The mantra ‘too many cooks spoil the broth’ doesn't apply to the team behind Mosto in Bali, a natural-wine bar and restaurant. ‘From the start, this has always been about the organization of specialized knowledge,’ says Isabella Rowell, who mainly looks after brand strategy but is quick to point out that Mosto is a collaborative project between six people.
The mastermind behind the menu is Italian chef Lorenzo de Petris. He honed his skills at Michelin-starred restaurants like Michel Roux Jr's London hot spot Le Gavroche. Nicolas Lento is the French sommelier behind the wine. He also runs his own import and distribution network for natural wine. In charge of cocktails – such as the yuzu gimlet with mint and cardamom – is Ukrainian mixologist Denny Bakiev. Federico Sirito and Isabella oversee the whole operation – they both cut their teeth working alongside restaurateur Maurice Terzini in Sydney and Bali. Finally, there's Vanessa Di Maria, who oversees branding.
A different approach
‘There are very clear lines of responsibility,’ says Lorenzo, ‘but we try to stay humble. I don't say: this is what's going onto the menu. We sit down, try it together and then decide.’
Federico says they all have the same idea of what they want Mosto to be. They describe it as a ‘neo bistro’ and are inspired by the Parisian ‘bistronomy’ movement, which aims to swap Michelin-aspiring gastronomy for more relaxed, affordable dining that focuses on freshness.
‘I was in Australia a lot – that European vibe is really popular there. We think fine dining is eventually going to drop off. People want small plates that are all natural. Natural wines and natural dishes,’ says Lorenzo.
The diversity of backgrounds within the team has also influenced Mosto. According to Isabella, ‘working with these guys, our heritage really comes out. We're Italian, French, Ukrainian, Australian – that comes out in our offering.’ The real strength of the collective comes in their ability to face struggles together. ‘We're all people who see challenges and want to take them on,’ she says.
For a couple of months after Mosto launched in early 2022, ‘it was pumping,’ she says. This success was despite Bali being closed to international tourists until spring 2022. On top of the lack of tourism, the team had to deal with the added supply-chain pressures of getting premium products like natural wine and the bistro's ingredients to an island. ‘All those years of hard work paid off,’ says Isabella. ‘We opened with such ease. It was a pleasure – a real passion project.’