The Bistrot

What we say: 3.5 stars

The Bistrot has only just opened its gleaming glass doors and is a seductive, stylish addition to the busy scene on Bali’s Jalan Laksmana, or Eat Street, in Seminyak.

Looking out toward the street from an upstairs lounge.

We stopped by this week for a peek and after-dinner dessert and loved the decor, from the exposed brick walls, antique decorative telephones and semi-open kitchen downstairs through to the more comfy dining lounges upstairs (you won’t really see them properly till you walk up the stairs — so do go up the stairs), heavy wooden floors and gorgeously done bathrooms — we loved the mismatched ceramic bowls used as sinks.

If you know Bali’s restaurant scene, you might think of it as being a kind of Mamasan-Potato Head hybrid; it’s got the bold, brassy feel of the former (we think of it as Sydney style) along with the whimsical retro-touches of the latter. No doubt it’s been an expensive build/renovation, and the 1950s French industrial-style results are really great. It’s a lot less formulaic than, say, Black Pepper, another new restaurant in town, though it doesn’t have the thrown-together grit of somewhere like, say, Mantra — it’s far more carefully curated and refined.

The menu is a “soft opening” one; we’re not sure what this means other than it’s likely to be rejigged once the soft opening period is over. For now, the menu is fairly classic French and international focused, with starters such as beef carpaccio (tenderloin beef with enoki, rucola, lemon basil and parmesan, 75,000 rupiah), grilled blood sausage (caramelised pear, pear syrup, rucola, 65,000 rupiah) and bouillabaisse (110,000 rupiah). Mains are seafood heavy — we liked the sound of the Moroccan spiced baked red mullet with black olive risotto (110,000 rupiah), with plenty of meat options as well, including grilled kangaroo (210,000 rupiah). We did chuckle over the menu clarifying that it was Australian… in case you were wondering. A couple of Asian dishes such as laksa and a Thai duck red curry round out the offerings.

Do go to the bathroom.

We however went straight for the dessert menu. I had the dame blanche — two scoops of vanilla gelato with hot chocolate sauce, almond and whipped cream. The ice cream was excellent — it’s by Maria and Carlo Lentini, the couple behind Gelato Secrets, but the chocolate sauce was the merest of a dribble. ]I was kind of hoping for a bit of a fudge-y sauce-y sauce. But the overall serving size was generous and I my sweet craving was well and truly sated.

My partner-in-sweets-crime tucked into the balsamic strawberries, with pepper, vanilla mascarpone cream and a macaroon on top, which was excellent. Other options included an Indonesian spiced pannacotta, bittersweet chocolate souffle and young mango tarte tatin — expect to pay 45,000 to 55,000 per dish.

There’s a huge range of iced frappes (38,000) — probably best enjoyed during a quick day-time stop in at the downstairs area, which has more of an in-and-out feel — along with coffee and tea standards.

Prices are not the cheapest for the area, but they are competitive given the quality of the surrounds. If you’re staying in Seminyak and your budget isn’t too tight, The Bistrot is worth checking out. After something cheaper? Warung Murah (cheap restaurant) serves up great Indonesian food just down the road.

Contact details
Jalan Laksmana (opposite Coco supermarket)
T: (0361) 738308
About the author
Stuart McDonald co-founded with Samantha Brown in 2004. He has lived in Thailand, Cambodia and Indonesia, where he worked as an under-paid, under-skilled language teacher, an embassy staffer, a newspaper web-site developer, freelancing and various other stuff. His favourite read is The Art of Travel by Alain de Botton.
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The Bistrot
Jalan Laksmana (opposite Coco supermarket)
T: (0361) 738308

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