* This was in March 2013.
When I told Rainier that I’m heading to Bali, he being the consummate gourmet & chef told me I should check out Mozaic in Bali.
I thought long & hard, since I’m on rather tight budget with the camera being stolen, a recent low in business & a general plague of bad luck including a car accident.
Being a sweet friend, he said it would be his treat.
I told him I’ll think about it, as I’m not familiar with Bali & needed to check on my schedule since it was a media trip.
It turned out that both chefs from Sheraton Bali Kuta has heard good feedback of Mozaic and I do in fact, have an evening free for dinner. Both Kuta & Jimbaran is far from Mozaic in Ubud but a kind staff from Sheraton Bali Kuta volunteered to give me a bike ride from Le Meridien Jimbaran to Mozaic in Seminyak so that took care of logistics.
It seems that things fell into place for a dinner at Mozaic, so Mozaic Beach Club it is for my last dinner in Bali!
**On a bike on the roads from Jimbaran to Seminyak – a journey of nearly 40 mins! Thank you Anton of Sheraton Bali Kuta for the ride! 🙂
I had my reservations of Mozaic Beach Club as it is not the original restaurant but it’s the nearest to me so it will have to do. Alighting at the entrance, the beach and the exterior took my breath away.
It was such a spell bounding place! The waves was unforgiving, crashing against the sand strong & high. The colours of sunset against the sky was just glorious. The breeze was really strong, whipping my hair totally out of place. But the smell of the ocean was so so soothing.
I was awestruck and wished I could stay longer to admire and soak in the feeling of the moment.
But dinner beckons. The road to the entrance was literally along the beach, bumpy as hell and since it was nearly sunset it made me wonder at first where I was until I saw this magnificently lit oasis on the horizon.
Mozaic offers four 6-course tasting menus – A Discovery Menu that focuses on fresh seasonal Indonesian ingredients and flavors, A Chef’s Tasting Menu that showcases Mozaic’s cuisine, A Surprise Menu that uses only the finest, rarest and most precious ingredients and a Vegetarian Menu which encompasses all of the above.
The Mozaic Beach Club also offer ala-carte dishes.
I made my reservation via email and it was handled very efficiently, all my queries answered and they even forwarded me the menu for my selection. I chose the Chef Tasting Menu in the end; for the pork belly and egg nog ice cream sounded interesting. Besides, I didn’t want any indonesian flavours in my meal, just pure European, as befitting of a restaurant of its class.
I settled into my seat with a view of the sea in the horizon. Service was impeccable the whole evening and at some point the wait staff even helped me held up my iPhone for the light so I could take better pictures. 😀
Both the crusty bread and housemade butter was good but as you know I have 6 courses pending and no one to share it with so it was wise to exercise constrain at this point. However a bite of the choux pastry with melted cheese & truffles made me forget about inhibitions, and I savoured both dainty puffs with delight.
Choux pastry is a light pastry and these 2 orbs personified its name duly. The divinely milky yet light truffle cream coated the tongue and the fragrance of truffle filled my mouth, marking the beginning of a good meal ahead.
A cone with something akin to tuna tartare was next. Just like how my my meals in Jaan and L’Atelier de Joel Robuchon in Singapore was served, the wait staff will provide a short description of the dish at the beginning of each course. My server for the evening, a nice Indonesian girl that speaks pretty decent English said that this was tuna marinated in ginger soya.
Deeper in the cone was seaweed. Overall this reminisces of the sea; very appropriate since we are on an island with a abundance of the freshest catch.
Then we got down to serious business. The 1st course was pleasure in the mouth. I love scallops and I love them better when it’s adeptly prepared, just like how my fat scallop was served in this course.
I gingerly took a bite of the thin wafer on top, and was informed that that is the chicken skin, baked at high temperature and seasoned with an Indonesian pepper found only in Sumatra.
These skins are probably awfully unhealthy but boy do they hit the sweet spot! As I bit into it the crunch of the chicken skin releases an extraordinary herb-y peppery (but not spicy at all) aroma.
Damn that was good; I breathed and proceed to polish the entire plate clean.
Next was the Seabass. I didn’t expect much of this as fish are as good as it gets if it’s absolutely fresh. And for the price I’m paying I expected nothing less than the absolute fineness catch from the sea. And since I already knew it was seared (a common preparation) I had not expected to be wowed. Ribbons of shaved fennel crowned the seabass, while kaffir lime sauce & jelly flanked its sides. A scatter of spiced almond sat on top of the jelly.
