This post may sound slightly off topic. What does the best restaurant on Malta have to do with dutchgrub – restaurants, food and drinks in Amsterdam? Read on! There is a connection other than Malta being warm and sunny and only a direct, affordable Malta Air flight away from the cold and rainy dutchgrub center of the world.
But first things first. Lulu Restaurant is by far the best restaurant on Malta. Lulu stands out in a restaurant scene dominated by two types of restaurants: beautifully located Italian and seafood restaurants with standard menus and sub par food aimed at mass tourism; and expensive hotel restaurants with well executed but equally boring menus aimed at luxury tourists.
Lulu Restaurant is located in a quiet side street of the tourist area near Spinola Bay in St. Julian’s. Lulu’s interior is chic but also welcoming with a focus on food – think modern, wall-mounted bookshelves filled with cook books and a wine cellar separated from the main dining room by a large glass window.
What stands out most is the extremely friendly service by owner Nick and his staff. We were greeted with a big smile when entering and given the best table, in the far corner, with couch seats and overlooking the entire restaurant. Fun conversation, jokes and interesting tidbits followed immediately.
The menu is an interesting combination of Maltese and Mediterranean dishes with a modern, eastern twist. It was hard to choose and after quite some deliberation and expert advice by Nick we decided on a Parma ham with figs and goat cheese and seared tuna with snow peas and a chili dressing as starters. For main courses we went with a pumpkin risotto with coconut and monk fish and pancetta spaghetti.
Nick’s impeccable and very helpful service stood out when choosing the wine. We had pretty much decided on going with a Gavi di Gavi and were looking for advice on which of the three on the menu was best. Nick returned with a different bottle – also Italian, a mix of Chardonnay and Sauvignon Blanc. We liked it but as soon as Nick saw that we were not convinced he disappeared and came back with the perfect Gavi di Gavi.
The food was excellent – well prepared and full of surprises. The risotto was very smooth and made with coconut milk. The Parma ham went really well with the warm figs and had a brown sugar and cinnamon dressing that worked really well. The tuna was seared just right and you could taste the monk fish and the pancetta very well in the spaghetti.
After great starters and mains, a perfect bottle of wine, very rich profiteroles and a strong Irish coffee to finish, Nick finally revealed a little secret. Lulu restaurant is named after Amsterdam’s own Lulu restaurant in the Runstraat. A great excuse to write about a great restaurant on Malta!