Lorenzo De Petris On The Natural Order At Neo-Bistro Mosto Bali

Mosto Bali is the kind of airy, casual neighborhood spot that natural wine bars around the world, like La Buvette in Paris or even Mod Kaew in Bangkok, have come to epitomize. 

Đọc bài viết bằng Tiếng Việt 

Spots like those, and Mosto Bali, are places where the staff are as excited about the products they serve as the guests are to try them, and where convivial sharing plates (and bottles of low-intervention wines) help the conversation to bounce around effortlessly, alighting on everything and anything from deconstructing the flavors of what’s on the table, to nattering about what’s been going on in the neighborhood, to unexpected topics…like British psychedelic rock. 

Mosto Bali is the kind of airy, casual neighborhood spot that natural wine bars around the world have come to epitomize.

Michelin Kitchens To Bondi Beach And Beyond

“OK, so, that’s actually what drew me to England in the first place,” Lorenzo de Petris shrugs unapologetically about his love of bands like Pink Floyd and Spacemen 3. While there, working at places like Le Gavroche and The Waterside Inn, he became interested in chefs like Fergus Henderson at London’s St John’s. Fergus was pioneering a nothing-wasted kind of cooking with unfavored cuts of meat. 

Then there was the Southern Italian institution, Sicily’s Duomo Restaurant, product-driven cuisine in Australia – at places like Bondi Bay’s Zefa Kitchen. And now he’s making punchy small plates with subtle Middle Eastern influences to pair with a ‘natural order’ of 70 (and counting) low-intervention wines at Mosto Bali, Indonesia’s first natural wine bar.

Lorenzo de Petris and Nicolas Lento testing out the Lazarus Pulp.

There’s a bit of each culinary destination he passed through in Lorenzo de Petris’ cuisine today.

There’s the the technicality of French fine-dining (but without all the hierarchy and all that shouting he assures us). And there’s British cuisine’s utilitarian, nose-to-tail cuts of meat, Duomo’s focus on local produce, with Mosto Bali sourcing from a closely-knit community of Bali-based suppliers whenever they can.

And there’s the big-flavored food you get in Melbourne and Sydney that pairs well with their wines that change every few weeks, and go from “really, really funky, to ones that taste closer to conventional wines” and include their own Lazarus Pulp pet-nat. 

But Australia probably made the biggest impression on him, Lorenzo de Petris tells us. In ten years there, he experienced a “really crazy style of modern Australian cooking.”

It’s food that absorbed influences from Japan and Asia, and Scandinavian cuisine, with runny umami sauces and an aversion to micro-herbs, and where they’d make complex, carefully-considered cuisine that looked simple, inspired by places like Bo Bech in Copenhagen and New Nordic cuisine that celebrated ethics and sustainability as much as quality, purity and seasonality of ingredients.

Mosto Bali, the casual 70-seat eatery and bar in Berawa.

Complexity Behind Classic European Bistro Looks

You can see some of that influence at Mosto Bali too in the way Lorenzo uses all of his prized Joselito Gran Reserva to make a dashi from the bone, and a butter from the fat trimmings before turning them into a Roman tonnarelli pasta, “that looked like a classic European bistro dish but where the dashi and jamon provide the funkiness and complexity of a tonkotsu ramen.” 

“Cooking in 2022 is really global,” Lorenzo decides, “and I’m not that kind of Italian who would presume there’s only one way to cook and to eat.” But there’s still some of his Italian heritage (Lorenzo is from Piedmont) in there too – like a Piedmont-style La Battuta di Fassona tartare where he uses a local lean cut of tenderloin instead of the Italian fassona cattle. “And our pastas are pretty good,” Lorenzo adds modestly.

Mosto Bali’s founders [from left to right] Lorenzo de Petris, Vanessa di Maria, Federico Sirito, Nicolas Lento, Isabella Rowell, Denny Bakiev.

A Very Contemporary Kind Of Cuisine 

Mostly, there’s that magpie-like curation of global ingredients that makes for a very contemporary kind of cuisine and menu (they call Mosto Bali a neo-bistro) where San Daniele croquetas sit next to Sakoshi Bay oysters. Or where an Indonesian sambal adds spice to a pasta sauce. 

“That’s one of our best sellers,” Lorenzo de Petris says about Mosto Bali’s tagliolini arrabbiata – the classic spicy Italian pasta dish. Only here, house-made sambal stands in for chili flakes which gives it a richer, umami-tinged heat with some freshness added with coriander and coriander oil. 

But then all the dishes could be bestsellers. “Right,” Lorenzo says, “if a dish doesn’t work in any way, no matter how much development has gone into it, it’s not being served – every plate has to be flavorsome and unique.”

Tagliolini arrabbiata, the classic spicy Italian pasta dish that at Mosto Bali is done with house-made sambal.

Come With Four Or Five People To Order (And Share) Everything

Mosto Bali’s effortless brilliance belies endless updates to the menu “with new dishes added every couple of weeks” to staples like the tagliolini arrabbiata, and constant training for the team so they can speak with casual detail about the flavors of the food or the tasting notes of the wine and the interplay between them. And they can.

“That’s what we aimed for!” Lorenzo says about Mosto Bail’s unique dishes, ever-evolving wine list, and impeccable service.

“That’s exactly what we aimed for,” Lorenzo de Petris nods contentedly. “Mosto Bali is a place that draws on mine and the other five founders’ experiences (they are Isabella Rowell, Nicolas Lento, Federico Sirito, Denny Bakiev, and Vanessa Di Maria) with a European vibe, and the energy of a neighborhood spot, that’s infused with local ingredients and the enthusiasm of our local team.”

“As a guest, I’d always try to come with four or five people so we can order and share as many dishes as possible,” Lorenzo says.

“I’d start with a Campari soda. In Europe they do it pre-batched in a little bottle. With Danny Bakiev, who is an amazing mixologist, we pre-batched ours too and carbonated it and then we serve it on tap. Then a pastis. And then a bottle of Lazarus pulp – developed by Nicolas Lento. The latest bottles have been brilliant. It reminds me of good prosecco.”

Mosto Bali’s “umami bomb” anchovy toast, “maybe switching to a funkier red wine for that.”

“Then I’d order the creamy almond tarator with charcoal oil, and our fluffy homemade focaccia. Then the croquetas, a classic tapas dish, that’s heavy in flavor but bite-sized. The intense flavor stays with you, and then add the crispness of the Lazarus pulp to that. Next, the chicken liver parfait. And the umami bomb that’s our anchovy toast, maybe while switching to a funkier red wine. And then…” he begins before we cut him off as he seems ready to enthusiastically list off the whole menu. 

But he’s right. Every plate at Mosto Bali is flavorsome and unique. And not to be missed. Along with a good bottle or two and some friends. Say four or five.

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