Aside from the sunshine, beaches and shopping, one of the things I love most about Bali is the food. You can get everything from delicious and cheap Indonesian specialities, to international fine dining at a fraction of the price you’d pay here in Hong Kong. On my most recent trip to Bali I was lucky enough to be invited to try brand new ilLido Bali, which opened only a couple of months ago in Seminyak.
The original ilLido was opened over 10 years ago on Singapore’s Sentosa Island by restaurateur Beppe De Vito and has since become something of an Italian fine dining institution. The new restaurant aims to combine the best of Balinese hospitality with Italian refined elegance, and I think it has achieved exactly that.
As you walk into the restaurant from the busy main road, ilLido is like a beautiful oasis. The restaurant is entirely open, spilling out onto a gorgeous courtyard surrounded by frangipani trees. With mahogany, bronze and teak furnishings, the restaurant represents a blend of contemporary Italian luxury with Indonesian architecture that instantly impresses, yet without coming across as pretentious.
The menu at ilLido Bali covers a lot of ground, without being overwhelmingly vast. In line with the convivial atmosphere, dishes are designed to be shared. The menu features classic Italian dishes, that are given personality and colour, and presented beautifully.
It was a hot day in Bali, so the restaurant manager, Saurab, offered us some cocktails to begin with, including One Night in Bali, a refreshing blend of home-infused cinnamon and star anise vodka with pineapple juice, coconut and lime, beautifully presented in a young coconut.
Our meal began with some grilled octopus with nduja. The octopus was lovely and tender, while the soft, smoky, homemade nduja complemented it beautifully, creating an excellent dish.
The Wagyu beef carpaccio with asparagus was both beautiful to look at and to eat, as the beef simply melted in the mouth.
We adored the linguini with crab and mascarpone, which had a subtle spicy kick to it and the perfect texture. Pastas at ilLido Bali are all handmade each day, something that definitely adds to the quality and taste.
The truffle cheese ravioli was absolutely delicious, the pasta cooked to perfection and the filling just heavenly. The truffle flavour was definitely noticeable, without being overpowering,whilst the veal jus tied it all together.
Apparently we were nowhere near the end of our meal yet, as next we were presented with a stunning red snapper with fennel and beetroot. The snapper, again, was cooked beautifully, with lovely crispy skin, and it paired perfectly with the smooth puréed beetroot and slivers of fennel.
My favourite of the mains, however, was the lamb rack with grilled eggplant and olive jus. The lamb, with its herb crust, was incredibly tender and flavoursome, whilst the delicious accompanying veggies were an added bonus.
We were bursting at the seams, but we couldn’t leave without trying just one dessert, so we shared a panna cotta zabaglione. As I may have mentioned, panna cotta is never one of my go-to dessert choices, yet this one, with a thin layer of panna cotta topped with a creamy, custardy layer of zabaglione and strawberries that had been lightly torched, was exquisite.
The service at ilLido Bali is friendly and personal. Whilst prices are obviously more expensive than any local warung, in comparison to what you’d pay in Hong Kong for food of this quality in a setting like this, they’re definitely reasonable – starters and pastas are around IDR150,000 (HKD85), whilst mains are between IDR180,000 and IDR380,000 (HKD100 and HKD220). To anyone visiting Bali and looking for a delicious Italian meal in a beautiful setting with great service, I would definitely recommend ilLido Bali.
Jalan Raya Kerobokan no.38
Banjar Taman, Kuta
Tel: +62 361 731175
If you’re looking for more restaurant recommendations in Bali, click here.