Truth is, Salans has taken a hit too. The French-American chef, who recently left Napa Valley's French Laundry restaurant in California, closed off the garden seating section of his year-old eatery, due as much to the decreased number of visitors as to the start of the rainy season. Instead, guests dine on a breezy verandah overlooking a lush forest of banana trees, palms, orchids and ginger flowers. Ceiling fans and geckos on the hunt lend an equatorial air, but the fine linens, crystal stemware and impeccable service could be straight out of a Michelin-starred Parisian gem. The six-course tasting menu ($26)—starting with a delicate amuse bouche of parmesan and rosemary, and ending with a decadent chocolate mousse soufflé served with coconut sorbet—is not so much fusion food as French classics with a tropical twist. For his seared tuna, Salans eschews the obvious sweet-savory pairing, opting instead for a citrusy relish of young starfruit, cherry tomatoes and chive coulis. The foie gras, chopped with almonds, caraway seeds and quail, is wrapped in pastry and served in a pool of buttery-rich demi-glace infused with the Balinese staples of clove, cinnamon and vanilla. The only disappointment was an insipid melon soup.
When Kuta recovers, Salans is confident Mozaic—call (62-361) 975 768 for reservations—will continue to do well. "The era of Kuta's wild nightlife is coming to a close," he says. "People will come to Bali for luxury resorts and some serious cocooning." And some serious food at Mozaic.