, with raisins, toasted oats, palm sugar, coconut flakes and a strawberry puree.
To keep the small ones happy there is their own special menu; fish fingers, chicken nuggets, meat balls, small pasta serves and many ice cream flavours, even a mini baby pizza.
It is surprisingly great value from a hotel restaurant that competes, successfully, with the street around it. Chef Dante has been in Bali for many years and has developed his own loyal following with his very affordable comfort food that stays true to Italian tradition, if a bit cheeky at times.
Definitely worth a visit!
Restaurant : Il Tempio.
Address : Jln. Kartika, Kuta North.
Telephone : 752.725.
Open : 11.00 a.m. to 11.00 p.m., daily.
Non-Smoking Area : No.
Smoking Area : Yes.
Parking : Secure parking at adjacent hotel.
Price : Rp. 350,000 for two [+ drinks]
Credit Cards : All major cards.
Food : Italian.
Wine : Good list.
Service : Attentive.
Atmosphere : Beside the temple.
Overall : Authentic, good value.
Reviews that appear in Bali Advertiser are based on actual visits to the establishments listed, without the knowledge of the restaurants, and are not paid for by the individual restaurants.
Opinions expressed here are those of Gerry Williams and not necessarily those of Bali Advertiser. Gerry Williams attempts to write from a ‘typical’ diner’s perspective and, whilst quality of food is the most important criteria overall, value for money is the real measuring stick.
Copyright © 2019 Gerry Williams