Bali, the Island of the Gods, is synonymous with abundant cherished memories for holiday-seekers from around the world.
Bali is inviting; many spots feel foreign yet many are familiar as well. Stories of Bali never fail to include the widely varied gastronomy, from local Balinese to international delicacies.
When the pandemic hit, Bali was left in the dark. The once crowded tiny street of Petitenget, Seminyak, home to a plentiful vibrant lifestyle, had no humans frolicking around. Thank goodness that’s no longer the case as of September 2022!
I’ve missed Petitenget; it warms my heart to see its vivacious colours as foreign tourists start to get busy with their vacation agendas since my last visit during the primetime pandemic. Endless options for one’s desires are within reach and just a stroll away. One thing that I’ve noticed is somewhat of a pit stop until one makes up their mind for the rest of the night, Frestro Kitchen & Bar at Jambuluwuk Oceano Seminyak.
Frestro presents artisan Mediterranean gourmet such as pasta, pizza, and tapas, as well as Indonesian favourites. It’s a pub for everyone sneaking quality food and beverages before a night out in the notorious Seminyak nightlife.
Visitors to Frestro have two considerations in mind: to pig out and pre-game before hitting the bars and clubs or to take a break to regroup and then continue partying. I was the former type of visitor at 5pm. After a long day of back-to-back meetings, I yearned for a drink (or more), rest, and fuel up before the night’s festivities.
I had the honour to chat with Agung Mahardhika, Frestro’s Restaurant and Bar Manager. Since it was cocktail hour, he suggested I try the light and vigorous Forbidden Frutini; a glass of vodka, peach, apple juice, and Cointreau that’s a hit amongst ladies. Additional cocktails advocated include Aperol Spritz (Aperol, sparkling wine, soda) and Fruit Tingle (vodka, sprite, blue curacao, and grenadine syrup).
Mahardhika informed me that the first batch of visitors is usually seen at 6pm, followed by 9pm, and then finally at 10:30pm. Other food and beverage places in Petitenget close at 11pm. Frestro, however, only calls its last order at 12:30am and completely closes at 1am. This is only part of the reason why Frestro musters as the best pit stop in the area.
“Frestro is the perfect place to chill and dine before partying. It’s considerably a pub, though initially sought to be a bar in the first half and for fine dining in the other. Seeing how the crowd’s behaviour is, a pub is more authentic and idyllic,” said Mahardhika.
The vibe is modern with touches of Balinese artistic traditions adorning every inch; the selected furniture, lamps, etc. The open-air bar remains where one can light cigarettes and people watch as the night breeze motions, whilst the indoor, air-conditioned dining area is intimate. Its ambience isn’t a bit chaotic. Jazz renditions of hits throwback and current songs serenade all night long, in between the soulful live acoustic performance on Wednesdays to Sundays at 8-11pm.
What else to order
I couldn’t deny an early dinner proposition filled with Frestro’s best-sellers. Each bite of the Camembert Cheese Pizza melts on my tongue; the bechamel against the beef ham and sweet slices of granny smith apples on top of the tender dough embodies a contrasting consistency that pizzas generally have. Frestro’s pizzas are naturally fermented with sourdough and cooked in a local coffee wood oven. Sourdough is made with a “starter” made from a combination of yeast and bacteria growing inside a paste composed of flour and water. It’s believed to contain higher levels of vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants thus super beneficial for daily health. A healthy pizza that tastes sinful, but who’s to judge? Don’t mind if I do…
I could’ve stopped there but the hearty and fulfilling Roasted Chicken with truffle mash, baby carrots, Aiko, and chicken juice was hard to reject. As was the Prawn Capellini with saffron bisque, tomato, lemon, bell pepper, prawn, gremolata, and pickle fennel over pasta noodles. Go off trail from your comfort zone with this positively quirky pasta variant! Another dish I loved is the juicy Wagyu Beef Burger with brioche, cheddar, Algerian sauce, pickled red cabbage, and hand-cut fries.
Petitenget was once identified with the European crowd but lately, Australians have made their presence felt. It’s been a mix since borders opened up in early 2022.
Add Frestro as a luncheon option whilst you use the WiFi to squeeze in some emails, or a venue to support your favourite Australian rugby team courtesy of the extensive sports channels available. You might be one of the regular guests swarming Frestro during your visit to Bali on Fridays and Saturdays. Prepare to spend around Rp70,000-350,000.
I reckon you should take it easy when “warming up”. Frestro is that place because the night is still young – although your body’s circadian rhythm is screaming to lay low. Ignore it, you’re in Bali! Conversations over beers, cocktails, pizzas, etc. to plan your Bali day and night adventures, joke around, and so on can be accompanied by Frestro’s affectionate staff as if they’re our newly-made friends in Bali.
Once ready, either take a buggy ride or walk for less than 10 minutes to ShiShi. Or, take my lead and slide to Mirror that’s literally situated beside Frestro. When you need a breather, you know where’s the go-to pit stop!
Frestro Kitchen & Bar, Jambuluwuk Oceano Seminyak
Address: Jl. Petitenget No.108, Kerobokan, Kuta Utara, Bali.
Operational Hours: 11am-1am