LOLA the 2nd is found on the mezzanine level at the L [for Love] Hotel on Jln. Raya Petitenget. LOLA the 1st [no connection] was a leading French restaurant on Raya Kerobokan during the initial boom days for Bali dining, the premises now a BII Bank
For a restaurant in a hotel LOLA tries to be very different. Centre piece is a small pool, behind glass, which no doubt helps keep the area cool. To one side of the restaurant is a special table for romantic dining, Lovers Corner [pictured], two large lounge type chairs face a glass-topped table through which a small waterfall cascades into the pool. Very different!
First glance at the menu may lead you to think that this is just another Asian restaurant! Stop, look and taste, LOLA is much more than that. Quality kitchen techniques are obvious when you first see, and then taste this food.
It begins at the beginning! The bread is good and to present a small amuse bouche at a restaurant of this price is a pleasant surprise. Nothing exotic but a warm Dutch style Bitterballen served on a spoon, beside a small glass of thick tomato-based cold Gazpacho.
Thai Fish Cakes appear on many menus in Bali and almost all bear zero resemblance to the original Tod Man Pla of Thailand but are merely Fish Patties. Maybe with a sprig of coriander mixed in, nice but not the original. At LOLA they actually try to get it right, the fish minced very finely to produce an almost rubbery consistency. The menu says Sweet and Sour sauce to accompany, very Chinese, in fact it is Sweet Chilli, very Thai, though not the usual cucumber relish of Tod Man Pla.
Other entrée and snack items are a mix of essential standard International [Caesar, Soft Shell Crab, Gazpacho] International with an Asian touch [Thailand Tom Yum Goong, Beef Carpaccio with a foie gras wasabi foam, Goat Cheese with mango, peppers and a balsamic vinaigrette] and the unusual [Camembert Burger on ciabatta, Kway Teow noodles with prawn, baby bok choy and corn plus chilli jam].
Pasta includes Fettuccine with chilli and a Mushroom Risotto with truffle oil and Parmesan.
The current Chef's Special, with pride of place in the menu centre, is Szechuan Orange Chicken. Served in a stainless steel bowl it consists of amazingly tender pieces of chicken that have been tossed in the wok with long beans, baby corn slices, mushrooms and red chillies. Big on flavour and big on heat! There is no toning down of taste for the non adventurous tourist, this is the real thing!
Other mains also include the normal mix of International [Fish & Chips, Crisp Barramundi Fillet] some local specials such as an excellent Opor Ayam, chicken pieces so tender plated with nasi kuning, mixed vegetables and sambal goreng. The Pork Belly is served with crisp skin alongside noodles and a papaya lime salad.
An unusual main to be found on a Bali menu is their Beef Wellington. Prime fillet of beef is topped with a spread of pate then wrapped in filo pastry and baked in the oven. Oven baked steaks are always far better than those via the fiery grill, the pastry wrapping adding to the finished product by keeping all the juices inside, the result a tender steak to savour.
Amongst the vegetarian offerings is a tasty Vegetarian Laksa, Singapore?s favourite dish without the prawns.
Dessert includes chocolate as always, Valrhona Fondant with tamarillo coulis or a Crème Brulee Trio of coconut, vanilla and valrhona chocolate. Others include Caramelized Lemon Tart, a Pavlova from the antipodes and a Grand Dessert selection for two persons.
It has been a welcome trend in 2013 for new mid range hotels to offer interesting dining options rather than the standard International mix, LOLA succeeds admirably, food with taste at budget prices.