July 03, 2019

Massimo – il Ristorante has been the star of the Sanur dining scene ever since opening. It is probably the biggest restaurant in the area and without doubt the busiest. Part of that reason is Massimo the always present chef/owner who is forever attempting to improve what is on offer. His latest product to introduce on the menu is a range of that classic Italian dessert, Semi fredo. Massimo is a perfectionist, so it followed many months of testing and tasting plus the installation of a special refrigerated cabinet at the front of the restaurant in which to display the semi-fredo and maintain it at the required minus 5 degrees [semi fredo = half cold] even though the product has to be made at minus 20 degrees for setting. Semi fredo is sometimes referred to, incorrectly, as an ice cream cake or frozen mousse. It has a base of sponge cake and rum to which a vast variety of ingredients are added, On offer at Massimo is Trinakria [pictured] with pomegranate, lemon sorbet and strawberry, quite sensational! Also on offer is 800A [ricotta cheese, pistachio cream, cherry], 7 Segreti [cookies, hazelnut and chocolate], Black Lotus [Dutch speculoos biscuit, white and normal chocolate] and Zibaldone [zabaione, almond and choco chips]. All the semi fredo can be ordered by slice or whole so it is possible to share and try many different ones. I had always thought that the Italian Zabaglioni was the most luscious dessert but that was before I tried Massimo’s Semi fredo, magic!

Nagisa has opened at the Nikko Hotel, Nusa Dua. It is essentially an Izakaya restaurant in true Japanese tradition but Robatayaki is also served and if you sit at the bar in front of the cooking area, with the fresh ingredients all in front of you it is as if you are really in Japan. For the opening special platters are available, Sashimi, Sushi and Robatayaki.

Divine Earth is a vegetarian restaurant, with vegan options, on Jln. Basangkasa, Seminyak. It is a haven for those who crave plant-based food. Upstairs is a small cinema where you can watch old classics whilst eating/drinking.

Twist Ubud, Pengosekan, is one of the latest rave restaurants. Small and cosy it requires prior booking if going at peak times. Their Pork Caramel [a Vietnamese touch] is the goto dish although the chicken dishes are also very good [curries, cashew, etc].

Nebula is a trendy café in the old tourist area of Poppies Lane II, Kuta. Different from the rest it serves great coffee and a range of breakfasts, brunch, snacks and light meals. The cuisine is mostly Asian but also with many western dishes with Asian touches. Healthy breakfasts, wraps, burgers, etc. The Quinoa Salad is very healthy, the ‘Thai’ Beef Salad is not very Thai, served with lettuce [no lettuce in Thailand]. Bruschettas, Spaghetti and Sandwiches. The Asian menu includes a Korean Kimchi Fried Rice, a Korean Spicy BBQ Pork and Thai Fried Rice with pork belly. From Indonesia the usual Spring Rolls, Nasi, Mie Gorengs and a range of satays. The Thai Chicken Laksa is a mystery, ‘chicken tights’ I think they mean thighs, and Thai Laksa? Laksa is a Peranakan dish from a combination of Chinese and Malay cuisines…never heard of a Thai version?

Jollie Kitchen is a Middle Eastern restaurant on Jln. Kartika Plaza in front of and a part of the Paradiso Hotel. Bathinjan bil Humus [mixed vegetables with curry sauce, topped with feta], many Kofta [minced meat] bil Sanayah with potato curry, Labanieh with bread and garlic sauce, or Mixed Kebabs [both kofta and sheesh kebabs]. Mains include Shawarma [lamb or beef], Djaj Mahwi [BBQ chickcn leg with fatoush salad and potato or a fusion mish-mash of Spaghetti and chilli tuna, Rista bil Sammakh. Some nights even a belly dancer.

Johnny Tacos is a simple name and simple tacos [mostly of the fresh variety, rather than deep fried] is what you get. A small space close to the Green Garden Hotel, Jln. Kartika Plaza, it is easy to miss even though it has a very colourful décor. Always busy which tells its own story! A few other Mex dishes but it is the tacos that they all come for [with a wide variety of fillings].

Cat & Jo, Pengosekan, was, for a short time, called Navy Seals which was a very strange name with zero meaning to 90% of the passers-by. The menu is the usual ‘International’ with burgers, pizzas, etc., plus a range of Mexican. Some of the burgers are quite unusual, such as chicken teriyaki, and salmon, the double beef burgers seem very popular. Hongalia is on Raya Teges, Ubud, next to Arma Museum entrance. An Asian restaurant with the accent on Japanese, Noodle dishes are their main claim to fame, particularly the Chicken Curry Noodles. Japanese Gyoza, local Satays and many other simple Asian dishes, all served with a smile, reasonable prices and friendly service.

By Gerry Williams
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