Well it is not quite that, but at least you are eating Italian food, smelling the salt of the sea, and listening to the crashing waves. Out on the pleasant boarded area, above the ponds and goldfish and under the shade umbrellas, regular sea breezes keep you cool. If only the waiters spoke Italian, you could pretend!
I originally came in for just a coffee. To escape the past hour of frustrating traffic jams. To regain sanity rather than just a caffeine-fix! The first thing I noticed at Papa's Cafe, was that I seemed to be surrounded by a bunch of young smiling faces. The staff all have that combination of personality and self-confidence, backed up with a level of professionalism in their work, that makes them stand out. Youthful energy abounds, what a refreshing change for Bali!
Papa's had been on my `to do' lost for some time. My automatic perusal of the menu whilst sipping my good espresso, presented a few surprises. Though not particularly hungry, the Fetta di Salmone Affumicato grabbed my attention. I couldn't help myself, I had to try it! The slices of Tasmanian smoked salmon curled on disks of brown crispy potato rosti, topped with a delicate cream sauce, were just perfect for a mid-afternoon snack.
I was soon to return for a full assault on their menu. The old stand-by Bruschetta is there, but so is a local version, Bruschetta al Salmone e Avocado. Slices of garlic bread topped with smoked salmon and avocado, added to a mix of diced tomato and red onion. A nice variation! To be more exotic you can have Crespelle ai Frutti de Mare. Oven baked Italian crepes that have been stuffed with a mixture of seafood, mozzarella, parmesan and bechamel sauce.
Marinata di Polipo is simply octupus that has been marinated in extra virgin olive oil. The Beef Carpaccio is thinly sliced Australian beef with rucola, parmesan flakes and extra virgin olive oil. Cozze alla Marinara are Australian blue mussels with garlic, chilli and tomato sauce. They are served with garlic bread.
There are seven different salads including an Insalata Rucola. Rocket salad with shaved parmesan, marinated mushrooms, beef bacon, avocado and a balsamic dressing. The beef bacon is normal at Papa's, as everything on this menu is 100% Halal, due to the fact that the restaurant, whilst it has totally separate management, is a part of the adjoining Malaysian owned and managed hotel. There is also an Insalata Pollo Affumicato e Avocado. A freshly different salad of smoked chicken and avocado pieces tossed in organic lettuce.
Five Risottos', all made with Arborio rice, include an Aragosta [lobster] and a Bolognese [minced beef, tomato sauce and green peas]. As you would expect, in an Italian restaurant, pastas abound. There are the cheaper, and more normal offerings such as an excellent Gnocchi al Pesto [little homemade potato dumplings tossed in a sauce of fresh basil, garlic and extra virgin olive oil], or a Lasagna al Forno in either traditional form or as a vegetarian version [Vegetariana]. Tortellin Papa's is a home made chicken filled tortellini, that is served with a beef bacon and mushroom in a creamy sauce.
At the other end of the scale there is a Fettuccine al Aragosta Thermidor. Chunks of lobster amongst strands of fettuccine awash in a wonderful lobster bisque sauce, topped with mozzarella and cream.
Pizzas are not forgotten, of course! You have 12 different topping combinations to choose from. A Capricciosa is mozzarella, tomato paste, oregano, black olives, beef salami, mushrooms and olive oil. Whilst the Siciliana is mozzarella, tomato paste, oregano, fried eggplants, anchovies and chilli. Vulcano & Calzone are also available for those who prefer their pizzas, sandwich style, with a slab top and bottom and the topping as the filling.
Scaloppine con Crema e Funghi are delicate escalops of veal in a cream mushroom sauce. The Pollo Fritto is a pan fried chicken breast that is served with grilled vegetables, a pesto mash and rocket. Bistecca al Pepe Nero is an Australian fillet of beef served with a pepper sauce. Whilst Papa's Duo is a piece of the same steak, in a mushroom sauce, matched with some Chardonnay Chicken. Like most mains at Papa's, they come with roasted potatoes and grilled vegetables.
Gamberoni all'Aglio con Roisotto are king prawns in a creamy garlic sauce served with riosotto. No Italian restaurant would be the same without a serve of Calamari Fritti. Breaded calamari rings, deep fried, and served with an aioli sauce, lemon and French fried potatoes.
Desserts at Papa's are rather simple. A choice of cakes to have with your espresso; Tiramisu, Black Forest or Baked Cheese.
The reasonably priced wine list originates in France, Australia and Italy. There are even a number of different wines by the glass, not just the usual cheap commercial ones available everywhere.
Sure it is a large menu, but I guess it has something for everyone. A most pleasant location, particularly when that nice breeze is blowing in off the water. Fun service that is still able to retain that professional edge. What a great way to escape from Bali's traffic; unwind and relax at Papa's!