But there is one place that has an solid reputation as a modern fine dining gem in Bali...
Mozaic is located in the outskirts of Ubud, a small town in the Balinese jungle. They were on the 50 best restaurant list in 2009 and most recently (2013) they were on position 50 on Asia's 50 best restaurant list.
Chef and owner Chris Salans from Washington D.C. runs the kitchen and his cooking is an interesting mix of Indonesian ingredients prepared with European techniques.
We started off by the pool at our beautiful resort in the jungle with a piña colada. For a pale swede, surrounded by palm trees nothing equals holiday more than this sweet, rum based cocktail.
When we arrived to the restaurant we were escorted to the indoor lounge where we got served a glass of refreshing Champagne, Taittinger Brut Réserve together with parmesan and edam-cheese croquette filled with liquid truffle. Great start.
Few minutes later we were shown to our table in the lovely outdoor area.
The wine list in Mozaic is decent, especially considering that we were dining in the middle of the jungle in Bali. But when they offer corkage for a low sum I obviously decided to bring two bottles from home.
2008 Beaune Clos de la Féguine Premier Cru Monopole from Domaine Jacques Prieur in Burgundy was my white choice. Elegant fruit mixed with butterscotch, crisp acidity and a salty mineral note in the end.
And on the red side I brought 2004 La Muse from Vérité in Sonoma County.
The sommelier carefully decanted the bottle and poured a taster for me.
No fruit and a discreet aroma told me that something was wrong. 15 minutes later when I went back to the wine it was clear, the wine was corked.
The level of TCA, that causes the wine to be cork tainted, can vary and people has a different sesitivety to this spoilage. In this case it wasn't much, but enough to ruin the wine.
When a wine is strongly affected by TCA most people, even with an untrained nose, would refuse the wine, with the understanding that something is wrong with the bottle.
It's almost worse (especially for the producer) when a wine is 'gently' tainted because a non experienced drinker will think that "this wine is crap, I will never by this again".
Dear wine producers, for your own sake and especially for the care of your big spending customers; stop using this ancient thing called cork. It's 2014 and there is something called screw cap!!!
After this major disappointment we got our amuse-bouche that quickly changed our mood to the positive.
Wagyu beef cornetto with parmesan creme and salmon cornetto with yuzu.
Next up oysters two ways: one with kaffir lime and one with kiwi and coconut sphere.
The first starter was a bit special; dried tuna that reminded me of jamon serrano. It was served with watermelon and an intense foam seasoned with cloves. This, native Indonesian spice, easily dominates any dish and in this case it wasn't really a winner.
Next dish was better; Yabbies (similar to langoustine) served with pata negra, scallop and truffle emulsion. Great rich taste.
The favorite dish of the evening;
Sea-bass with quince puree, tempeh crumble and curry leaf oil.
Unlike anything I've eaten before. Superb dish!
Trio of foie gras;
- as a terrine with beetroot sorbet and olive crumble
- grilled with licorice and raspberry
- seared with beetroot and hazelnut, which was the favorite.
Pigeon with cepes, quinoa and truffle espuma.
Iberico pork cooked perfectly to juicy medium served with pumpkin, squid ink puree and calvados coulis.
Next up, cheese serving;
Vacherin on brioche and once again, truffle.
First of three desserts;
Basil ice-cream with chocolate crumble. Very good combo.
This was followed by chocolate mousse with ginger flower sorbet
Gingerbread with pineapple, chocolate espuma and clove ice-cream. This time the intense spice worked well.
The sum of the experience would be; high level of cooking with mainly great ingredients but some of the combinations felt a bit awkward.
As a whole, I can recommend this restaurant with its appealing pricing.