Aug 19 2013

Review: Petitenget, Bali

Published by at 2:02 pm under Food


Petitenget, named for the nearby temple and street, is an elegant, 1930s-feel restaurant serving creatively scrumptious meals and proving that you don’t need to be on the beach in Bali to be prominent on the island’s culinary map.

Bloody Mary & eggs for breakfast. No celery!

Bloody Mary sans celery and and eggs for breakfast.

We eat so often at Petitenget that we really have no excuse for not writing about it earlier. Disclaimer: Owner Sean Cosgrove is a school dad and chef Simon Blaby is a friend. Even so, we think this in-our-neighbourhood restaurant would be on our Bali favourites list without knowing the pair.

Come for a lazy brunch of (somewhat sadly celery-free) bloody Marys (95,000 rupiah, all prices +15%) and a really top Reuben sandwich (52,000 rupiah) — when I did a seven-day fast earlier this year, all I thought about was this Reuben. Kids will be kept happy with options such as pancakes with bananas and scrambled eggs with sausages.

This is a more affordable alternative to beachside La Lucciola, located a stone’s throw away across the temple carpark. And La Luc doesn’t take brunch reservations. So if you do have your heart set on eating there but can’t get a table, you won’t be disappointed at all if you head here instead — Petitenget also opens hours earlier.

Tiger prawn baguette with a chicken salad chaser... and peach granita.

Tiger prawn baguette with a chicken salad chaser… and peach granita.

But back to Petitenget. It’s a great spot for lunch, either in the white-clothed, air-conditioned interior, outside on the streetside terrace, or in the Beverly Hills-inspired Martinique palm wallpapered lounge. We are a particular fan of Simon’s roster of salads, where he extracts incredible flavour from light but satisfying ingredients — that’s pretty much a theme that stretches right across the menu. Think Mediterranean with a Bali twist.

Cases in point: the poached chicken salad with pistachios, watercress, celery, green pear, shallots and apple cider vinegar aioli served during lunch (60,000), and the salad of shredded roast Balinese duck, with dried cranberries, pancetta, orange, almonds and sherry vinegar dressing served as a starter at dinner (84,000 rupiah). We’ve also enjoyed the tiger prawn baguette, with cucumber, lemon aioli and lettuce (72,000 rupiah).

Don’t go past the peach and vanilla granita at lunch time either — it’s a luscious dessert all on its own but light enough to be excused as a drink (28,000).

Scallops, but not lemon-sized.

Scallops, but not lemon-sized.

The atmosphere is convivial but sophisticated during dinner, whether you’re propping up the marble bar sipping a cocktail (mostly around 95,000) and nibbling on salt and pepper squid (40,000), or sinking into the banquette inside, people watching as you tuck into a seafood platter (125,000 for two as a starter).

Mains include grilled yellowfin tuna loin with asparagus, rocket leaves, orange, red onion, kalamata olives and horseradish potato puree (140,000) and slow-braised Balinese pork belly, with green apple puree, sweet potato mash, shredded cabbage and shallot salad and cider jus (150,000). You may pay a lot less for a plate of babi guling, but by international standards, the quality here is a bargain.

I swear there were two of us.

OK look, I swear there were two of us.

We’ve also been known to trundle in here later in the evenings, when meals at other restaurants have let us down so badly that the only way to salvage the night is to splash out on Simon’s dark chocolate, espresso and hazelnut tart with tamarillo sorbet (55,000 — we heard a rumour that the sorbet could be from Gusto’s) or their affogato, a three-glass affair of coffee, ice cream and Frangelico (80,000 rupiah). We’re also a big fan of the Eton mess (55,000) — though we loved the mango version they once had on the specials board and want to see that one back now that it’s almost mango season again.

Lots of dishes are available in gluten-free options, local fresh ingredients are sourced wherever possible, and mocktails are imaginative as well — if you’ve got special dietary needs, this is one kitchen in Bali that’ll understand.

Put Petitenget on your shortlist of to-visit Seminyak restaurants — we’ve found it to be a reliable option for any meal of the day, whether to treat ourselves or impress visitors.

Petitenget
Jalan Petitenget 40X, Seminyak
T: (0361) 473 3054
www.petitenget.net

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