KILN, it’s getting hot in Petitenget

Published 30 May 2017   

Kiln is a new bar/restaurant at the beach end of Jalan Petitenget. The spot already has a high pedigree, previously being the very popular Petitenget Café, but now after an extensive renovation it is back new, refreshed and with an exciting drink and dining concept.

Text: DAVID TRAUTS   Photos: DASHA ALMAZOVA


The main dining area and bar

The design has an outdoor/indoor feel with a long bar and high tables in the central area and tables and chairs with bench sofas around the perimeter. The wood fire oven and grill stands grandly next to the bar and is ready for our order. It’s casual and comfortable. KILN just looks cool, unpretentious and as welcoming as a fresh breeze on a hot summer’s evening.

Having a drink at the bar waiting for my friends Belvedere and Kabron to arrive, I scanned the room. Couples, small families, men huddled perhaps talking business, and a smattering of good looking men and women in pairs and groups all seated evenly throughout the dining area and bar. They were all chatting, smiling, looking a million dollars. My friends came through the door and we sat down at a corner table overlooking proceedings.


The wood-fired oven and grill

“Let’s start with beers,” says Kabron. Belvedere’s eyes lit up. I noticed a full range of beers on the list and some great looking wines were also jumping off the page.

Next the waitress passed us the simply printed menu, which contained entrée and main dishes that at first look appeared to focus on pickles, breads, skewers and meats. At this point, director and head man at Kiln, Jacques Dejardin came to the table to see if everything was going OK. While everyone was perusing the menu I had a quick chat with Jacques.

Can you tell me about the Kiln menu, Jacques? What exactly is the concept?

“Before Kiln had a specific site, the concept was much more deeply rooted in the Eastern Mediterranean, with an offer that bounced from Turkey, to Israel, to North Africa, and was much more ‘restaurant’ focused. The combination of finding the Petitenget site which we felt should have a big bar element, and with the involvement of my good pal, and stellar chef, Morgan McGlone, it became much more of a hybrid. It still retains an Eastern Med feel, with chargrilled koftes, flatbreads, Cevapi, Pide, but it is now much more eclectic, built around small plates and the venue that has a great drink program alongside the sharing menu.”

I had heard already KILN was more of a bar concept with food and asked, you are trying to push the bar more than the restaurant, correct? Tell me a little about that.

“The venue has such a special energy, and all the long term residents tell me of the ‘good old days’ where everyone convened at Petitenget and made merry. We looked at Seminyak and the lack of pure ‘bars’. It seemed to us there were beach clubs, cafes, restaurants and late night party venues, but very few places that could genuinely call themselves a bar. In no way does that mean we have dropped our focus on the food, it just means that we have the best of both worlds. Every venue I walk into here asks if I have a reservation, we simply ask, ‘are you drinking, eating or both’, we want the guest to decide the experience they want, not us. If you want to be a bar fly and mingle, to have a few beers with your mates, a martini or two and a few snacks, a cup of coffee and a meeting, a quick lunch, or if you want a full sit down meal with a nice bottle of wine, you can. All of these are completely cool with us. You lead, we will tailor the experience to you. The term Bar and Eating House, came from Morgan actually; it’s simply designed to infer that you can drink, eat, chat, chill, dance, whatever you want.”

It kind of reminds me of Loewy in Jakarta. Do you know that spot?

“Yes, I’ve been to Loewy, and those guys do a great job, so I’m very flattered and happy with the comparison. We just want to give Seminyak a place to come and just be, no formality or traditional etiquette, just a great place to relax and, we hope, enjoy great food, drinks, music and hospitality.”


The bar and wood-fired oven in the background

Well yes, it feels a bit like that famed Jakarta restaurant as far as the bar goes, but let me assure you KILN has gone a step further when it comes to the food.

So after checking the menu we ordered some wine and a selection of the entrees and mains to share.

Coming from the wood-fired oven and charcoal grill, the dishes arriving to the table are all succulent and delicious, morsels of delight. We have a selection of house pickled veges (30k), which go so well alone or combined with the other dishes. There are some specialty breads straight from the oven and dips to start proceedings with too. However, for me, the meat dishes are what the KILN menu is all about. The skewers are cooked perfectly, juicy and plentiful. We ordered the Lamb Kofte with a salsa verde (60k), and Chicken with fire sauce (55k). From the mains we shared the BBQ Brined Half Chicken sitting on roasted kale and resting juices (140k), and Chargrilled Grass-Fed Ribeye with charred pimento and spring onion (250k). These two were also super juicy and succulent, the rib eye arriving sliced and perfectly medium rare. Everything coming out of the oven and grill was exceptional, wholesome and perfectly matched with a few beers or wines. There are also fish dishes including grilled sardines (105k), wood-fired king prawns (75k) and grilled barramundi (150k) but they, as well as the desserts, will have to wait for another evening.


A selection of Chargrilled Skewers

We moved back to the bar area and took our positions on the large high table. The real drinks begin to be served, the lights dim and the music is beginning to flow. From this point things are heating up and we are ready to rock this new hot spot in Petitenget they call the KILN.


BBQ Brined Half Chicken, Roasted Kale, Resting Juices

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