Back in the 1980?s there were just a handful of restaurants in Bali that were of International standard, over-priced hotel food and less than hygienic warungs were the order of the day. The better stand alone restaurants that did exist were to be found in the Kuta area. Such a place was the Swiss managed Un?s, secreted down a back lane close to Made?s Warung, but known to all.
The same management took over the delightful garden restaurant at the rear of the Umalas Hotel and Stables, in Kerobokan, a few years ago. Many others had failed here, but this version worked well. Now that stable complex has been sold [no doubt for yet another hotel or villa complex], but we have not lost the classy but budget priced Lestari. They have moved to where Sorriso was at the Dhyana Pura end of Jln. Drupadi in Seminyak, a far more central location and the new Lestari is sure now to take its rightful place in the Bali dining scene.
A variety of breakfasts lead the way, and they are available from the real breakfast time of 8.00.am. The Special includes the normal [juice, toast, eggs, bacon and hot drink] plus a chorizo, frankfurter and steamed tomato. Lunch is a very International mix. Vegetarian Spring Rolls, Thai style with sweet chilli sauce, a Duckliver Pate is framed with a mango coulis. There is a German Chicken Frikadelle, small patties of minced chicken and spices, very tasty, or a Swiss Salad [cheese, sausages, potatoes and egg with a Swiss cheese dressing]. Sausages Bernese are sausages, with a smoky flavour, filled with Swiss Emmenthal cheese and wrapped with bacon.
Lestari are very proud of their Pasta & Risotto menu, everything is made on the premises. Ravioli leads the way with 5 completely different fillings; Rocquefort cheese with walnuts on a lemon cream sauce, ricotta cheese and spinach on salvia butter [butter with aromatic sage], mushroom is with champignon, onion, garlic and cream or smoked marlin. Most unusual is the ?Balinese? Ravioli, of minced chicken and herbs. You can order the Carousel and that includes all 5 of these raviolis.
Their fresh Potato Gnocchi is done Napolitana style with simple tomato and basil. Risotto Rocquefort is with that unique French cheese, watermelon and broccoli. Other homemade pastas include Spaghetti [crab meat and oven roasted tomato], Penne [in tomato and chilli], Agnolotti [stuffed with beef bolognese] and Taglaitelle [with bolognese or pesto]. All the pasta is cooked the perfect ?al dente?, not with that plastic or rubber texture too often seen elsewhere, and all are available in small or large servings. The dinner menu is a blend of International dishes with the emphasis on French and Swiss. It is also available for lunch if you feel like dining more grandly! Their Asian Wonton was a total surprise. Instead of the deep fried wonton I expected it was a pasta sachet stuffed with chicken confit, diced apple and chives surrounded by a tangy sauce, excellent! There is also a Vol au Vent filled with chicken ragout and champignons or Saffron Marinated Butterfish wrapped in nori seaweed as a part of a watercress and cucumber salad with pickled ginger.
The Entrecote takes pride of place on the main menu with its kitchen prepared Café de Paris herb and butter sauce and potatoes allumettes [straw potatoes]. Not far behind is their Lamb Shank, oven braised, very slowly, with red cabbage. The Poussin [baby chicken] has been deboned and the pieces herb marinated then baked till the skin is crisp, the flesh remains tender. A traditional Steak au Poivre is made correctly with a brandy and cream sauce but with pink and green peppercorns. Medallions of Pork Tenderloin are served on Swiss Roesti with a bunch of green beans wrapped in bacon.
Seafood is served simply or with a light sauce or herb that complements so as not to ruin the taste of quality fresh fish. Sashimi grade Tuna [pictured] is cut into medallions and sits on a vegetable base with dill sauce with Thai jasmine rice, what a great dish the tuna just seared. The Silver Dory is with lemon butter and the Butterfish is topped with black and white sesame seeds in a light garlic butter sauce.
A Swiss Beef Fondue Bourguignone provides beef tender loin, cubed so you can cook at the table on the long fork and dip in 4 different sauces, just do not forget to change forks, between the cooking one and the eating one. There are other fondue combinations including the incomparable Swiss cheese fondue. However Fondue can only be ordered for a minimum of two persons.
The Lestari BBQ is free flow and includes salads with a variety of dressings, Tenderloin of Beef, Medallion of Tuna, Chicken Breast, Frankfurters and Chorizo sausages with baked potatoes, and many different sauces. There is also a small selection of Indonesian dishes, particularly for those mixed groups, headed by a Beef Rendang with plenty of spice. Gulai Babi is pork in a Balinese curry with crisp tempe and a potato bergedel.
To finish the Swiss Toblerone Chocolate Mousse is a must! It is served with a tangy berry coulis as are the Sour Cream Blinis, but they are also with a white wine sabayone. Crème Catalane is different, vanilla cream with shavings of orange and lemon peel, caramelized before serving.
For the upcoming high season [July to September] a special set menu is available @ Rp.195,000; Tuna Tartar, Entrecote of Beef and the Toblerone Chocalate Mousse. To cap off a pleasant dining experience it is a surprise to discover that all prices on the menu are inclusive of all tax and charges. The sign of a professional who is proud of what he offers, why cannot everyone do that?