Lada was once called Peppers. It was a South American restaurant at the then Sanur Beach Hotel, and a very good one as well. Now at the re-branded Prama Sanur Beach that restaurant is now Lada. The specialty is basic Indonesian cuisine and not only is it very good it is also very budget-priced. In fact many dishes here are surprisingly cheaper than what is available outside of the hotel at the nearby local cafes and restaurants.
The large indoor area is nice and cool with well-spaced tables, perfect for lunch on hot days. The covered two-sided terrace with garden views is for al fresco dining in the evening, small gusts of ocean wind from the nearby beach making it very pleasant.
It is always a sign of an excellent kitchen when they can turn what seems to be very boring and uninteresting ingredients into a dish that makes you stop and take notice. Now whilst I like most egg dishes the combination with fried bean curd did not really excite me! I have learnt over the years that when someone recommends a dish it deserves a trial. So Tahu Telor was the 1st dish I tried at Lada. It was the equal cheapest dish on the menu [@ Rp.30,000++] and I thought it was a perfect starter. Two round mini omelettes are stacked with scattered bean sprouts, cucumber and onion pieces. Very tasty and quite a surprise!
Spring Rolls are a must on any Asian menu, the Lumpia Goreng here is vegetarian accompanied by a tangy chilli sauce. Cumi-Cumi Goreng is fried squid with a sweet chilli sauce. Gado-Gado, the traditional blanched vegetable mix, is with boiled egg, fried tofu and tempe, covered with peanut sauce with a tang.
A variety of what the locals think of as salads, but are fruit or vegetable based dishes are mandatory on an Indonesian menu and make great side dishes. They can be Rujak Buah [slices of fresh fruit soaked in chilli tamarind], Lawar Nangka is classic Balinese [jackfruit with garlic and shallots] and Urapan [also Balinese, long green beans with grated coconut].
Nasi Goreng Sayur is fried rice with vegetables, sticks of chicken sate on top, acar [pickled vegetables] and sambal, whilst Nasi Goreng Ikan Asin is fried rice with garlic and salted sardines. Noodles can be the standard Mie Goreng with egg noodles, chicken and vegetables or Bihun Goreng, rice noodles with egg and seafood. The selection of Sates include chicken, lamb and beef, all served on small ceramic stands of burning coconut husks, with peanut dipping sauce..
Being so close to the ocean, seafood features prominently on the menu. Red Snapper is always a safe choice and here in Bali it is done Bali style, grilled over flames and served with their much favoured sambal matah. Other classic Bali dishes are the Sate Lilit [minced fish wrapped around lemongrass sticks] and Pepes Ikan [minced Mahi-Mahi fish combined with spices, wrapped in banana leaf and steamed]. The prawns and Tiger Prawns and done either grilled, served with chilli and sweet soy, or Sauteed with chilli and tomato. Lobsters are of the Rock variety, grilled whole, Manado style with shallot, tomato, chilli and basil.
The great Ayam Betutu heads the meat dishes, a spring chicken stuffed with spices, wrapped in banana leaf before being baked. Kari Bebek Deli combines the Ubud crispy duck with North Sumatran coconut curry sauce. Also from the same region is the popular Rendang Daging Sapi, tender chunks of beef in a well-spiced coconut milk sauce, not the dry version that is sold in Padang food warungs.
Gulai Kambing is lamb shoulder slowly braised in coconut milk curry sauce.
Very Balinese is Ayam Panggang Kalas, spring chicken, flattened and marinated before grilling.
In order to offer something for everybody, Lada also has a small selection of general SE Asian dishes so presenting a variety of tastes. From Vietnam is Goi Cuon, vegetarian spring rolls, served with a Thai style sweet chilli sauce. Pure Thai is their Tom Yam [spicy hot and sour seafood soup] and Yam Neua, a salad of tender marinated beef strips with cucumber, chilli and coriander. Chinese options include Chicken Kung Pao [peppers, chilli and cashew nuts], Black Pepper Beef [wok fried in oyster sauce with crushed black peppercorns] and Sweet and Sour Fish, large pieces of lightly battered snapper with pineapple and capsicum chunks in a nicely balanced sauce that was not too sweet, as is often offered elsewhere.
Desserts include the famous Balinese Bubur Injin, black ride pudding and those Indonesian favourite crepes, Dadar Gulung, sweet pandan and coconut. Rice flour and pandan leaves are rolled like a small omelette, the inside is coconut flesh and palm sugar, a sweet treat loved by all.
The new Sanur keeps offering great value new eateries with interesting menus, so different from what has been available in the past. Lada is a budget-priced opportunity to sample Indonesian cuisine from a modern hygienic kitchen, very enjoyable.