With a Pinch of Salt

 With a Pinch of Salt

INDONESIA
Seminyak/Bali
La Sal

Photos: Sulthon
Text: David trauts

FRVBali_Lasal2
Outdoor dining White tablecloths and space for intimate dining

La Sal on Jalan Drupadi, Seminyak has always been one of my favourite restaurants. Great Spanish food, a relaxed outdoor setting and a touch of old Bali style. The restaurant has been open almost 10 years now and over the past few months has had a shot in the arm with new manager and Italian born, Maurizio De Franchis coming in to shake up things with new ideas and a new energy.

Indoor dining The warmth of the new seaside mural and lighting
Indoor dining
The warmth of the new seaside mural and lighting

He’s been behind renovations including a new refurbished bar, new lighting in the interior dining area, making it brighter and friendlier inside, and other décor changes like the beach-themed mural on the back wall. It’s a fun ambience at La Sal and diners are on their way back to savour those tapas entrees and the perfectly cooked meats from the famed Argentine char grill that sits in a corner of the garden dining area.

“The stars above and a good Rioja wine set the mood, and the pace is relaxed and easy.“

“The main menu is more or less the same as before except we took some items off that are no longer available,” commented Maurizio when we began discussing the new-look La Sal. “We are building the future day by day, refurbishing and renovating the restaurant, opening the second floor lounge in order to do some events, restarting the catering business again, and so on. We are just trying to serve the best possible food.”

From the Tapas The tangy and tender cooked octopus & vinagrette
From the Tapas
The tangy and tender cooked octopus & vinagrette

Lino, partner and original chef at La Sal, who has been on a year break, is back in the kitchen reviewing food presentation and creating new dishes that are starting life as specials.

“Yes I’m back,” Lino told me. “After nine years at La Sal, I took a sabbatical year that helped me to refresh and strengthen my passion for food. I’m very happy to work together with Mauricio with this renewed challenge.”

“We are trying out dishes for a new menu over the next few weeks and months on the specials board,” says Maurizio who already has loads of experience around the Bali dining world. And Lino expands, “We’ll be adding new flavours, new dishes of course, but the most important, I believe is to bring the identity of La Sal back to a total Spanish influence.”

My guest and I take a seat on a white paper-covered table outside under the frangipani tree and order a few dishes. The stars above and a good Rioja wine set the mood and the pace is relaxed and easy.

Argentine grill The chef grills your steak to just how you like it in the BBQ hut
Argentine grill
The chef grills your steak to just how you like it in the BBQ hut

There’s a long list of tapas or entrees to choose from. We order Papatas Ibiza (Rp45), slices of potato and creamy sauce and Jamon croquetas (Rp35), made with jamon Iberico (Spanish ham). From the specials list we ordered the plentiful crispy calamari & prawns with aioli dipping sauce (Rp55k), tempura sardines (Rp55k), and Australian black mussels in marinara sauce (Rp65k), which were delectable. These entrees are all classics from Spanish cuisine and a tasty choice while you are waiting for your main course to be cooked. Also worth trying from the specials menu is the pork stew with potatoes and peppers (Rp55k) and the foie gras, caramelized apples and raspberry puree (Rp190k). Chef Lino has definitely been working overtime in the kitchen.

Warm and inviting The outdoor dining area with the BBQ hut at the rear
Warm and inviting
The outdoor dining area with the BBQ hut at the rear

There are many choices on the mains section of the menu, but from my experience, you can’t go past the char grill.

To make things easy, or for first timers at La Sal, I would recommend trying the BBQ for two (Rp599) to share, which comes with New York strip steak (200g), lamb chops (140g), baby pork ribs (half slab), boneless chicken (quarter), a sausage (lamb, plain or chorizo), roasted red capsicum, a mixed salad and to finish, a crepe with dulce de leche. A small BBQ box is placed on the centre of your table with everything still grilling away until you take it off. It’s fun, if not a little smokey.

There are other main courses to choose from including a mixed seafood platter, fish dishes, a selection of five different paellas, but the numero uno at La Sal has to be the Argentine grill.

The Rib Eye This is just one of the cuts of meat available from the grill
The Rib Eye
This is just one of the cuts of meat available from the grill

On the grill menu there are two cuts of succulent beef – New York Strip (Rp185), rib eye (Rp245), and then everything else you can find on the ‘BBQ set for two’, like pork ribs, lamb chops, chicken, and a choice of sausages, in single servings. All these come with a mixed salad or French fries and are cooked to exactly how you like it on the grill. A good option is to share a variety of cuts of meat from the menu, which we did on this occasion, and once again it was a great success.

Paella There are five different varieties of paella to choose from
Paella
There are five different varieties of paella to choose from

La Sal is for carnivores, not just any carnivores, but the ones who enjoy the best of meats cooked in the best of ways – simple and delicious. The meat is excellent from the grill and the tapas are as authentically Spanish, as you would find anywhere in Bali. All this has kept me coming back for ten years and no doubt will keep me coming back for many more.

La Sal is a class act, not overflowing with rowdy guests like some restaurants in Seminyak, but it offers a comfortable outdoor and indoor setting, a relaxed, intimate atmosphere, good service and an excellent dining experience.

La Sal
Jl. Drupadi II No. 100
Seminyak
Tel: +62 361 738 321
www.lasalbali.com

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