Bali Restaurant: French Twist

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Bali’s Kafe Warisan may be gone, but it has a worthy successor in Métis.

By John Langenheim

Until its lease ended in october, French fine-dining restaurant Kafe Warisan was an institution in Bali for more than a decade. But far from packing up their pots and pans, founders Said Alem and chef Nicolas “Doudou” Tourneville have instead opened Métis (6 Jl. Petitenget, Kerobokan Kelod; 62-361/737-888), a sort of Kafe Warisan 2.0, close to their original site in Seminyak. The new venue comprises three dining spaces, a lounge, a patisserie, a trio of boutiques selling luxury accessories and antiques, and a deck that seems to float above the neighboring rice paddy.

With a kitchen six times bigger than his old one, Tourneville is supplementing his cornerstone French cuisine with Asian and Middle Eastern dishes and adding au courant techniques like sous-vide. The increase in scale hasn’t diminished the food quality one iota—new creations like the king crab with seaweed ravioli in white-truffle beurre blanc (your eyes will close in deference) jostle with legends like the pan-seared foie gras with raspberry reduction, which takes pride of place on a dedicated foie gras menu.

For the design of Métis, architect Shinta Siregar took her cues from Kafe Warisan, building a three-sided pavilion enclosing an open courtyard. She also added acres of space, including a 1,000-square-metre lawn that will accommodate occasional jazz performances. The overall effect is both elegant and causal, mixing contemporary colonial stylings with traditional Javanese themes and materials, which are ingeniously repurposed to thoroughly modern effect: ceilings feature whitewashed bedeg (plaited bamboo), while the rosette motif on the laser-cut iron screens is based on a batik sarong that Siregar’s mother once gave her.

Diners were flocking to Métis long before the November 27 grand opening, often filling all 280 seats on weekends. Functions are already taking place in the second-floor private dining room and in the wine cellar, which doubles as an intimate dining space. “I didn’t expect so many people right from the start,” Tourneville says. “I’m very surprised.” He needn’t be. For fans of his cooking, Métis is a welcome successor to Kafe Warisan—bigger, yes, but every bit as warm and convivial.

 

Originally appeared in the December 2009/January 2010 print issue of DestinAsian magazine ( “French Twist”)

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