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Spice Of Life

Spice – the little gastrobar designed to bring the food and flavours of Mozaic to a wider audience – opens its doors in Sanur. We walked right in, Photos: Lucky 8.

Mozaic in Ubud is a treat, it’s a special occasion restaurant that has earned more awards than any other in Bali. And now it’s offspring Spice gastrobar brings the amazing conceptual food of Chris Salans to the street with a funky diner that showcases both food and cocktails that draw on the spices of Indonesia as inspiration. The techniques are still classical French, the dishes mix and mingle and there are lots of light bites to share.

Spice in Sanur is a different concept that retains many of the characteristics of the original Ubud gastrobar in a far larger, airy restaurant space that offers both indoor and outdoor dining. The menu is still built around sharing with 3-4 courses per couple recommended, although for a light meal one or two would satisfy most people.

Sanur has traditionally been left behind a little bit with the serious food options of Ubud offering a wide choice and a new flash restaurant opening in Seminyak almost every week it seems. Sanur relishes its laid back atmosphere and its old world Bali charm. Food hasn’t been a big feature in Sanur, but Spice definitely takes it a step up.

The restaurant itself is elegant in a Raffles sort of way, overhead fans spin, potted palms provide softness and wide doors to the terrace provide plenty of natural light. The bar is a feature but not central to this Spice space but the cocktails are still a key element, playing on spices and local flavours for inspiration, and the daily happy hour is a bonus for those who enjoy their comfort and want a quality drink.

Food though is central and though this isn’t my first time the evolving menu offered lots of new choices as well as some of the favourites, including sliders which can be ordered with fish, steak or vegetables. The steak slider was my pick and the meat was perfectly cooked, the home-made ciabatta was soft and the sambal hijau was subtle and lovely.

A gorgeous snapper carpaccio is spiked with a fruity rujak sauce and served with tamarind croutons that has the Salans name all over it, pure Mozaic in inspiration, it is sophisticated, fresh and vibrant. A winner.

So we had tried a selection from the raw menu, one from the sliders menu, and so there remained the harvest and farmed, two legs and four legs or fins and shells, each offering three or four choices. We opted for legs and chose a crispy pork belly with turmeric dressing and dukkah spices, an excellent choice we decided, the dressing was a key feature. Sat in the garden with a twinkling fountain surrounded by blooming bougainvillea under the shade trees brought on an unexpected urge to indulge in a few of the famous cocktails.

Decisions, decisions on a sunny afternoon in sleepy Sanur, such were our third world problems. Decide we must, so a Kemangi gin and tonic sounded good and a kalamansi margarita arrived, frosty and fruity. Naturally this led to another round, an Andalima bloody mary solved the world’s problems while an artisan espresso martini was the perfect foil for a slice of chocolate cake, officially our fourth selection.

With a full arsenal of talented chefs behind Spice, it’s little wonder that the food shines. Chris Salans still oversees all the menus with Corporate Executive Chef James behind the stoves at Mozaic and overseeing Spice, while Chef Miles is charged with daily execution of the ever-evolving menu. There’s no shortage of creativity and despite bringing gourmet food down to earth with the Spice concept the hallmarks of fine dining apply across the board.

Spice in Sanur looks lovely at night as well. Housed in the lobby of a colonial-styled hotel, it’s a seductive space. Sanur’s beach bars might be getting bigger but street-side Spice is the perfect partner for a meal with family or friends – and a few damn good cocktails. S.D.

www. spicebali.com