The main thing on our minds when we travel, without fail, is food. And as such, restaurants tend to take the spotlight, dominating our photo albums and creating the frame of reference for our trips. However every now and again we stay somewhere where the food elevates the accommodation to take pride of place. This was the case with the COMO Uma Ubud, a fantastic hotel where the foodie experience means that this warrants a ‘restaurant’ review of its own.
This is the first time we have stayed in a COMO hotel, and I hope it wont be the last. Not only was the place beautifully designed, with wonderfully friendly staff and top notch service, but they are known for their cuisine. It was seriously good.
On the day we arrived, suffering the result of a very early start and an afternoon spent exploring Ubud food festival (excellent timing!) we were too tired to head out for dinner so wandered to the welcoming poolside bar area, sparkling fairy lights entwined in the greenery.
Alongside the more ‘traditional’ menu was the COMO Shambala version; serious healthy food focusing on a mix of raw and cooked ingredients with specific nutritional purposes. We were pleasantly surprised by how delicious it all sounded. It was, and we ended up eating there 2 out of the 4 nights. We tried a good few dishes, all tasty, generous, filling portions, locally grown and freshly cooked. Highlights included the pumpkin & lentil burger with sprouted seeds & slaw, spiced kingfish with cauliflower tabbouleh, and their raw ‘cheesecake’ made from passion fruit, mango, cashews & almond milk on a macadamia & coconut base. Healthy has never tasted so good.
The next morning we went for a walk through the rice paddy fields to renew our appetites for breakfast. This then became the high point of each of our days. Fresh Balinese coffee was brought quickly to our table by the smiling staff along with the a la carte menu. Like with the pool menu it has both hearty and ‘healthy’ options which we couldn’t wait to work our way through.
In the meantime we helped ourselves to a few things from the buffet. Deliberately small, we enjoyed fresh juices, yoghurts, fruit, home made breads and granola. Slightly different every day and never more than an hour old.
On to the main events and we marvelled at the beautiful plates that arrived at our table. From the healthier options of quinoa porridge with dried cranberries, cinnamon and almonds (served alongside local palm sugar syrup and coconut milk), and poached egg with steamed local greens and ‘green goddess sauce’, to the more ‘substantial’ options of eggs benedict and ricotta hotcakes, everything was perfect.
A favourite amongst all 3 of us was their ‘sweetcorn cake’ which was a gorgeous treat of sweetcorn herbs and spices bound together with a light batter and fried. Delicious with a poached egg and smoked salmon.
To top off our foodie stay, on our last day we took part in a private cooking course. It was held outside in the open air with the head chef who was an absolute pleasure. We chose to cook the Balinese menu, making a prawn, green mango & herb salad with Rujal dressing, ‘Tum ayam’ steamed chicken parcels with tomato sambal, a seared tuna salad with coconut, lemongrass & ginger flower, and finally ‘Pisang rai’ poached pandan-battered bananas. It was informative about Balinese ingredients and cooking techniques, very hands-on, and we paused to sit and enjoy each course before moving on to cooking the next. The food (yet again) was wonderful; perfectly balanced spices, sweetness, chilli heat, textures and with the vibrancy of fresh herbs and lime. The bananas coated in green batter, poached, and then covered in salted grated coconut we all expected to be a little unpleasant, but drizzled with palm sugar syrup they were unbelievably delicious and more-ish. It really was a fantastic end to our stay and we would recommend it to anyone.
COMO Uma Ubud, Jl. Raya Sanggingan, Banjar Lungsiakan, Ubud, Bali, Indonesia