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La Sal.....

Ole! Ole! OLe!

This time a few years ago Ricky Martin was singing that song about the previous World Cup, in Spain. If he was in Bali today he would be singing it about our latest Spanish restaurant. Another missing link in the great Bali cuisine calendar has been patched in.

It is situated on the back road that connects Drink Street [Jln. Abimanyu] with Eat Street [Jln. Laksmana], a large white open building housing Bali's newest restaurant. Unlike many others this one has 'worked' from day one!

Now that the wet season has finished [?] the tables have been moved out into the pleasant garden courtyard. What a pleasant way to dine at this mild time of the year.

Start with Tapas, hot or cold or a mixture of both. Patatas Bravas [sweet spicy potatoes]. Tortilla Espanola [perfect potato omelette], Calamari con dos Aliolis [deep-fried squid with both black and white aioli], Chipirones en su Tinta [baby squid cooked in its own ink] or Gambas Valencianas [garlic prawns with truffle oil] are just some of the offerings.

The stuffed mussels, Basque style, are large mussels still on their shell base but bread-crumbed and deep fried. The Tempura Sardines are baby ones that are also crumbed and fried but come with a shot glass of warm aioli foam, perfect for dipping. The Tempura Eggplant gets a similar treatment. The eggplant is sliced, very thinly, lengthwise, crumbed and fried till crisp. Top them with the Bloody Mary foam from the accompanying shot glass. In the same vein are the crunchy mushrooms [so soft and juicy inside the crunchy exterior], these come with a shot glass of red capsicum aioli.

Naturally that Spanish original is on the menu, Albondigas [home made meatballs], done 'Grandma' style. For a French-Italian variation there is always the Carpaccio de Ternera con Foie Gras y Nube de Manchego [veal carpaccio with foie gras and parmesan cheese].

The Gazpacho [how Spanish can you get?] is the real deal and presented Andalusian style. A thick Tomato Soup is littered with crunchy croutons, in the style of Cordoba. The fusion special is a sweet Roasted Pumpkin Cream Soup with vanilla oil and lemongrass.

Some standard salads with a twist; Green but with a truffle vinaigrette, or Avocado, Beetroot, Corn, Carrot and Asparagus tossed with balsamic. There are a pair of unusual salads; one of olives, quail eggs and balsamic vinaigrette, the other of Warm Goat's Cheese with honey-lemon vinaigrette.

Do you want your Bali seafood done Spanish style? Gambas Frescas al la Plancha con Sal Gorda [grilled king prawns with rock salt], Seared Tuna Fillet with ginger, olives and chorizo or Grilled Sea Bass with sweet paprika and an almond tuille are the normal offerings but also check the specials. The Crisp Pork Belly with casseroled lentils and mango is great but the Twice Cooked Lamb with tarragon juice is worth the visit to La Sal alone! A shoulder of lamb has been de-boned and cooked in a roll. The serve on your plate deserves to be eaten slowly, to savour every juicy, tender mouthful. Rich and powerful!

More International are the Vienna Schnitzel [with Sunshine Eggs] and the Wellington Tenderloin, a slab of fine beef topped with blue cheese and rose pepper.

I do not recall how many time I have been asked if there is a good Paella available in Bali. Look no further, here it is. Served in the traditional iron pan, it must be ordered in advance due to the preparation and cooking time to present it correctly, and must be for a minimum of two persons. You have a choice of four different Paellas. Valenciana is supposedly the 'original' chicken with green and butter beans [only the rabbit is missing], Mariscos combines fish, prawns, squid and mussels, Mixta puts seafood and chicken together. Vegetariana is self explanatory.

For something completely different try the Fideua de Pescador, a combination of pasta and seafood cooked in the traditional Paella pan, Spanish style!

If still hungry then there a few desserts with a difference. Choose form a Crème Brulee Foam with caramelized walnuts, a Champagne and Lemon Sorbet with raspberries, a Citrus Cheesecake with sweet and sour cranberries or a Chocolate Pate with Whisky gelee.

A selection of wines from Spain and Chilli and the best Sangria ever served in Bali, friendly and knowledgeable service from the young and very professional staff, tango music in the background all combine with Bali' balmy evenings to produce a magic night!

Another big winner for Bali!

Latest Visit: Now also open for lunch. Every evening they also have their Argentinian Churrasco, a large slab of beef cooked on the spit in the garden, as well as many other BBQ options.

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La Sal
Jln. Drupadi 100,
Lunch from 12.00 [mon-sat], Dinner from 6.00 p.m. daily.
Off street, secure.
Rp. 360,000 for two [+ drinks].
Credit Cards:
- Mastercard
- Visa
Spanish and Chilean.
Young and professional.
Magic garden setting.
Viva Espana!
Last Reviewed:
July 2007.
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