I was advised by my waitress to as much as possible; eat everything on the dish together instead of separately. For the fish I heed her advice and paired every bite with the crunchy fresh fennel and kaffir lime jelly, mopping up the pool of sauce as much as possible. The fish didn’t disappoint in terms of freshness and thanks to the sweetish sour citrus flavour of the jelly, the overall dish was pleasantly refreshing; both in taste and in presentation.
After all that seafood I was ready for some real meat. After all, the Honey Glazed Pork Belly was one of the main reason why I’m sitting in Mozaic Beach Club.
I have a very helpful waitress, who upon finding out that I’m a food writer, took pains to explain each and every ingredient and to the best of her knowledge , the preparation of each component.
She shared that the wafer here is actually the pork skin, which was separated, flatten and then baked. I took a bite under her watchful eye and grimaced as it was rather hard.
I have always loved edamame and had fun picking up each on the plate and popping them into my mouth as I made my way around the plate. A lone tarragon leaf leaned on the mound of potato espuma; buttery smooth with the right amount of salt. I encountered a few pistachio as I diligently cleaned the plate of edamame.
As my knife cut into the pork belly, it fell apart easily and revealed glistening alternating layer of fat, a prerequisite for good pork belly.
Nice, I thought. Crispy fat wafer taken from the outer layer, and alternating soft fat intact within the block of pork belly. Good work chef.
As I savoured a cut I detected familiar flavours in the jus, which was almost like our char siew sauce. Texture-wise it was irreproachable, tender and moist. And because it was smoked with rice husk, each bite left a lingering smoky flavour in my mouth.
So far the dishes had not disappoint; though they were far from mind-blowing. Well, at least none were outright boring or bad.
And then the Squab was served. For the uninitiated squabs is the meat of a young of pigeon. Though I’ve always been wary of pigeons for its gamey flavour I had thought perhaps dining in a reputable fine establishment like this might surprise me with fantastic tasting pigeon meat.
Apparently not, though it may not be any fault of the chef. Perhaps squabs are meant to be intensely gamey. A whole squab sat on my plate and I only managed to swallow a bit of the breast. I couldn’t bring myself to take another bite though I know this dish is costing me a bomb. I gingerly picked at the thighs next, and found it to be way more palatable. This was served with celeriac and potato purée; both of which was fine.
Anyhow, I’m swearing off pigeons & all of its family members for now. Oh, if you’re curious as to what was on top of the squabs these are “burnt butter snow” named such for obvious reasons. As it melts over the meat, it imparted a rich buttery fragrance.
Any such fleeting disappointment would subsequently be overshadowed by a discovery of unexpected taste sensations from those that did work. My dessert was perfect to end the meal. First I was pampered with a chocolate cigar filled with nutmeg ice cream. Caramelized bananas on one side and strewn nice crunchy ginger bread crumbs on the other, all of this sat on a cushion of brandy jelly, so heady that it could potentially get you tipsy.
Last was the Chocolate Molten Cake, as perfect as any molten cake should be. The Ginger & Turmeric ice cream however, was more deserving of praise, brilliant on its own, but worked well with the rich chocolate too.
Desserts was definitely good. The squab was forgotten.
And a personal visit from Chef James Ephraim at the end of the evening to make sure I had enjoyed my dinner topped it off.
The price of my dinner was RM300++ thereabouts.
Mozaic Beach Club, Bali
Address : Jl. Raya Sanggingan, Ubud, Gianyar – Bali 80571 Indonesia
Phone / Fax. +62 361 975768
Open 7 days a week.
Dress code for Mozaic Bali is casual. Please note that Sleeveless t-shirt and beach wear are not allowed.
Operational hours: 6pm onwards. The first reservation is accepted at 5.45pm and the last reservation is at 9.45pm. In order to guarantee all of our guests a fine dining experience, Mozaic is sorry to inform its guests that access to the restaurant is limited to children of 12 years of age or older.
Kindly be informed that the menus change daily based on seasonal arrivals from their suppliers, hence all menus must be tailor designed and might be subject to changes due to last minute availability.
All prices are subject to a 21% government tax and service charge.