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On an island where good food is both expected and everywhere, you have to ask the question: is Mozaic the best restaurant on Bali?
To get an idea of how great the food is at Mozaic: critics and foodies and assorted other devotees of eating-only-good-things come to Bali with the sole purpose of eating at Chef Chris Salans’ shrine to haute cuisine. The UK’s newspaper-of-record The Guardian noted that Mozaic “would be garlanded with Michelin stars if this were Europe or America.”
The food at Mozaic is on par with anything coming out of the kitchens of chefs like Wylie Dufresne or Éric Ripert. It is, at its best, approaching the critical acclaim enjoyed by the flagship restaurants of gastronomic pop stars like Daniel Boulud or Thomas Keller. If you love food, are in Bali, and don’t have reservations at Mozaic, you’re mad.
So, now that we’ve raised the stakes to that level, how does Mozaic live-up to the hype? It probably has a little bit to do with the fact that Salans’ menu is in a constant state of reinvention. While it would be easy to put together a well-regarded tasting menu, collect some plaudits, and then move on, the food at Mozaic is in a constant state of change.
There seem to be two reasons for this.
The first could be that Mozaic sees Bali as a bit of a culinary laboratory. Intent on finding a way to incorporate even the most obscure local produce into the menu, you’re unlikely to find a lot of places on the island obsessed with figuring out how to make a food-stall favorite ingredient like keluak work in a fine dining setting. This also means that in a place like Ubud, where a good vegetarian menu is non-negotiable, they’re serving food that goes way beyond the variations of raw vegetables, tofu, and rice that can sometimes become the standard.
The second reason for the constant refreshing of the menu is probably a sign of why Mozaic has the reputation that it does; it is insistent on creating something new and better. When the staff could get away with old standards, they offer a Surprise Menu; which, as you might guess, is literally a six course menu of whatever amazing stuff they’ve come up with. Pomelo puree? That’s a thing, and it’s fantastic — but somebody had to go there first.
And that’s what makes Mozaic so important. They’re totally and completely willing to do something unexpected and maybe freak a few people out. But if someone doesn’t want to serve the first burnt cauliflower and ginger flower, then who will?
No, seriously: you’ll need a reservation. Download the Qraved app for iOS or Android and make your reservation, check the menu, and get constant updates on everything good on the Island of the Gods.
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