Ubud is Bali’s cultural village. It has an ever increasing number of quality restaurants to complement the lifestyle. It also has one with air-conditioning. Lamak has done it smart! There is pleasant outdoor dining, both around the central water fountain, and upstairs on the breezy balcony. At the rear of the balcony is an air-conditioned lounge, consisting of four large white leather banquettes and a scattering of smaller tables. Lamak is all style and totally unique as are most projects that have been designed by the late Made Wijaya.
When Lamak opened [Valentine’s Day 2002] it joined Ary’s Warung [where Chris Salans was then presiding in the kitchen] and the recently opened TeraZo as the only top level quality dining options outside of the more expensive five star hotels in the Ubud area. In the intervening 16 years Ubud has seen many quality restaurants open whilst most of Ubud’s tourist increase has been from the suburban budget background. So places that provide what I call ‘comfort food’ have boomed and any increase in the fine dining options resulted in a vast drop in their business as it has to be shared around, and now with the increased number of quality restaurants, a few of which are in serious trouble. This has resulted in both TeraZo and Ary’s joining many other once great restaurants in restaurant heaven.
Only Lamak has survived. Why? Because they have kept up with the demands of today’s dining, and now offer a range of light and healthy options. A cuisine that I would have to call Modern International, but with an Asian touch. The new menu at Lamak for this high season is quite amazing. An added touch is the sprinkling of edible flowers on many of the dishes.
In life if you fight against the tide, you drown!
Lamak has gone with the flow but without forsaking its credibility for fine dining having retained their popular top-end product [lamb rack, imported steak and other meats, great soufflés, etc.] but now also adding many more budget entrees and mains that use local product, however still with the attention to detail that only comes from preparation in a fine dining kitchen.
The new 2018 menu at Lamak is quite sensational, very cleverly assembled. Start with a Tuna Tartare with a difference, the best tuna, Yellow Fin, sits above a round of diced avocado, the tuna has been combined with sesame and a wasabi mayonnaise. A soy vinaigrette is drizzled on the plate. The dish has a fancy top sprinkled with lime slices and edible flowers. As with all the dishes here the presentation is perfect, all are very attractive and that instantly boosts your appetite making you eager to try them.
The Snapper Carpaccio sees paper thin slices of fresh snapper layered with tomato and ice plants [more edible flowers], topped with a lime and coconut dressing, so refreshing. At the table the dressing is added as are a sprinkle of tomato granite which gives a pleasant and refreshing icy crunch to every mouthful.
The Pomelo Crab is another perfect example. Easy on the eye and a great taste [pictured], in fact it is quite a knockout. A layer of crab meat [Kalimantan crab] is topped with chunks of pomelo on top coconut, thin cucumber strips, mint and an Asian style dressing [mint oil, lime juice and fish sauce], also added at the table. …Fantastic!
A Vegetarian starter is the Beetroot Variations, pieces of fresh and salt-baked beetroot together with slices of pickled beetroot with little bundles of whipped goat cheese is balanced by a reduction of Modena balsamic. Seared Scallops sees three large mollusks served with grilled baby corn and pickled blimbi, a lemongrass and red chilli puree for dipping. The Beef Tartare uses slices of Australian tenderloin topped with pears and a Korean dressing of smoked mayonnaise.
In fact a meal at Lamak just comprising the 6 great starters would be a very fine dining experience, and provide a great variety of taste. It would be a perfect lunch accompanied by a new wine they stock a very crisp Spanish Rose, the Francck Massard from Cataluna, as I recently experienced.
The massive wine cellar at Lamak, glass-fronted and just to the left of the cocktail bar, displays 111 different wines. quite amazing for a stand alone restaurant outside of a 5 star hotel. Included are the best of the local brands and a selection of premium wines from all over the globe. The cocktail bar at Lamak is one of the most professional to be found in a Bali restaurant. Under cover but at the edge of the garden courtyard, a more perfect setting could not be imagined. Margaritas seem to Bali’s cocktail of the moment. They are done different here as the Frozen variety are mixed with many different fresh fruit gelatos at Lamak. Their Frozen Daquiris, also come in many different fruit flavours, this is achieved by using fruit ice cream in the blender, a little different but very refreshing!
Dining at Lamak you experience classic French/Italian style cuisine but with the addition of subtle Asian spices. The mains continue the gastronomic journey. The Poached Chicken sees two thick strips of perfect flesh, poached [slow cooked] in chicken stock, the result firm flesh but so tender. They are topped with coconut crumbs and onions, a light coconut curry is added [poured over] at the table.
The Pork Belly has the skin completely crisp, it is accompanied by gastrique [a mound of green apple compote given the French sweet and sour treatment of rice wine vinegar and sugar, plus Chinese 5 spice to add a more local touch] and slices of Malang green apple.A Sirloin Carpaccio uses Australian Wagyu [MBS 7] topped with corn and the South American raw chimichurri sauce. Top of the bill is shared by the Black Angus Steak, served with seared foie gras, potato puree and a shiraz reduction and the esseential Rack of Lamb, another long time Lamak special, with sweet potato gratin, sautéed bok choy and the very Asian Hunan Sauce.
Desserts have not been forgotten. The Souffle has always been a Lamak special and a Chocolate one is on offer. As well there is a Pandan Crème Brulee or a Panna Cotta. However the special dessert is the Rice Pudding, serving two persons, made with vanilla bean, walnut brittle, dulce de leche and Crème Anglais; Lamak is still one of Bali’s classiest restaurants and now also very affordable.
Restaurant : Lamak
Address : Jl. Monkey Forest, Ubud.
Telephone : 974.668
Open : 11.00 a.m. to 11.00 p.m. daily.
Non-smoking Area : Yes
Smoking Area : Yes
Pick-up Service : To/from any Ubud hotel/villa
Parking : Street only.
Price : Rp. 900,000 for two [+ drinks]
Credit Cards : Visa, Mastercard, AMEX.
Food : International.
Wine : Excellent list.
Service : Professional, with style.
Atmosphere : A garden courtyard.
Overall : Fine dining, French with an Asian touch!
Copyright © 2018 Gerry Williams
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.