On the menu: Trisara hosts Mozaic’s Chef James Ephraim

PHUKET: There have been some pretty spectacular sunsets in Phuket in recent weeks, or maybe I have just been fortunate enough to witness them from spectacular locations. The Trisara’s ‘Seafood’ restaurant is one of those places that reaffirm the reasons one has chosen to live on a tropical island.

Another island that has glorious sunsets is Bali, and I am here tonight to taste the famous cuisine from the Mozaic restaurant in Bali, which is listed as the fifth best restaurant in Asia in the 2013 Miele Guide.

From the Island of the Gods (Bali) to the third garden in heaven (Trisara) Chef James Ephraim and his team certainly know a thing or two about preparing and serving heavenly creations.

Chef James hails from Chester, in England, where he was a sous-chef at the Grosvenor Hotel. This famous venue, introduced Chef Ephraim to exclusive events such as regular appearances at the estate of the Duke of Westminster. Leaving his native England for the South Pacific and Australasia, Chef Ephraim was part of the opening team of Bracu Restaurant in New Zealand as chef de cuisine, and extended his stay down-under thereafter at the Lizard Island Barrier Reef Resort.

A world traveller, in Europe Chef Ephraim completed courses at Mugaritz in Spain and at the Saint James in Bordeaux before expanding his culinary experiences throughout Asia.

At the famed Ubud Mozaic Restaurant Gastronomique he embraced the philosophy of Chef Chris Salans in the use of Bali’s freshest ingredients and has been a key asset in creating the Mozaic modern Balinese cuisine, which is being presented at the Trisara tonight.

While awaiting the arrival of the other fortunate guests I nibble on a foie gras and fresh mango toast and chat with the relaxed and friendly Chef James about the Mozaic philosophy.

“I am quality driven and enjoy giving guests something they’ve never eaten before. Each dish features fresh local ingredients, utilizing an abundance of regional flavors, spices and herbs. In Phuket, for example, I found some similar ingredients to Bali but there were subtle differences in taste, and in some cases the ingredients were hard to find, curry leaves for example…” he said before leaving to personally greet arriving guests.

At table we eagerly await the signature bold and innovative Mozaic-style of cooking and are treated first to Balinese spiced Alaskan King crab salad, served with ogen melon, cucumber, avocado and baby coriander – light zesty and full of flavor.

Next up is the butter-seared, deep ocean lobster enhanced with black truffle espuma, tapioca and Spanish pata negra ham tuiles. Rich and interesting in texture.

More foie gras is arrives next, this time with crumbled cocoa, fresh raspberries and black olive powder. Heads around our intimate seaside table nod in approval.

The pièce de résistance comes in the shape of a slow-roasted lamb loin from New Zealand served on the bone and flavored with salted lemon and sprinkled with crunchy toasted spices and fresh curry leaf infusions [ so he did find curry leaves in Phuket]. The pumpkin purée adds a colorful splash to this wonderful dish that leaves a warm spicy afterburn on the lips. I put this out with a cool pinot noir.

To end a perfect meal Valrhona chocolate mousse is combined with local green peppercorn gel and Thai lemon basil gelato. Divine.

Petits fours and Vittoria Coffee round up the evening and we all burst into applause as Chef James descends the stairs to meet us.

I leave Trisara knowing that a little piece of paradise in Phuket is still possible if you put together the right ingredients.

For more information visit mosaic-beachclub.com and/or trisara.com.

— Marc Mulloy

Thai Life

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