Il Lido is found at what has been the restaurant Warisan for the past 25 years. Now under the management of Beppe de Vito, a household name in Singapore with the gourmands of that island.
Warisan is an integral part of Bali's food history. Initially surrounded by rice paddies, a lone building in the 'country', it offered the first quality food option at a stand alone restaurant outside of the major hotels. Warisan began life as an Italian restaurant, it then went Vietnamese for a time before making its name with French cuisine. Now the cycle has been completed and it is once again Italian, and very fine dining!
Beppe de Vito came of age, so to speak, as the chef of the multi award winning Garibaldi in Singapore before branching out on his own with Il Lido at Sentosa Island. Since then more restaurants have been added to his Singapore chain; Latteria, Southbridge and &Sons, with more to come soon. Now Il Lido Bali has been added to this ever growing successful group.
Classic Italian dining, with modern interpretations is the best way to describe Beppe?s food. As with all great Italian restaurants world-wide, the essence is to begin with the best quality fresh ingredients, sometimes a difficult task here in Bali.
Start with Calamari? Why is it that Italians can always cook squid correctly, and virtually no one else can? At Il Lido it is crunchy but still tender baby calamari, a plate of little black rings as it has been cooked in a mayonnaise of squid ink. Octopus with Nudja [an Italian pork sausage, nicely spicy] is also a great entrée, as is Scallops in a lobster sauce, covered with young crisp asparagus spears.
Staying with seafood starters there are also Crab Cakes with a cream of avocado and Tuna Tartar which is with tomato caviar and beetroot. Then for the big spenders, you can order Sevruga Caviar with angel hair pasta.
Pork Loin is thinly sliced and tossed with a salad of apple and truffles. The Carpaccio is thinly sliced Wagyu beef, also with those crunchy spears of young asparagus, it is an incredibly delicate dish. The Foie Gras is roasted with butternut and shallots. Jamon Iberico de Bellota is stolen from Spain, that incredible ham that is made in a long process using only black Iberian pigs that have been fed a lifetime diet of acorns.
All the entrees here are best ordered in a group, slowly tasting the variety of combinations, one by one. There are also a selection of vegetarian options, including Eggs with crisp whites and a Mushroom Cacciatore, a simple salad of Grilled Peppers, capers and mozzarella or Zucchini Flowers with smoked Scarmorza [an Italian cheese made from cow's milk] but the highlight was definitely their Gnocchi Pumpkin Gratin, the pasta actually served in a hollowed out pumpkin base. But then in any quality Italian restaurant you automatically expect quality pasta, al dente, and that is what you get at Il Lido.
Other pasta dishes include perfect Beef Agnolotti that has been stuffed with a mix of mushrooms and gorgonzola, Spaghetti Seafood tossed with clams, etc. The Tagliatelle is with quail ragu and smoked ricotta and the Ravioli has been filled with truffle cheese and drizzled with veal jus.
Ossobuco is an essential component of any good Italian menu. The veal shank is served at Il Lido with a saffron risotto. Italian chefs all around the world have often kept a perfect bone slice from an Ossobuco and after removing the marrow [eating it of course] it serves as a toggle for the mandatory white linen scarf which they wear around their neck.
The Duck Trio [pictured] comprises a crisp leg confit, tender smoked breast meat [perfectly pink] and foie gras. This dish s worth the visit alone! The Tenderloin of Beef is from the Black Angus, served with a crust of bone marrow, and the Wagyu is done Tagliata style [sliced] tossed with truffled potatoes and asparagus. The Veal Milanese causes a stir on its arrival, so big it is virtually American style, the ends almost hanging off the plate. Crumbed, it is not unlike a Schnitzel from Vienna and as with that dish you squeeze lemon juice across the meat.
The seafood options are many, Red Snapper with glazed fennel, the Swordfish is with tomato and salmoriglio [a Sicilian sauce of lemon juice, olive oil, minced garlic, chopped oregano and parsley, salt and pepper], Black Cod is with a prawn cacciucco [Tuscan fish soup] and then there are Baby Lobsters that come with a saffron tagliolini pasta.
Dessert is the time for a couple of Italian specials. Tiramisu is probably one of the most abused dishes as offered in restaurants, both Italian and others, sometimes not much more than a sloppy mess. Here it has the most perfect consistency, firm but moist, and that flavour! Sabayon, or Zablagione as I have always known it, is another Italian special, so sweet but oh so good. Cheese Platters can be a disaster in Bali but this one is very good with quite a selection of cheeses.
Quality fine dining in one of the most elegant but relaxed settings in Bali.
Beppe de Vito, welcome to Bali!