Good things come in small packages, they say and in the case of Ubud’s new Pica restaurant, it is certainly true.

Text & Photo by Ayu Sekar

Good things come in small packages, they say and in the case of Ubud’s new Pica restaurant, it is certainly true. If you are walking down Jalan Dewi Sita, you may blink and you will miss it. But it lies just opposite Locavore and a little attention will get you there. Pica, a Spanish word means “something that stimulates your appetite and makes you want to come back for more” and the restaurant certainly lives up to its name.

Everything is perfect. The simple décor, the drinks list and the food. Attention to detail is evident everywhere, right down to the cute and enormous light bulbs that adorn the walls.

Pica serves authentic South American food with cute packaging. The feel good food is fresh and interesting and it delights the senses as much as the palate. Every dish comes plated to delight.

Chef Cris’s dishes use a wide range of ingredients to arrive at taste sensations difficult to analyze, but be assured, the final taste is always great. Dishes are sourced from Chile, Argentina and lots of Ceviche fish dishes from Peru. The refreshingly fresh seafood is all delivered daily and is all top quality.

Servings are the perfect size – big enough to be satisfying but not so big that you can’t order several dishes to try. Sharing is recommended, especially for first timers.

Starters include Causa Del Mar – a long dish comprising creatively arranged prawns, octopus and Mahi Mahi on Peruvian cold Potato cake and a cold creamy sauce – a very popular choice which is almost mandatory. Our Empandas de Choclo came with a light and fluffy pastry with a creamy corn filling. Oh and their home made bread with balsamic and olive oil just makes you want to take some home.

The Pulpo Al Olivio, (a grilled octopus dish with quinoa and an olive sauce), although I have yet to try it, looks fabulous and the next door diners were happily making their way through a serving.

One of the really impressive dishes is the huge 300gm Australian Angus steak. The Bife Anco comes in a huge bowl grilled to perfection. And served Argentinian style, with jus and Chimichurri sauce. Accompanying it was a big bowl of creamy, buttery mashed potatoes. Who could resist?!

The boiled pork belly, Pancita de Lechon with potato, apple and date jus needs to be tried, to be believed. It’s not a dish I usually order, but this version is out of this world and worth a trip to Ubud, just to experience the meltingly soft and piquant pork that is incomparable.

There were satisfied sounds coming from adjoining tables with happy smiles between munches. We were happy to see that the guest at the next table had followed our advice and were as happy as we were with the results.

Monica, the woman in charge glides effortlessly about, charming her guests and making them welcome. Her attention to detail is awesome and as she says “cleanliness is our top priority”. The open kitchen shines from top to bottom and it is always nice to feel confident about the quality.

The wine list is small but elegant with three carefully chosen whites and three reds from great wine makers in Chile, New Zealand and of course Australia. There is a daily special for those who like to drink wine by the glass. Cocktails, like the intriguing Amaretto Sour, or the Caipirinha, are bitingly perfect. They also serve beer and premium spirits. Enjoy a killer espresso after the meal or a pot of premium tea. San Pelligrino, the world’s best mineral water can also be found on the menu.

Desserts are few, only two! Both are delicious. Leche Asada, is a Chilean style crème caramel with a piquant burnt sugar sauce and the other is Tres Leches – a classic Peruvian “three milks” cake – delicioso! All topped off with a teeny espresso, my dining companion expressed it to be the best meal he’d had in ages!

Pica South American Kitchen

Jl.Dewi Sita (opposite Locavore) • Phone: 0361 971 660 • Email: bookings@picakitchen.co

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