Beachwalk is an amazing shopping centre, facing Kuta beach and positioned on the site of the old Sahid Hotel. It contains more than 50 eating houses of all levels, from food market to fine dining. As in all such centres throughout the world some places are busy others remain almost empty.
Café Sardinia reeks of professionalism and that should not come as a surprise when you know that the Cocoon management team is behind it. Anthony Bevilacqua being one of Bali's most experienced restaurateurs [how about the setting-up credentials at Ku de Ta, Gado-Gado and Cocoon?]. Young Italian chef Salvatore Pesti is in charge and he is openly enthusiastic about his kitchen product which is mostly Italian but some with an Asian blend.
Open early for breakfast they offer Eggs Benedict that is true to its name unlike so many bogus versions on offer elsewhere throughout Bali. English muffins are split and toasted, topped with ham [from the pig not a pretend ham] and some English spinach borrowed from the Florentine, and perfectly poached eggs [firm white, soft yolk] liberally covered with a thick tasty hollandaise sauce?simply the classic original!
Other breakfast options, sitting on their covered terrace listening to the waves crashing on Kuta beach just across the road, include perfect omelettes [no Californian flat dry disks of egg here], actually rolled and stuffed with wild mushrooms. The good old fashioned fry-up is available, eggs any which way, sausage, bacon, baked beans, etc., just pick your base and favourite add-ons. For something completely different Italian Crepes, filled with local fruits and a citrus cream, the sauce of caramel and almonds.
Something light for breakfast [or as an extra for a big breakfast] then try their kitchen baked Banana Bread, served with double cream and maple syrup.
Lunch can be a long lunch, start from late morning and take all day. A big selection of small [and big] eats, tremendous pastas that all originate in-house [otherwise why have an Italian chef?].
Tapas are anytime snacks whilst sipping a glass or two or tasty entrees before a meal. Many are served on that spoon that once was only used for Chinese soups but now often also for tapas. Salt & Pepper Calamari, Mushroom Arancini and Fish Goujons or Baby Squids stuffed with garlic, tomato, cheese, oregano and onion are just a few of the options. Other finger food tapas include 'food on sticks' for easy consumption; Prawn Skewers, Chicken Satays or Salmon Skewers with teriyaki sauce. Then there are the spicy Angry Potatoes, Bechamel Croquettes with hot salami or Spanish Potato Tortilla. It is a café so there are also Sandwiches, Wraps and Burgers.
A Minestrone Soup, thick and flavoursome, what else would you expect in a good Italian restaurant? Prosciutto & Mozzarella is full rounds of Bocconcini cheese fully wrapped with Prosciutto. A vegetarian starter is their Eggplant Parmigiana baked in the oven.
Healthy salads seem to fit perfectly with this open sunny beachfront location. All the Italian and International standards are here [Caprese, Caesar with chicken or prawns, Nicoise and Greek]. The Asian Duck Salad is perfect, tender balsamic glazed and roasted breast meat cross sliced and tossed with a variety of baby greens with coriander, mint, chilli, mango slices and sherry vinaigrette. Very Italian is the Octopus Salad, small pieces of octopus tossed with cherry tomatoes, leaves, diced potato, Italian parsley and lemon olive oil. Pasta is a good enough reason to visit Café Sardinia. The Parpadello Broccoli and Sausage should be the first thing you order, I think ir is excellent. It consists of long thin strips of perfect pasta liberally studded with clusters of crumbled Italian sausage meat, chilli and a tasty puree of broccoli. Linguine Vongole is pasta tossed in olive oil and garlic with clams. Paccheri Matriciana is large folds of pasta topped with shredded bacon, chilli, onion and garlic, perfect for those who want their pasta to have bite and taste! Then there is the Smoked Duck Canneloni with béchamel parmesan, truffle oil and baked mozzarella.
Pizzas, of course! All the standards plus a Wild Mushroom, Prawn and Salmon, Smoked Chicken, and Aussie with bacon and egg and for dessert a Nutella Pizza with sliced banana.
Mains include a little of everything, Steaks [tenderloin or sirloin], Pork Chops from the USA, that English Fish & Chips, Tasmanian Salmon or Barramundi. Different is their rolled Duck Breast, it sits on a small potato roesti, drizzled with a mixed berry essence.
One of Bali's most extensive menus for children [nothing over $5] will provide something for even the most fastidious eater. For dessert enjoy the wonders of Italy. Top of the list is the chef's signature Canoli exactly as his Sicilian grandmother makes it with chocolate and ricotta, wickedly sweet!. Others include a White Chocolate Crème Brulee, Raspberry and Macadamia Nut Semifreddo with mango agar and white chocolate yoghurt. Also on offer is Italian Tiramisu and Pannacotta, and an International Apple and Raisin Crumble with ice cream.
The wine store at Cafe Sardinia is a glass-fronted room at the far wall. All the wines on display are available for purchase to take away at prices well below what is commonly seen in Bali's supermarkets.
This menu and food quality is what you would expect to find in one of those elegant cafes on the Mediterranean, perhaps even on the coast of Sardinia itself, but here in Bali and at these prices it presents a most pleasant surprise!