Sale e Pepe used to be a small Italian restaurant hidden from view in an inside section of the miniature shopping complex at the end of Jln. Cemara, southern Sanur. Only those who seek out good quality food at budget prices ever found the place! Owner/Chef Egidio Volpicelli needs no introduction to the Bali food scene, A few years ago he set up the kitchen at Seminyak's Sorriso restaurant, a venue that began with much success [it is now the site of the Swiss Lestari restaurant]. Egidio had left to start his own restaurant, the then humble Sale e Pepe, a small good value eating house for the locals of that area.
Now it has expanded giving the restaurant a street presence with inside and terrace seating but still offering the same quality at those budget prices. A native of Napoli, Egidio believes in presenting fresh local ingredients prepared and cooked the old fashioned Italian way.
Simple food, great taste!
What could be a more simple way to start, or more Italian, than with Prosciutto Crudo e Mozzarella, Italian Parma Ham & fresh mozzarella, or if you prefer a little taste of Sicily with Polpettine di Manzo con Sugo` di Pomodoro, small balls of minced beef covered with a tangy tomato salsa. As with many dishes at Sale e Pepe big enough to share, served in a three compartment ceramic tray each of which has 4 small meat balls.
Italian cuisine has almost as many vegetarian options as Asian cuisines do. Baked Eggplant filled with mozzarella cheese, Potato and Mushroom gratin, the one-every-menu Minestrone Soup or a Creamy Pumpkin. The classic salad Caprese with fresh mozzarella, chopped basil and tomato or Insalata di Rucola Parmigiano e Pomodorini, rocket salad tossed with parmesan & cherry tomatoes. Or a simple Bruschette al Pomodoro, 4 slices of toast topped with Extra Virgin Olive Oil, garlic & tomato. As well there are many pasta and pizza options [including that original pizza from Napoli, Margherita, just tomato and mozzarella, the way it was preferred by the then Queen Margherita of Italy].
Bresaola features prominently on the entrée list. It is air-dried, salted beef that has been aged two or three months until it becomes hard and turns a dark red, almost purple colour. It is made from top (inside) round, and is lean and tender, with a sweet, musty smell. It originated in Valtellina, a valley in the Alps of northern Italy's Lombardy region. At Sale e Pepe you can have it as Carpaccio, thin slices topped with a gorgonzola sauce and avocado or the way I like it, Involtini di Bresaola Rucola e Gamberi, 3 prawns, shelled apart from the easy to remove head and a tail to hold, a slice of bresaola rolled rouladen style around a leaf of rocket and each prawn, a vinegary salsa on the side.
Misto di Affettati e Formaggi is a selection of cold cuts of pork meat & cheese served with cherry tomatoes & olives. Another popular entrée is their Millefoglie di Crema di Tonno Avocado e Pomodoro, 4 layers of filo pastry filled with tuna mousse, avocado & tomatoes.
The soup list also includes Zuppa di Fagioli e Salsiccia, white beans blended to a thick cream, full of high fibre, and scattered with crumbled pork sausage, my sort of soup.
The pasta menu includes all the standard options and a few special ones. Linguine alla Pescatora is tossed with clams, squid, tuna, octopus & shrimps cooked in white wine & parsley whilst the tasty Ravioloni al Sugo D'Anatra is not so small round sachets made in the kitchen, surprisingly heavy in texture, stuffed with spinach and ricotta, topped with an intense sauce of minced duck meat cooked in red wine and covered with grated cheese, a hearty course full of flavour.
Egidio comes from Napoli and so do pizzas. A couple of different ones include Wurstel e Funghi, tomato, mozzarella, beef sausage & mushrooms or that Bresaola again this time in a 'white pizza' topped with mozzarella and cream with that air-dried beef.
Mains include old standards Saltimbocca alla Romana, pan fried beef fillet with Lomo cured ham, Cotoletta alla Milanese, deep fried breaded beef fillet and Involtini di Pollo con Spinaci e Parmigiano, chicken breast filled with spinach & parmesan served with rosemary potatoes. A little different is the Chorizo in Padella, a pan fried Spanish pork sausage served with a mix of vegetable, mashed potato & egg and zucchini and the Italian version of Salsiccia di Maiale alla Griglia, a grilled Italian pork sausage. An import is the International 'Gordon Blue' but this one is different, and very popular, the meat presented in a round cylindrical shape. The Beef Scaloppine is amazingly tender, considering its local origin, it cuts and tastes like veal. Lamb Medallion is pan-fried and sits on mashed potato with red wine sauce.
Head of the seafood list is Gamberoni all'Acqua Pazza prawns poached in white vinegar and Triglia alle Erbette, a fillet of snapper that has been poached in butter, lemon zest & herbs. You really taste the fish the extras just complement. Then there is Capesante Pomodorini e Pancetta con Salsa di Caprino for all those scallop lovers [including me], pan fried scallops with cherry tomatoes, bacon & feta cheese sauce.
Desserts include the standard Italian Tiramisu and Panna Cotta plus the International Crème Brulee. Chocolate Souffle and Crème Caramel. A relaxed evening is greatly enhanced by a very budget-priced wine list.
In Sydney, where I come from, almost every suburb has its local Italian restaurant. Sale e Pepe is the local of southern Sanur. Good simple tastes at very budget prices [every dish below Rp.100,000], you can afford to dine here every night.