There was once one in Kerobokan but it did not last long. Now we have one in Amed, of all places. I am referring to a Hungarian restaurant.
Amed has in the past consisted mainly of small local warungs, with just a couple of hotels offering anything different. The main local cuisine an Indonesian version of Cantonese Chinese, simple, tasty and usually excellent value.
Gusto is different in almost every way. A small comfortable dining area on three levels, tables well spaced, all facing out over the ocean from the hillside setting. Stained wood, walls and ceiling, provides almost an old world atmosphere, with plenty of greenery which always increases the relaxed feeling.
Even without the cuisine, Gusto is very different, the small well chosen menu exhibits prior restaurant experience for the owners. Major cuisine is Hungarian but of course just for a few special dishes as being in tourist Amed some local, and a few International, dishes are mandatory.
Any mention of Hungarian cuisine immediately brings the use of paprika to mind, and yes there is that traditional Hungarian Goulash on the menu. Now this is a dish that I have had at many restaurants around the world, most if which were not Hungarian specialists, and usually there was an overuse of paprika which I did not appreciate. At Gusto with the dish being prepared by Hungarians I found by contrast the flavour much more subtle. So good indeed, that the wonderful home-made bread was put to great effect to soak up all of the left-over sauce.
Home-made bread in Amed, in fact in any restaurant outside of major hotels, is unheard of in Bali. At Gusto it is just one of many small touches that put this place apart from the rest. Don?t get me wrong, this is not a fine dining restaurant, rather it is a small very well run place that pays much attention to detail and gets all the little things right! Fantastic!
Apart from the Goulash there is another Hungarian special and one that I had never come across before! They call it a 'Roast a la Brason'. Small strips of bacon and roasted pork are pan-fried with garlic and black pepper, unusual but very effective. Both mains are served with roasted potatoes.
More International is their excellent Wiener Schnitzel, an import from Austria. A great version of Chicken Kiev was also on the menu but is now missing from a cut down version of same, hopefully to return during the next high season?
That home made bread forms an important part of three of Gusto's simple appetizers, Bruschettas, Tuna Bites [three slices topped with creamed tuna and a slice of tomato] and very good Garlic Bread, so different from the Italian style these toasted bread slices have a liberal coating of chopped garlic, plenty of flavour there.
Amongst the more standard dishes are Lumpia, of course, but choose between a standard vegetarian [three small spring rolls in a crisp rice paper much better than the normal heavy Indonesian style] and an unusual choice but a very good one of finely chopped mushroom. Restaurants that advertise dips with their entrees then provide a mini dish containing one teaspoon of same, drive me crazy. The dip is often the most important part of the eating combination! At Gusto small ceramic boats contain all the accompanying sauce you could want. In this case they serve a spicy Thai sweet chilli sauce for the spring rolls and a mayonnaise for the Tuna Bites. As I said before, they get all the little things right, very good.
Ginger-glazed Mahi-Mahi and a Prawn Platter [grilled after being doused in garlic and olive oil] are the International seafood offerings whilst a Pepes Ikan [minced fish marinated in Balinese spices, wrapped in banana leaf then grilled over charcoal], and a local version of Thailand's Tom Yum Goong are the main seafood offerings although there are also seafood options with their Balinese Curry Soup [or vegetarian, chicken] as with either the Nasi or Mie Gorengs. Cap Cay [vegetables stir-fried in soy and garlic] and the earlier mentioned local dishes are mostly available in three different sizes recognizing the accepted way of eating Asian food, with a shared table.
Whilst there is no wine list, you can bring your own any time. Beer is available as is a range of fresh fruit juices [Hot Ginger Lemon & Honey] and 'mocktails' [watermelon, pineapple, banana and lime], teas and coffees [espresso].
In this small fishing village of home-stays, beach and snorkeling there is an ever increasing range of cuisines in the small local restaurants and warungs. Naturally seafood reigns supreme, nowhere else in Bali is it fresher, often straight from fishing boat to kitchen. In addition to the local Balinese, Indonesian and Indo-Chinese cuisines you can also eat Czech, Japanese and Italian with touches of French and German.
Hungarian at Gusto is a great addition, great value, classy and relaxed!