Restaurateur and fashion designer Maurice Terzini enters the Bali F&B scene with Da Maria. The Yak caught up with the man behind Sydney’s Icebergs.
First up, what on earth are you doing in Bali? It’s not as though you haven’t got a lot going on…
I’ve been wanting to come to Bali for years. My first visit here was in the early 80s. I feel that Bali has evolved into an international F&B destination, so it’s an exciting time to be opening here. I’m also ready to work abroad, so Bali is a comfortable first step in that direction. And of course the lifestyle here is a big attraction.
Fashion and food … How does your Ten Pieces label fit into the scheme of things?
I believe all my products are about lifestyle. Food, fashion, art, music … so Ten Pieces is just another branch of my brand, as is throwing great parties.
Can you give us a brief background of your journey as an entrepreneur through the hospitality industry…?
I was fortunate enough to spend some time in Milan during the mid-80s and experienced some special moments, including drinking Campari at Bar Camparino. Milan showed me that I had to work in hospitality, and on my return to Australia I was lucky enough to work for the legendary Mario’s and Henry Mass in Fitzroy. From there I went to Caffe E Cucina, followed by Il Bacaro and the Melbourne Wine Room, also the Snakepit, one of the first disco bars in Melbourne. In 1999 I ended up in Sydney starting Otto Ristorante Italiano, Nove Pizzeria and the Iceberg’s Dining Room, followed by North Bondi Italian Food. I also began collaborating with Tusbi and Sneaky Sound System. Ten Pieces was launched in 2014 with my partner Lucy, and I am happy to say it has now become an important event in Australia’s Fashion Week history. The next adventure of course takes me to Bali.
What took you so long to open here?
Although I enjoyed the early club days of Bali it wasn’t really where I wanted my brand to sit. But times change, and the opportunity to be part of a developing F&B scene was too good to refuse.
Location, location, location … what’s another vital ingredient to success, apart from excellent food of course?
That pretty much goes without saying. However sometimes if the location is unexpected that can also make it very appealing.
The Dolphin Hotel, Sydney … groundbreaking design. Is that reflected in the menu?
Not really. The menu is just a good blend of Italo/Australian food written for a hotel. Having said that, The Wine Room within The Dolphin is taking Sydney Italian food into 2016. Plus we’re also the only restaurant using Australian ingredients, which no one really does with pizza!
You mention that Melbourne Wine Room broke the mould. In what way? And how do you plan to do that here in Bali?
Da Maria is not really breaking the mould, except that it blurs the lines between restaurant, bar and club.
How do you plan to spruce up the Da Maria menu since Bali does not have summer or winter menu options?
I think what’s appealing is that we are keeping the menu simple and consistent.
Which end of the tourist spectrum does Da Maria target? Bistrot or fine dining?
Definitely more bistro, oseria bar, fun dining!
There is a lot of competition on Bali… how do you plan to stay ahead of the field?
There’s competition everywhere.
What is the biggest risk you ever took?
I opened Caffe E Cucina with no business experience whatsoever. I just had a gut feeling it would work.
Finally, what’s your current favourite restaurant in Bali?
It’s not a restaurant, but Revolver in Seminyak is very exciting!