Tuesday, November 08, 2005

Mozaic Restaurant, Ubud, Bali

On my birthday, we dined at Mozaic, near Indus Restaurant past Tjampuhan Hotel on Ubud's main road. Elsewhere, one might pay a premium for lobster, but here, there was an A$8 surcharge for lamb, presumably because it is imported from Australasia. The cheapest wine was about A$40. The six course vegetarian menu is A$50, the three course menu A$40 or so. The standard menu is A$64 for six and A$56 for three. They'll give you specially selected wine with each course for A$40 / A$30.

Miss K was not well so we forewent the six course tasting menu and ordered 3 courses from the a la carte menu, divided into appetizers, fish, fois gras, meat, fruit and cheese, and dessert. You choose one from each tranche of two divisions. But we still had 5 courses, because two amuse gueles appeared: a puff of parmesan and edam, and tiny dish of paper thin steak topped with a couple of slices of mushrooms.

I got full, but only because the bread was so good. I had been starving myself all day in an effort to work up the kind of appetite which is normal for most people, thinking that I would have to choke down a six course meal. Three bread rolls included olive bread, hot and warm from the oven, and seaweed bread, a nod, presumably, to the well heeled Japanese who proliferate in the upmarkets of Ubud.

Miss K had a Caesar salad which looked like no other, described: "Mozaic's 'Caesar' salad polenta crusted soft shell crab, romaine lettuce, garlic crouton and parmesan crisp.“ I had a little green soup: "Fresh seabream fillet, king prawn, cuttlefish, deep sea scallop and 'rock' lobster ravioli in a fresh clam juice-garden herb broth". One of each thing, floating in a sea of green. It was unusual, it was herby, and it was good. There wasn't too much of it.

Then Miss K had a "Balsamic glazed barramundi fillet and stir fried organic baby greens in a black olive-Balinese kluwek sauce, fresh marjoram emulsion". With her general want of enthusiasm for haute cuisine, she described it as "OK". My main was extraordinary: "Honey-soy caramalized suckling pork in a reduction of garden citrus, organic savoy cabbage prepared in a 'sauerkraut' manner and toasted spices". It was an extraordinary dish. The toasted spices were sweet, peppery, oriental. Obviously I've never had suckling pork before because this was a meat which melted in the mouth, while still tasting identifiably piggy. Again, the dish was most unusual, and good.

Miss K finished off with a "Fresh passion fruit cream baked in phyllo pastry, caramelized seasonal mango, milk agar agar and cardamon [sic.]". I thought it was great, even if she thought it only "OK". My dessert was a "warm dark valrhona chocolate moelleux [a kind of pudding with an almost biscuity crust and a gooey centre] with gorgonzola ice cream, sauteed strawberries, and rosemary". Now that is obviously a pretty out there dessert, and it was a bit too outer space for my liking. But by that stage, I had had too much bread, and my critical faculties were impaired. Each bit of the dessert I liked, including the gorgonzola ice cream, but I was unsure in their combination.

The sommelier was at once serious in his black clothes and black glasses -- startling in a place like this -- and impish. He was like a character from a James Bond movie, the first westerner who had anything to do with front of house in anywhere we've eaten. Miss K thought he might have been German. I thought he was Italian.

Was it worth it? It was good. The French thronged the place. As Miss K said, nowhere in Melbourne could approximate the beauty of the setting, a verdant and luxurious garden lit by flaming torches, and candles in elegant glass vases (for want of a better description). Miss K and I were very much enjoying the Balinese and Indonesian food, and I was a bit annoyed to have to miss out on a good Balinese meal in favour of this international cuisine. All the fuss did not seem quite suited to Bali. They were giving away square hardback books with the other 119 best restaurants in the world, according to some Eurocentric's reckoning. It was very much fine dining. The waiters were multitudionous. As I said, it was good, but it should not necessarily be seen as a must-see splurge for a short trip to Ubud, unless you're into that kind of thing while on holidays in Indonesia. And then there's the whole ridiculous luxury amongst ridiculous poverty thing to put you off your game.


Blogger IndCoup said...

sounds like a nice meal. I don't think you have to be ashamed about the poverty: the people will remain poor regardless of whether we eat in expensive restaurants or not. Just leave a decent tip for the waitress!!

8:55 pm  

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