Le Petit Bar
399 Water St., Peterborough, Ont.
HOURS: Tuesday to Saturday, 4 pm to Late
One of the newest additions to our downtown core, Le Petit Bar opened this spring with a bang and shows no signs of slowing down anytime soon. A cozy spot that's great for an extended visit or a small bite to eat, they serve meat and cheese hors d'oeuvres along with a wide selection of wines from around the world. Owned and operated by Shannon Mak with assistance from Chef Jamie Kohls and a host of fantastic servers, Le Petit Bar is the perfect stop for a nice evening.
The menu at the restaurant is small but elegant, and the food is split up into two main groups—the charcuterie and the cheeses—with patrons being able to create platters out of one or both of the options. At the bottom of the menu, there are specials listed which include seasonal and local vegetables. There are menu staples that this reviewer will keep going back for, but Le Petit Bar also includes weekly specials that introduce a variety into their already eclectic menu.
Charcuterie literally means “cooked meat” from the French chair and cuit, with the meat's flavour being mostly derived from the preservation process. Their meats are purchased from Otonabee Meat Packers, and their cheeses come from down the street at Chasing the Cheese, another very worthwhile stop on Water St. Le Petit Bar is focused on bringing a French cuisine to Peterborough, while still maintaining a close link to local products.
The platters cost $17 for a sampling of four items off the menu, and include a large serving of baguette, seasonal vegetables, pickles and olives, as well as various mustards, honey and jelly to compliment the meal. My choices were very hard to make, with each item on the menu boasting very unique flavours.
For the charcuterie, I sampled the duck prosciutto, and pork paté wrapped around pork tenderloin with bacon jelly, aptly named the "Three Pigs". The prosciutto was savoury without too much salt from the curing process to take away from the flavour, while the combination of the different styles of pork in the Three Pigs created an array of flavours across the palette.
The cheeses chosen for the platter were an Avonlea cloth-bound cheddar, and a double creme brie, which had great contrasting textures and flavours that complimented each of the meats. The Avonlea was an older white cheddar which gave it a sharp taste and harder texture (and paired amazingly with both wines), while the brie spread across the baguette like butter and had a much milder but rich taste.
This couldn't be a review about a wine and charcuterie establishment without talking about the wine, and Le Petit Bar does wine right. There are currently five reds and five whites to chose from, and one pink as well, with a varying range in tastes to compliment the assortment of flavours found on the menu. The white we sampled was a 2010 Lillypilly Sauvignon Blanc from Australia which was dry and had a slight sweetness to it, and went well with the sharper Avonlea cheddar and a little honey. The red was a 2010 Boutinot Cuvee Jean-Paul Rouge from France, which had a full body and went well with everything on the platter. There are also a host of cocktails, beers, and other liquors for those who aren't into wine; in other words, a little something for everyone.
The food was fantastically prepared, the service was both quick and friendly, and the overall first time experience was all around positive.
Shannon Mak has created something original to Peterborough with Le Petit Bar, both with fresh cuisines and a modern take on the wine bar, and it's a sure pick for anyone looking for a good night out.
—reviewed by PtboCanada's food columnist Matt Ferguson
PtboCanada's new food reviewer Matthew Ferguson has a passion for food and cooking. Matt's worked at several establishments in town, both cooking and managing in kitchens, and now plans to insight Peterborough to have the same love for food that he does. Follow him on Twitter @PtboFoodie.