It’s sunday morning in ubud. The beach is too far so what to do for a pleasant few hours? Brunch! Why not spend the day eating well! A little self indulgence. Where to go? It’s not seminyak, so the choices are a little less. Then we have an idea. Let’s try Uma! Italian! Delicious!
Brunch starts at 11.30am and we don’t want to be late.
We get to Uma Cucina on time and are comfortably seated in the minimalist dining room and handed a freshly printed menu held on the board with a rusty paper clip. My companion remarks on it, suggesting they change it to something more shiny. Oh we hunted everywhere to find these clips, the charming manager, Adi told us. We wanted a little rustic look! And rustic is was.
There is no buffet at Uma Cucina, rather a delightful specially prepared menu that you can choose as you wish. And as much as you wish. Everything is freshly prepared and delicious with no leftovers slipped in as happens in many sumptuous spreads.
The choices are seductive – prosciutto di parma was fresh and succulent served with green melon marinated in Sambucca for an extra little taste. The Calamari fritti was also fresh and cooked to perfection.
Ordering tends to slow down your eating time, so that you can relax between courses. Of course fast eaters can order all their selections at once and speed up the process, but leisurely eating is a skill that requires lots of practice to perfect. Course followed delicious course, with enough time to relax between them.
The soft polenta came, finished with prawns and globe artichokes, soy beans and Italian Teleggio cheese; it was a creamy dream, with a size just big enough to enjoy, without dominating the meal. The mini spinach pizzetta was a perfectly cooked with just four slices. Covered with spinach, pecorino and fresh mozzarella, the thin base held these delightful bites together with well baked crispiness.
The eggplant parmagiana that accompanied it, also from the brick oven was delicious with a pungent red tomato sauce that gave the bland eggplant a fine character. Presented in a small ceramic ramekin, it too was the perfect size.
Sadly we missed the bruschetta with salami, grilled eggplant, peppers and Stratcciatelli cheese, and the Tokuzen Beef carpaccio with marinated mushrooms, parmesan, pine nuts and asparagus and the jumbo octopus with white beans and a black olive dressing. Servings of mini hamburgers passed by our table en route to another. Described as Italian Sliders, these mini burgers are an intriguing mix of Australian beef patty, served on a bun with mozzarella cheese, grilled vegetables parmesan and basil, with polenta fries, but there was no space. Myriad other dishes escape my memory, but we can’t have it all.
After the tempting tasters, we decided on some choices from the grill. While my companion chose the red snapper dish with cherry tomatoes, olives, capers, and baby potatoes and a pungent fresh dill salsa, I chose the roasted baby chicken. It came with a pancetta, radiccio, and a sage salsa. All the salsas are freshly prepared and very good. With our warm crusty bread, there came a salsa verde, a telling combination of parsley, basil, mint and anchovies, which was exceptionally tangy and good. The salsas are all prepared in the well equipped kitchen and the young Balinese chef who has succeeded Chef Nicholas, is happy to share recipes, if you are inclined to ask him. Following his clear advice I can’t wait to make some salsa verde of my own!
After so much food, we need a cigarette break on the burnt orange sofas before tackling dessert and coffee. I thought I would just take the fruity granite, but when my companion ordered the lemon tart, it twigged my memory and I remembered I had tried it before.
All thoughts of moderation dissolved instantly, as I remembered how truly great that tart is, and how tart it is. The sourness of the lemon, offset with a generous dollop of fresh cream, is dessert perfection. While the white chocolate semi freddo was no doubt fabulous, there is nothing that comes close to that wonderful lemon tart.
In the end we lingered even past 3.30pm, sitting comfortably on the sofa enjoying our espressos. Time just slid by in the most delightful manner. Need I mention that the wine list is full of excellent temptations and the cocktails are fabulous. It was five leisurely hours very well spent. A wonderful Sunday.
Jalan Raya Sanggingan, Banjar Lungsiakan, Kedewatan, Ubud
Phone: 0361 972 448