A Team of Young Hospitality Pros is Opening Indonesia’s First Natural Wine Bar

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The laid-back pocket of Bali tucked between Canggu and Seminyak – will soon be home to Mosto, Indonesia’s very first natural wine bar. In Italian, ‘mosto’ means ‘must’ or the pulpy, freshly pressed, unfermented grape juice that kickstarts the winemaking process.

It’s a fitting name for the casual 70-seat eatery and bar, which aims to introduce a relaxed, unadulterated and loosely European approach to the up-and-coming area. This is the first venue for partners Isabella Rowell, Lorenzo Depeteris, Nicolas Lento, Federico Sirito, Denny Bakiev and Vanessa Di Maria – all permanent fixtures in Bali’s pioneering Mexicola Group (Da Maria, Luigi’s, Uni, Motel Mexicola) who, together, bring decades worth of industry experience to the table. The collective is also behind the Lazarus Pulp project, responsible for producing and bottling Indonesia’s first pet-nat, “The Alter Ego”, in June of 2021.

Inspired by Sydney’s flourishing wine bar scene and the neo-bistros that have reinvigorated Paris, Mosto is a manifestation of what the drinking and dining experience should be in its purest form – from the pared-back design to the forward-thinking yet accessible menu and, of course, the cocktails and list of low-intervention wines. 

“We want it to feel like an extension of your lounge room, where the quality and integrity of everything in the glass or on the plate are second to none, but never get in the way of comfort or having a good time,” says Rowell.

Sommelier Nicolas Lento (co-founder of Indonesia’s only natural wine distributor, Toto Wines) has assembled a collection of more than 70 labels from small producers around the world, never before seen under the same roof in Indonesia. Organic and/or biodynamic wines fermented with native yeasts, no fining or filtration and low/no sulphur added are the focal point, with a flexible format that allows for drinking by the glass, carafe or bottle, as well as the option to take away. New releases, rare cuvées, special events and international wine fairs and celebrations will also be a regular part of the offering.

Cocktails, meanwhile, come care of Denny Bakiev (beverage director for the Mexicola Group), and will nod to the classics while incorporating experimental flavours and a zero-waste ethos. Think a Yuzu Gimlet with mint and cardamom, for instance, or a Caffè Latte Negroni spiked with milk-washed espresso, in addition to ever-changing specials based on repurposed leftover ingredients or house-made vermouths and digestifs.

As for the food, executive chef Lorenzo Depeteris has put together an all-day menu comprising seasonal snacks and small plates designed for sharing, that draw on his Italian heritage and time spent in some of the world’s most renowned Michelin-starred kitchens, including Le Gavroche and The Waterside Inn in England, and Sicily’s Duomo.

To start, expect the likes of potato and San Daniele prosciutto croquettes or skewered ox tongue with salsa verde and gnocco fritto, followed by raw scallops dressed in wild mushroom dashi and burnt butter or grilled peppers topped with tonnato and salted egg yolk. More substantial options might include fresh tagliatelle tossed through sambal and coriander pangrattato or barbecued chicken coated in harissa, lime leaf and burnt scallions.

Service, overseen by Federico Sirito and Isabella Rowell (both of whom honed their skills working alongside famed restaurateur Maurice Terzini in Sydney and Bali) will be a direct reflection of the striking, elegant and easy-going vibe of the space, brought to life by Kelvin Ho’s Sydney-based studio Akin Atelier.

Raw materials like polished concrete, painted brick, pebblecrete and terracotta dominate both the breezy outdoor seating area and earthy interiors, complemented by an eclectic mix of fixtures, art and upcycled accents.

Taken all together, it’s a package that’s both radical and familiar, one that introduces something entirely new to Bali while very much keeping the island’s come-as-you-are spirit and vibrant energy front of mind. 

 (Photos: Dennis Arthur Tjuandys)

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