May 30 2012

Review: Lacalaca Bali

Published by at 2:30 pm under Food,Seminyak

There’s a new kid on Bali’s Mexican block, and she’s a beauty. Well located on Jalan Drupadi just around the corner from Eat Street, Lacalaca offers a short but beautiful Mexican menu in pretty but not silly surrounds. Come here for the quesadilla, stay for the bloody yummo habaneros sauce.

It's going to be popular, promise.

It's going to be popular, promise.

We popped in here a few nights ago early on, and while it was quiet, they’ve only been open for a week or two, so word’s just getting out. Only dinners for now, too, but they expect to open from 10:30 soon enough, with a brunch menu set to include some additions like huevo rancheros, the chatty and friendly manager told me. He also maintained that the meals shy away from TexMex and fall into the authentic Mexican category, with ingredients imported from Mexico as much as possible.

Lime wedge shown to give you a sense of the quesadilla's size. Big.

Lime wedge shown to give you a sense of the quesadilla's size. Big.

I was swayed toward the tacos — tofu, marinated rib-eye, slow-braised pork shoulder and adobo prawns among the varieties (60,000 to 95,000 rupiah) — but ended up trying one of the dishes the manager recommended: the Sinhaloan shredded beef quesadilla with pico de gallo (65,000). The portion was larger than I’ve had on average here in Bali (looking at you Cafe Batujimbar) and the meat and cheese combo divine.

Absolutely crucial is the addition of one of the habaneros sauces on the table. I’m going back for those bottled sauces alone, which had me reaching for the tissues, but even without I’d return for the quesadillas.

The manager also recommended the simple grilled corn with lime, queso and chipotle mayo on the side; I like it when one of the cheapest items on the menu gets suggestively sold — 20,000 rupiah. Next time.

These sauces. You'll order more quesadillas just to smear more on them.

You'll order more quesadillas just to eat the sauce.

Other items include salads — hooray, they have quinoa (done with mixed peppers, corn, fennel and pico de gallo for 39,000 rupiah) — tortilla soup (39,000 rupiah), ceviche (45/65,000 rupiah) and tostaditas. The menu’s a touch light on desserts, with just fruit skewers or chocolate ancho brulee (30/35,000 rupiah).

But perhaps you’ll move on to booze here anyway, with the restaurant having a bit of a bar/party atmosphere. Cocktails are old favourites done with tequila twists — see that Cosmo transform into a Cosmocolitan, with fresh black grapes, lime, tequila and triple sec, and your Bloody Mary morph into a Bloody Maria, with fresh tomatoes, celery sticks, salt and pepper, Tabasco, Lea Perrins and tequila. Expect to pay 80,000 to 90,000 rupiah per cocktail. Sticking to beer? A small Bintang is 25,000 rupiah, a Corona 55,000. The house Chilean wine is 80,000 rupiah per glass/440,000 per bottle. I’d go the cocktails.

Lacalaca isn’t a cheap night out, but it does represent very solid value considering the quality of the ingredients and portion size. Service was finding its feet but cheerful and promising.

If you’d like to try a local Mexican twist, head on over to Taco Beach; if you’re in the area but want something a notch up in terms of fancy, Mamasan is about 50 metres away heading back toward Raya Kerobokan, or you could try Chandi further down Eat Street.

Jalan Drupadi 1, Seminyak
T: (0361) 736 733

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