My first review of Mozaic was in 2001, when the restaurant was in its infancy. It was to be the start of a chef's dream; a dream to create a fine dining experience in a Sanggingan garden, north-west of Ubud. I have made many subsequent visits to Mozaic and have seen the initial a la carte menu gradually replaced by set menus, degustation style. The chef's, Chris Salans, style has also progressed from classic to one of daring and experimentation.
Awards and world recognition have been lauded on Mozaic [Les Grandes Tables du Monde and The Wine Spectator Excellence award amongst them], and it has even become the catalyst for lightning visits to Bali from lovers of fine food from neighbouring countries.
A point to remember is that reservations at Mozaic are essential. Tables are seated by time in 30 minute steps, so an early arrival is mandatory. This is required in order to preserve the quality of the cuisine.
Mozaic now offers a choice of three Chef's Tasting Menus. Their Classic Cuisine menu is what has become known as traditional Mozaic. A Vegetarian option is always available for those of that bent. The new exciting option is Mozaic's Experimental Cuisine Tasting Menu, but only for those who are capable of forgiveness if a particular combination does not quite work. Any such fleeting disappointment will be subsequently overshadowed by discovery of unexpected taste sensations from those that do work. When I took this culinary trip they all worked, but that will undoubtedly not always be possible.
All menus at Mozaic are prepared daily in accordance with available produce. That may mean that a favourite from one visit will not re-appear on the menu for many days or weeks later if at all, but fortune favours the brave; experiment and discover!
A recent journey through the Experimental Tasting Menu produced surprise after surprise. The Amuse Bouche was no more than a tantalizing introduction of what was yet to follow, seven courses of which six were perfectly matched with pairing wines [a selection from Australia, France and Chile].
A tender chunk of Lobster Tail was topped with diced Foie Gras in a red wine reduction, a total surprise. The American love of Surf & Turf makes me shudder with revulsion, but this combination was made in heaven.
A piece of filleted Blue Eye Cod, imported from Australia, sat atop an emulsion [froth] of green asparagus with a small delicate salad of black truffle and asparagus tips.
This was followed by a dish consisting of Carpaccio style small oval disks of prime Australian Wagyu beef that had been marinated in spicy rendang oil. In the centre a wonderful emulsion made from Parmesan cheese, which you spooned onto the beef slices. Perfect taste contrasts.
Now for the shock of the night! When the waiter announced and described the dish, as they do for every course at Mozaic, I thought I had misheard, so I questioned the word 'local'?, as in pork, as in 'horror'! My experience with local Balinese pork varies from it being tough and chewy to virtually inedible. Even though this meat was from real suckling pigs [piglets still suckling on mother sow], I was still quite skeptical.
What I had not taken into account was that at Mozaic all the meat is cooked by the Sous-Vide method, without air. Sealed in plastic bags with all air removed, the meats are cooked very slowly at low temperatures [about 58 degrees] for an extended time. The result was amazing. The centre piece was a small chop, surrounded by two other different cuts and styles from the suckling pig. A pile of Savoy cabbage, prepared in sauerkraut style, was the base for the little chop. The meat so tender and the complete dish, perfect. In a blind tasting I would have wagered millions that it could not have come from local meat.
Fresh Goat Cheese was served with a walnut sable, sour cherries and a dribble of Balsamic vinegar, followed by a Sorbet of Green Apple, the sharpness of the green apple a perfect palate cleanser before an equally welcome dessert of Mixed Berries baked in a crisp phyllo pastry accompanied by a pineapple sorbet with sweet basil. The final piece of the jigsaw has been put in place at Mozaic, by the arrival of their talented pastry chef.
A cigar with an espresso coffee and petits fours followed whilst trying to recapture in words the myriad of tastes that had been experienced in the previous couple of hours.
The cost of this 7 course degustation [with either the Classic, or the Experimental, menu] a mere Rp. 450,000++. This is cheaper than any one main course at leading restaurants in Sydney, New York, London or Paris. With six matching wines, for Rp. 800,000++, Mozaic becomes the perfect dining experienced for those who appreciate quality.
Methinks that chef's dream has finally arrived!
Latest Update: Mozaic now offers a Culinary School by Chris Salans, a program with 6 different series of half day courses, all presented in a show kitchen by Miele.
Latest Visit: Mozaic now offers a range of set menus, mostly with wine pairing. Expensive.