Slice of Bondi - and Italy - to grace Bali's shores

Scott Bolles
Spreading his wings to Bali ... Robert Marchetti.
Spreading his wings to Bali ... Robert Marchetti. Photo: Anna Kucera

Australian chefs are currently Bali's favoured restaurant ingredient and North Bondi Italian Food's owner-chef Robert Marchetti will add to the larder with two restaurants and a bar opening in Seminyak this year.

Marchetti plans a Balinese take on North Bondi Italian Food — to be named Seminyak Italian Food — and Plantation Grill, a steakhouse, both opening in December.

The rise and rise of the Australian food influence in Bali is evident with a posse of Aussie expats, including former Jimmy Liks chef Will Meyrick at the uber-hot Mama San, and former Bills chef Kath Townsend at Maya. Deus Bali and the soon-to-open Paperplanes are among the Aussie ventures planting the flag on the holiday island.

Marchetti will open his new restaurants at Double-Six, a 154-room, five-star hotel being built on the Seminyak beachfront. Marchetti says the deal isn't simply a consultancy position; he is a partner in the restaurants with the hotel's owner Made "Kadek" Wiranatha.

"Kadek's children go to school in Australia, so he's been eating in my restaurants for a long time," Marchetti says.

With an explosion of new venues in recent years, Bali has rocketed up the international restaurant rankings. He argues it is a good financial bet.

"In Australia, if a restaurant goes well it can make a little bit of money, whereas in Bali if you do a good job and it does well, you make the money you should make."