Ubud is Bali's cultural village. It has an ever increasing number of quality restaurants to complement the lifestyle. It also has one with air-conditioning. Lamak has done it smart! There is pleasant outdoor dining, both around the central water fountain, and upstairs on the breezy balcony. At the rear of the balcony just beside the wine room, is an air-conditioned lounge, consisting of four large white leather banquettes and a scattering of smaller tables. Lamak is all style and totally unique as are most projects that have been designed by Made Wijaya.
When Lamak opened [Valentine's Day 2002] it joined Ary's Warung [where Chris Salans was then presiding in the kitchen] and the recently opened TeraZo as the only top level quality dining options outside of the more expensive five star hotels in the Ubud area. In the intervening 12 years Ubud has seen many quality restaurants open whilst most of Ubud?s tourist increase has been from the suburban budget background. So places that provide what I call 'comfort food' have boomed and an increase in the fine dining options has seen a vast drop in their business as it was shared around, and now by the increased number of quality restaurants, a few of which are in serious trouble.
In life if you fight against the tide, you drown!
Lamak has gone with the flow but without forsaking its credibility for fine dining having retained their popular top-end product [lamb rack, imported duck breast and other meats, great soufflés, etc.] but now also adding many budget entrees and mains that use local product, however still with the attention to detail that only comes from preparation in a fine dining kitchen.
The cocktail bar at Lamak is one of the most professional to be found in a Bali restaurant. Under cover but at the edge of the garden courtyard, a more perfect setting could not be imagined. Different hand-blown glasses are used for each cocktail. Try the Lamak Mango [juice from fresh mango flesh with cointreau and vodka] or the Van Gogh [a layered shot of blue curacao, grenadine and absinthe]. The same attention to detail is even given to the preparation of their interesting mocktails [fresh strawberries blended with mango juice and apricot flesh is but one of the many].
Mojitos seem to Bali;s cocktail of the moment. This white rum Cuban special comes with many different fresh fruits at Lamak. Their Daquiris, another white rum cocktail, also come in many different fruit flavours but this is achieved by using fruit ice cream, a little different but very refreshing! There are a few lunch only dishes but most are available lunch and dinner [and at the same price and size, unlike at many other places]. Dining at Lamak you experience classic French/Italian style cuisine but with the addition of subtle Asian spices.
Crab meat is combined with young coconut, lime and fresh mint, served between crisp wonton sheets, Seared Duck and Long Beans are with sweet hoisin sauce rolled in a coconut crepe, Carpaccio of Beef is topped with aragula [rocket], and shaved Italian pecorino cheese, Grilled Ocean Fish topped with sweet pepperade and lemon butter and a Tartar of Yellow Fin Tuna [with avocado and a wasabi vinaigrette] are just some of the entrees. My favourite entrees, or anytime snacks at the bar, are the Curried Minced Lamb, with onion, leek, garlic and egg served between spring roll sheets almost in Martabak style and Seared Prawns, two jumbo prawns with potato gnocchi with ginger butter. Another is from the vegetarian selection; Carpaccio of Beetroot, topped with crumbled feta cheese and a hazelnut vinaigrette glaze. Other vegetarian options include a variety of salads including a Crisp Eggplant with rosemary, baby potatoes and a dash of balsamic.
Special entrees at dinner time include Baked Snails in a very original café de Paris butter and Ceviche of Opaka that has been marinated in lime juice, coconut, turmeric and capsicum.
The dinner menu, at Lamak, is exotic. So much so, that you will have much difficulty in selecting your order. For soup, the choice is small in number, but wide in variety. Clear Duck Broth has been infused with smoked tea and served with duck tortellini. The Pumpkin Soup is with feta cheese and pumpkin seeds contrasting with the Seafood Soup of barbecued seafood, star fruit and turmeric on a lemongrass broth and a sambal mayo.
Top of the range in the mains is as before. Seared Duck Breast is an all time favourite at Lamak as is their Lamb Rack, drizzled with hunan sauce and served with an apricot salsa. The lamb must be ordered 'pink' to fully appreciate it. It is an Australian import as is their premium Beef Fillet which is served French style with potato gratin but to give it a local flavour, Sumatran rendang sauce. The Fettuccine is with Parma ham in an oyster mushroom sauce. BBQ Jumbo Prawns have been brushed with honey vinaigrette.
New added is the 'comfort food', recognized by all, and budget priced. The Chicken Kiev [stuffed with garlic butter] has been rolled in won ton sheets before frying. BBQ Spare Ribs [real fall-off-the-bone] are in hunan sauce with grilled corn on the cob and a spicy coleslaw, the pan-fried Chicken Breast is coconut crusted and stuffed with mango. A Lamb Cannelloni is served with a tomato sauce that has been enhanced with red wine and chili. Medallions of Smoked Snapper are coated with curried yoghurt and are with almond raisin rice, lentil patties and tomato chutney.
Desserts have not been forgotten with the New York import Alfogato [a chocolate cookie is crumbled in the base of a cocktail glass, a large scoop of vanilla gelato added, an espresso coffee poured over all, unusual! As is the Mini Gelato and Nut pairing, chocolate, caramel, blueberry and coffee gelatos with a mango sorbet and pistachio, hazelnut, walnut, cashews and almonds [both desserts pictured]. However the top of the dessert list, as always, are the most perfect Hot Souffles, your choice of raspberry, blueberry, mango, chocolate, passion fruit or vanilla. The deep-fried Blueberry Ice Cream evokes memories of childhood visits to local Chinese restaurants for rare special treats, many years ago in suburban Sydney.
Lamak is still one of Bali's classiest restaurants and now very affordable.