Vibrant and Fiery Authentic South American Flavours Shine At Maize

Maize, Bali Restaurant, Bali, Bali food

Maize - Contemporary Latin Cuisine done right.

The most imperative Latin American crop, corn, lends its name to this inclusive concept restaurant in Berawa. Maize, situated below the popular speakeasy, Behind The Green Door, is innovative Chef Jethro Vincent’s most recent culinary playground, where you can enjoy a vibrant dinner, or a light, delicious lunch.

This chic and lounge-y venue emerges as one of the most innovative dining options on the island today. The vibe is contemporary but the essence traditional; both local and imported ingredients are balanced to create something quite special. Mix and match cocktails and share plates or dive into a culinary adventure with the chef’s choice menu to experience Maize at its best.

The concept revolves around the heart and soul of many Latin cuisines – corn – an ingredient that naturally caters to most diets whether low-cal, gluten free or Vegan. Don’t be discouraged if you’re not big on corn, another celebrated crop Farine or wheat also has its own menu section. Chef Jethro is well known for pushing all sorts of envelopes, from the avant-garde Bikini restaurant to a recent foray into the world of ramen and his consulting for natural food grocer, Bokashi.

MAIZE continues his venture into Mexican-inspired joints, following his taco pop up – Veneno and a couple of other projects under the same theme; At Maize he brings skill and class to a flexitarian menu that pushes creative limits. Hearing of the launch of their specially designed Vegan menu I had to come in and see why Maize had created such a buzz.

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The chef tells us “it’s always been important to offer a wide range of dishes for all dietary choices on the menu but it’s even more important for me to offer an experience equal to any other restaurant experience, without a vegan guest feeling like they have to just make do with what they can get. I pride myself on my vegan/vegetarian dishes being suitable and delicious for all guests”.

Far from a purely plant based restaurant it is refreshing to see meat free plates createed with equal care and passion as the non veg options. On the other side of the spectrum, the fish and meat dishes here are outstanding; Perfectly imagined, executed and served. From Hokkaido scallop tostada to Carne Apache or the angus beef tartare, the traditional delicacies of Latin cuisine are reconstructed in a respectful and uplifting way.

Besides Mexican gnocchi with white shimeji, salsa macha and corn tea, you’ll find mud crab tamales with soft shell crab tempura and a confit pepper sauce – if those don’t make you want to book a table tonight maybe the extensive selection of D.I.Y tacos offering Barbacoa, Conchilo Pibil (suckling pig) , Birria and the classic Carne Asada to name a few, will do the trick. 

What sets this spot apart is its modernism in appearance and in theory. We have not seen such a concept before, and it seems as if everything at Maize is uniquely original yet true to the roots of the cuisine. The coincidently vegan Mole Blanco is currently the chefs favorite dish on the menu. He tells us about the Mole sauce. The often 30 + ingredient sauce and its many variations are a driving inspiration for the head chef of Maize. He compares Mole to the many varieties of peanut sauce in Asia, yet Mole Is made of usually beans and many spices, and the one worth mentioning is the cacao bean – we can understand the infatuation.  

Your meal may start with corn appetizers, this is done as a statement of the concept; For the guacamole you can choose local or imported avocado which is quite fun for the true avo lovers. The top pic for vegans and non-vegans alike would be the tacos; the interactive aspect is fun, yet organized enough so that the flavors are on point. For the plant based the fermented carrot pre adorned with vegan cheese, microgreens and flavored to perfection is meaty and full of flavor, served with homemade corn tortillas made from both blue and yellow corn- the aesthetics of this offer another special touch.

For the seafood lovers come the best fish tacos, maybe ever. A whole fresh fish with crispy skin is cut in front of you into perfectly sized taco fillings; together with veggies, mango salsa and the same two color tortillas. These dishes were a part of the chef’s selection, which we highly recommend; The other mouthwatering options include the savory churros – reinstating the chef’s playfulness and the Smokey Tartare.

While enjoying the tart palette cleanser and commenting on how much we loved the food and the ambience it did not occur to us that we would soon be having some of the best desserts of our lives; honestly speaking the sweet plates at Maize compliment their already impressive menu leaving the diner in awe. It’s the type of dessert that stops chatter and makes you close your eyes to enjoy it more. The pumpkin cakes served with Dulche de leche ice cream that has a cheesecake type of tartness paired with buttery creaminess was the favorite, alongside a gorgeous goat milk ice cream topped with homemade cacao flavored granola, both beautifully and interactively plated. The fun does not have to stop after dessert, head up the stairs to the speakeasy, Behind The Green Door, where the cocktails keep flowing. Once you visit you’ll be thinking of your return right away. I’m happy to say Maize was Amazing!

Reviewed by Vinny Mathilde, vegan chef and caterer.

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