Restaurant Review | UBistrot

Balluta Bay’s UBistrot is both kind on the eyes and the palate

I’ve been wanting to go to UBistrot for a while now; it always seems to have people watching people outside. Whilst they are nice and close to the sea and the promenaders, here is a pesky road between you and they which is a little unfortunate. However, friends that have been, talk about the place fondly and so the other evening, we found a parking place just round the corner and sauntered in hoping they could find place for us.

There was a table inside, which proved to be fortuitous as the heavens opened for one of those seasonal short sharp showers shortly afterwards; I’m afraid my cloud-spotting capabilities have diminished lately due to lack of practice and didn’t time the downpour correctly. Anyway, we were seated on these beautiful ornate over sized chairs in gunmetal grey with chunky soft chalky striped cushions, (the fabric would make a fabulous frock) and given time to settle and absorb the decor, lovely square tree trunk tiled bar, buttermilk coloured floor and the mantra that is on the wall.  Worth the visit alone.

From the cocktail list I couldn’t decide between a gincumber or the marmalade margharita (both €5.50) so figured I would have the gincumber this time imagining it to be light and fresh, which it was. Would try it again and am still intrigued by the marmalade margharita.

We got the menus from a svelte waiter (I have my own mantra about these but John informed me he’s an athlete so myth dismissed in this case) and I immediately got stuck on the starter section as it had a Kobe beef carpaccio (€12.50). The description was more floral than a bouquet but I was intrigued and so decided to look to see what I could nudge John into ordering but I just knew I would fail. I was so right. We both ordered this and it was one of those dishes that does an establishment proud.

Kobe beef is the meat of  Wagyu cattle don’t you know, that were once used to work in the rice fields. Today, farmers massage their herds behinds to produce this highly prized meat. There is a link to their diet too, but isn’t that always the case? If you like the look of Rosso Sant’ Agata marble, you’ll appreciate the beauty of Kobe beef. The cutlery was unnecessary, this was like butter and frankly, should be served in a dish that you can just spread on bread with your finger. Actually, you could dispense with the bread too. So fine, so ‘melt in the mouth-y’. So going back to have it again. We had a glass of an ‘organic’ Gozitan wine from the Massar Winery; Anu, a rich earthy red with a gritty texture which would be lovely on a Winter’s night with candles and book and I digress... We then switched to a light and crisp Falanghina from Villa Matilde (€16.50) to accompany the rest of our meal as John had ordered the honey-glazed salmon salad (€8.20) which he said was very tasty. Fresh salmon in big chunks with lots of crispy leaves, but a bit too much cucumber for his liking. The dressing coated the fish well and the flavour had soaked right through. I had ordered the rosemary chicken variety (€7.40) which again, was flavoursome and moist, but in my usual style, I left most of the leaves and ate the chicken. I need to make a mid- year resolution to address this shortcoming and be a little more green.

One thing I didn’t leave a smidgen of was my dessert. I had spotted an iceberg sized slab heading towards another table and without knowing what else was on offer, decided one similar had my name on it. It was a home-made pavalova style dessert (€4). The top cracked like virgin snow to reveal a molten lava like sticky chewy interior that I slathered around my mouth wishing my dentist wasn’t so good and had left me some gaps to save bits in till later. I consoled myself that there was no fat and as it was just a melty dessert, that fizzled into my tongue ignoring that this crash barrier size slab that I went head on in to must have done some calorific damage.

John has his radar on for three things when it comes to dessert and only gets in a dilemma if multiples are listed. Cassatella, anything chocolate and banoffi pie. There was banoffe pie (€3.50). This news is going to upset some people, close friends included, but this was an amazing banoffe pie. In fact, I think it wins best dessert ever for a long time.

UBistrot is open from Monday to Sunday for lunch and dinner. Tel: 21335265; www.ubistrot.com.

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