When two friends, Pascal and Pika Chevillot, told me they were opening a new restaurant in Bali called "Sardine" I really didn't know what to expect. Raised in a household where a can of sardines ranked somewhere near a can of Spam in the culinary pecking hierarchy, I wasn't sure what awaited me at Jalan Petitienget No. 21, directly across the street from the prestigious Metis Restaurant.
Friendship and Pascal's reputation as the 4th generation of a proud line of Burgundy chefs, prompted me to pay a visit to what, for me, a curiously named eatery.
Guests at Sardine
are anything but tightly packed. The spacious restaurant sets a standard for Bali businesses by dedicating most of its land to garden spaces that can soak up the precious seasonal rains that fall on the island. More than half of the restaurant is dedicated to a working padi field, ensuring guest at this venue will forever be guaranteed a rice field view.
nearest neighbor looks to be building yet another eyesore hotel prepared to violate a number of local zoning intended to protect Bali's natural environment.
Ignoring the eyesore to the right is, however, made easy by the surrounding rice fields and the stylish touches built into the large bamboo building that houses Sardine's
dining and bar area. Pika, Pascal's Slovenian wife, is an accomplished designer with a green soul whose careful attention to detail whispers in understated elegance from every corner of the restaurant. Indirect lighting imparts a cathedral-like ambiance to the towering thatched roof; a polished bamboo bar from John Hardy's bamboo design center is all that separates a thirsty public from Sardine's
talented mixologist; giant, surrealistically painted eyes of a Balinese Legong dancer keep careful watch over both the bar and its patrons; a clump of bound bamboo fashioned into a table support a row of glass jars containing freshly cut lilies standing at attention, eyes left; crystal clear water pools are home to solid-white carp, happy to be the only fish in the neighborhood not destined for the dinner table; well-trained staff attractively garbed in fish-motif resort wear provide seamless service; and generous upholstered cane chairs replete with arm rests induce diners to spend slow, leisurely nights of fine food, wine and cordial camaraderie.
The accompanying pictures help to share the magic space created by Pascal and Pika at Sardine
Like all good restaurateurs, the Chevillots' are passionate about the food they put before their guest. This is a trait they share with Chef Frédéric Pougault who supervises the kitchen at Sardine.
Cultivated friendship with members of Bali's fishing fleet and the equally well-cultivated fields of the restaurant's own organic garden in the hills of Munduk help maintain a well-deserved reputation for freshness where the quality of each ingredient ensures superb results.
Careful attention to the day's catch and the seasonality of fruits and vegetable means the menu changes daily at Sardine
During my visit with party of four we enjoyed:Appetizers
• Very meaty steamed Batik Clams cooked in a delicate ginger broth
• Fresh marinated Sardines served with bell peppers of two colors. (Rp. 50,000)
• In house made Salmon gravlax with a celery root remoulade (Rp. 70,000)
• Yellow fin Tuna carpaccio with daikon remoulade (Rp. 70,000)Main Course
• Pan-seared Hamachi fillet served with Wasabi mashed potatoes, miso eggplant, Kalamata olives and dried tomato relish (Rp. 135,000)
• Blackened Mahi-Mahi fillet with Munduk Lumbang vegetables and a piquant tomato salsa (Rp. 125,000)
• Pan-seared Scallops, wilted spinach and broccoli, braised fennel with a Ponzu sauce (Rp. 195,000)
• Black tea smoked young poultry (Rp. 100,000)Dessert
• Citrus Salas with Bali Safran Infusion and Orange Sorbet (Rp. 40,000)
• Strawberries and Kiwi with black pepper ice cream (Rp. 70,000)
• Chocolate Bali Macadamia nut torte with passion fruit couilis (Rp. 60,000)
• Ginger and Arak
chocolate truffles (Rp. 30,000)
Those less inclined to fish will not go hungry at Sardine
with grilled beef tournedos serves with green pepper sauces, Shiitake Napoleon mushrooms, bok choy and potato crepes (Rp. 180,000) or local suckling pig ala Babi Guling
served with fern tips and organic white rice and a spicy green bean salad (Rp. 130,000) representing just two of the turf-bound entrees
Open for nearly six months, the busy owners have yet to put a sign out front; something they promise will happen in the coming few weeks. But, judging from the brisk business Sardine
was doing during my visit, the sign out front seems of minimal importance.
In any case, Sardine
is open for business, just in time for Lent. Unlike biblical predecessors who did wonders with fishes and loaves, seating is indeed limited and reservations are strongly recommended.Sardine
21 Jl. Petitenget, Kerobokan, Bali
Open form 11:30 am until 1:00 am with last order at 11:00 pm
Closed on Mondays
Telephone ++62-(0)361-738202 – Reservations Recommended
Major Credit Cards Accepted.
] Photos by Christopher Legget
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