MASON TAKES A HANDS-ON APPROACH TO DINING IN CANGGU, BALI
How Mason stands out among the many eateries in Canggu.
Canggu, lying along Bali's west coast, is a mind-blowing spot. It offers elegant, private, and calming tourist experiences. A few decades ago, Canggu might not be as booming as it is now, then locals realized that there are tourists who seek a premium travelling experience in Bali, and Canggu has just the thing.
The spot is popular among travellers looking for something different outside Kuta or Sanur. If you're looking for a cooler spot (in both senses of the word) than those two, then Canggu is the go-to place.
However, Canggu is not merely a tourist spot. It is also the place where foodies can find luxury dining with a breathtaking atmosphere, with tens to hundreds of fabulous cafes and restaurants offering modern and suburban cuisine. Today Canggu dedicates itself to millennials or gen-Z hungry to satisfy their appetite for excellent food and social media clout.
Now, the spot is home to Mason — a new restaurant dedicated to the timeless craft of cooking. Using carefully sourced, quality ingredients, the chefs at Mason aim to make good food from scratch by hand.
Like the craft of masonry that inspires its name, Mason is squarely focused on creations built from the ground up. Only the finest raw materials are sourced — locally and organically, wherever possible — and a pared-back approach is taken from start to finish.
Group Chef Benjamin Cross employs ageless cooking methods, like smoking and wood-fire grilling, to coax maximum flavor from minimal ingredients. His team is also willing to explore ancient processes of pickling, curing and fermenting, and perfecting traditional techniques such as cheesemaking in search of finesse.
An evening spent at Mason might find the table covered in a variety of snacks ranging from wood-fired flatbread Smoke Tuna Tonnato or brown butter and chili-spiked hummus to snapper croquettes served with tangy lemon mayonnaise. There's also a selection of house-made cheeses and smallgoods from the in-house butcher, such as wagyu beef pastrami, Bologna Style Mortadella and Capicola & Spanish Chorizo.
Meanwhile, dinner might involve more substantial starters such as spiced calamari with romesco and radicchio or fried cauliflower paired with pine nuts and pomegranate. All these delicacies are then followed by mains along the lines of wood-fired fillets of barramundi spiced with cardamom and smoked tomato or slow-cooked lamb shoulder swimming in a classic salsa verde. Simple sides like a salad of chopped broccoli with mint and almonds or Creamed Corn complete the picture, and seasonal tarts and sorbets make for a light, fitting finish.
The handcrafted aesthetic is also seen within the interior to build the mood of the 100-seat restaurant, just like it does to the menu. Designer Kelvin Ho created a minimalist yet elegant space using concrete, stone, steel and wood — elements that convey relaxed sophistication and allow the open kitchen to be the center of attention.
A hand-chiseled concrete bar makes a wholesome addition alongside the terracotta strip that leads the eye across the dining room floor and into an open-air, string-lit courtyard, which is a perfect spot for a cold beer, glass of wine or cocktail from the concise list of no-nonsense takes on classics like sours, Martinis and Negronis.
It's a fundamental respect for the art of craft and a hands-on attitude that defines the Mason experience, from the informed and attentive service down to the custom-made glassware and ceramics that grace the tables.
The place, open seven days from noon until late, is a refreshing change of pace in Bali — one that looks to time-honored techniques of the past for feel and flavor but rewards the curious and discriminating palates of the here and now.
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