UMA CUCINA is street-side at The Uma Hotel in Sanggigan, north-west of Ubud.
Talented young Australian chef Nicolas Lazzaroni presents traditional Italian cuisine with modern interpretations. The restaurant is a modern open space with normal table settings as well as a communal table and lounge settings, and pleasant open terraces at front and back.
Lunch time offers a lighter menu. Start with Braised Octopus with tomato, chilli, chickpeas and green olives, char-grilled bread on the side. In my experience octopus can be very good or very bad [a lump of rubber]. Here chef has used the perfect slow cooking process to produce wonderful tender octopus in a rich tomato, Mediterranean, base. There is also a selection of three different Bruschetta, Arancini [Arborio rice balls stuffed with a braised beef ragu topped with a tapenade. Very Italian is the Board of Cured Meats, garlic rubbed char grilled bread and pickles. The chef's creation is the Fritto Misto; deep-fried Zucchini Blossoms stuffed with goats cheese, and pumpkin pieces all lightly crumbed, salted and crunchy with a salsa verde on the side.
A classic Minestrone, or a Burrata of candied beets, Crud of Kingfish or the sensational Tuna Conserva [pictured], a thick strips of raw tuna with slow cooked tomatoes, grilled peppers, basil, olives and capers. Char-grilled Squid is served with white beans, shaved fennel, arugula, red chilli and a lemon dressing. Tonkuzen Beef Carpaccio is with Reggiano Parmagianino, grilled mushrooms, pine nuts and truffle oil.
Lunchtime pasta is a choice of Spaghettini [crab, chilli, zucchini, lemon, mint and pine nuts], Garganelli [with braised yellow fin tuna, dried chilli, capers, olives and rosemary], Bucatini [braised beef short rib ragu], Pappardelle [slow cooked rabbit ragu, Porcini mushrooms, sweet peas and Pecorino] plus a Risotto [black ink squid, chilli, spec and coriander].
The salads are highlighted by a wonderful Salad of Roasted Vegetables, whilst that may not sound very exciting, in fact it is. The star of the mix are the slices of pumpkin [in the dim candlelight strangely resembling rashers of bacon with the cross burns of the griddle, in looks only definitely not in taste], it has been salt-cured then marinated before grilling, the taste unusual and so good. I am not a vegetarian but I could make a meal of this dish
Pizza for lunch? The classics include Marhgherita and Quattro Formaggi [Cream sauce, sweet onion confit, fresh mozzarella, gorgonzola, taleggio, pecorino, rosemary, radicchio, walnuts]. The chef's creations are Zucchini Blossom [with white anchovy, chilli flakes, ricotta and salsa verde].and a house made Pork & Fennel Sausage.
The mains are all grilled. Is Tonkuzen Sirloin or Baby Chicken. Seafood is Tiger Prawns or Yellow Fin Tuna with Sicilian style grilled vegetables. On the side can be Polenta Chips, Baby Beans or Salad.
The dinner menu is much the same but with a few extra mains. Roasted Pork Belly is with fennel, lemon and oregano jam, and a whole roasted Sea Bass is served with an olive, capers, white anchovy and parsley salad.
Desserts, anytime, are standard fare. A Lemon Tart with sweet cream, the Sicilian Cannoli [with poached tamarillos, strawberries and basil], rosemary-scented Panna Cotta, and Valrhona Chocolate with mascarpone and hazelnut crunch. There is Gelato and Sorbetto, of course, and it is made on the premises [as is their bread]. Their gelato of olive oil and lemon thyme is quite exceptional. Not the usual citric taste pf lemon but rather a delicate subtle one, fantastic!
Uma Cucina provides a lift at the better end of Ubud dining for the selective foodie. Only quality ingredients are used, as we have begun to expect from the international Como Shambhala brand, a chef with style and taste and staff that can only be found in Bali, with that natural Bali smile.
A special place for that special occasion, or just good eating, anytime!