Having dominated Australian dining for decades with the likes of Bondi's Icebergs Dining Room, Da Orazio and The Dolphin Hotel, restaurateur Maurice Terzini is now taking his talents to Asia. And his first stop is Seminyak, Bali, where his new restaurant Da Maria will be opening on Saturday, November 5.
As the name suggests, the venue will be bringing a splash of Italy to the tropical Indonesian island. Roman architects Lazzarini Pickering took care of the design and, walking into the courtyard, you'd be forgiven for thinking you'd landed on the Amalfi Coast. The cool whites and blues, bold shapes, fountains and feature ceiling are a contemporary take on 1960s aesthetics, including that of Giò Ponti's famous Sorrento hotel Parco dei Principi.
"Da Maria is our portrait of Maurice Terzini in Bali," said Carl Pickering. "'Bali Style' wouldn't have worked for the ideas Maurice had for this restaurant." That said, there is evidence of Balinese influence in the rubber trees, cacti and passionfruit vines. Plus, you'll notice a dash of French fer forgé style in the tables and chairs.
As far as the food goes, Terzini has gone for a modern take on simple, traditional Italian dishes. A cool 24 hours of fermentation goes into the pizza dough, which is made using Neapolitan techniques and cooked in lava stone ovens. You'll also find porchetta (whole pig) which has proved a big hit at Bondi's Da Orazio. Among the lighter dishes, there's asparagus with anchovy butter and parmesan, snapper crudo with tomato, chilli and marjoram, and octopus with overnight beans, red wine vinegar and parsley. If you're up for a long feast, then order 'La Panarda', which will get you a selection of sharing plates.
"We are offering traditional Italian food, done correctly, in a modern environment without trying to reinvent the wheel," said chef Steven Skelly. "It's accessible, fresh and fun and we really enjoy cooking it."
Meanwhile, in the Americano-influenced bar, expect Italian classics, like the Negroni and the Spritz, as well as house-made liqueurs, including vermouth, and a contemporary wine list.
As at any Terzini establishment, special events will pepper the calendar, to be curated with help from Motel Mexicola's Adrian Reed. DJs will be popping in every night from 10.30pm onwards and, before then, you'll be kicking back to playlists put together by Sydney DJ Kali (Picnic). Last but not least, there's an onsite boutique, Da Maria Shop by Ten Pieces. Ten Pieces is Terzini's fashion label, launched in partnership with Lucy Hinkfuss in 2011.
Find Da Maria at Jalan Pettinenget 170 Badung, Bali, Indonesia, open daily from 5pm–2am and on Sunday for brunch from 11am–3pm.