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The Motorolla Man

RESTAURATEUR and agent provocateur Adrian Reed is a changed man. While he may have shed his raison d’etre as the Bali party scene’s uber bad boy, he still sizzles with energy and crackles with creative pizzazz.

The trapeze act that Adrian throws out daily is likely to include surfing, yoga, meditation, running what are possibly Bali’s hippest hangouts like Motel Mexicola, plus planning, designing and developing new ventures. He eats too. And chills with friends – but more often, colleagues and business partners.

With curling tentacles in some of Sydney’s funkiest diners such as Bucket List, Icebergs and Da Orazio Pizza + Porchetta in chic beachside Bondi, Adrian appears to have a Midas touch. Even his pop-up restaurant and bar, Salty Seagull’s, packs ‘em in with fabulous food, fantastic music and quirky interiors. Not to mention Thursday night’s rockabilly crab racing.

His first foray into Seminyak stardom was with Motel Mexicola, which caused joyous uproar among blissed out expats who promptly installed themselves into the groovy grounds and refused to move. Nearly two years on and there they remain partying beside some of the most beautiful tourists on the island.

Now with a tract of land in Canggu and another in Petitenget, the 35-year-old Australian greets the sunrise with a clear-eyed vision that sets the stage for an expanding Reedian empire.

“We are going to bring Da Orazio Pizza + Porchetta to Bali next to Metis and I’m working on another project near Deus in Canggu, which will be more like an upscale Mexicola with a hotel space,” he says.

With De Orazio partner – and master of the Melbourne-style dark arts of food and mood – Maurice Terzini, the duo have engaged Rome-based smoking hot design studio Lazzarini Pickering Architetti to develop this Petitenget gene pool from which more eateries will flow.

Da Orazio Bali will be an impressive outfit that will see the light of Bali’s brightest long before the end of the year is nigh.

“My brain just keeps going and creating. I love new projects. It is what keeps me alive and motivated. New challenges are thrown up particularly during the initial setup and design period, which is all mine,” Adrian says.

Trailing a string of triumphs, Adrian admits he “fell into food” when he returned to Australia from Mexico in 2009 and opened Rojo Rocket in Avoca on Sydney’s far north coast. Little did the former estate agent know that he was paving his way to Indonesia with fish tacos and tequila.

“Bali is an amazing place because we have more scope to develop something unique, as we did with Mexicola and Salty’s. Sydney is a bit like that now and all of these hipsters are doing some fantastic things because of it,” he says.

Outside of his own ventures, Adrian’s favourite spots on the island include Barbacoa, Sarong and La Favela.

“La Favela is one of the most creative fit-out concepts that I have seen anywhere internationally. It is the result of a creative genius,” he says.

Extreme energy and focus in business is not frayed when it comes to Adrian’s inner life.

“I was the worst bad-ass party guy on the island and while I know that people will not believe it, but I have changed and pared myself down to a very conscious state,” he says.

Drifting toward the end of 2014, Adrian started to question himself about his lifestyle.

“To be honest, I didn’t know why it was, but I needed to know why I was behaving in a certain way. I had to work out what I was doing.”

A regime of introspection and change through meditation and yoga, plus some tectonic shifts in lifestyle habits and the new, improved, Adrian Reed has landed.

“I have done a complete turnaround and I find it amazing to be so deeply aware. These few months have been intense but the reward is exceptional,” he says, “I have stripped myself down to become super happy. I feel like a million dollars.”

This is a uniquely Bali story that has emerged from his childhood of surfing holidays in Kuta with his parents in their small apartment. An apartment that no generous enticement from their son – in the form of a luxurious and sprawling home – can make them give up.

“They just love visiting Kuta and getting out on the sand and having a beach walks at sunset. They really enjoy the simple life,” Adrian says.

Perhaps the same could be said of their stripped back and pared down boy who still puts surfing at the top of his list of favourite things.