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What Chef Eats: Maurizio Bombini

What Chef Eats: Maurizio Bombini

Auli Cinantya
19 August 2022


Bali-based Chef-owner Maurizio Bombino shares stories about his favorite food memories, dining destinations, and his latest food fascination.


Chef Maurizio Bombini has honed his skills by working around the world. Born in the restaurant business, his parents owned restaurants in Belgium and Italy. He would act as a Chef Commis with his father in the kitchen or sommelier with the clients. When he was a toddler, his parents returned to Puglia and continued to run restaurants on the Adriatic Sea’s coasts, a location famed for great fresh fruit and where food and family feasts are sacred.

After graduating from the Institue in Pescara, Italy, he traveled to Tuscany, Switzerland, and Miami while working with famous Chefs. Before returning to his native Italy to work in Milan’s renowned Cavalli Cafe. Maurizio then returned to Le Méridien Beach Plaza Monaco in 2005 as Chef de Cuisine for the opening and development the new restaurant Le Muse at Le Méridien Beach Plaza in Monte-Carlo, working with Chef Michel Rostang Paris, a 2 Michelin star.

Chef Maurizio first landed in Bali in 2011, where he then decided to follow his heart and develop his tribute to Puglia’s food and friendly hospitality in the heart of Seminyak. To adequately express his roots in his own culinary style, in 2018, he successfully opened “MAURI,” his first-ever restaurant, and BONITO Fish Bar in 2022. 

Hi Chef! Can you tell us a bit about yourself and your day-to-day activities?

It’s a pretty long story! To make it short, I was born in the restaurant business – my parents owned restaurants in Belgium and Italy, but I initially wanted to be a professional cyclist. After years of competing in the biggest races in Italy, I decided that it was not what I was looking for and started to help out in my parents’ restaurants. 

I then worked in several countries, gaining a lot of experience in various restaurants. After a few years in Monaco working at Le Meridien Beach Plaza, I moved to Asia, where I joined The Ritz Carlton in China and Bali. About four years ago, I decided it was time to have my own company, and that’s when I opened Mauri Restaurant and Bonito Fish Bar. Everything I’ve done – and still do – is always connected to my passion for cooking and caring for my team and customers.

My daily activity generally includes doing all the paperwork for both restaurants in the morning, and I spend my afternoon trialing new dishes or creating the following new menu. During dinner time, I focus only on the service of the restaurant. 

Since we opened Bonito Fish Bar, I have always allocated 20% to 30% of my time for Bonito to meet our customers, taste new creations, meeting with the team, and check the overall operation of the restaurant. In between all of this, I always try to share some time for some sports activities at least 2-3 times a week between swimming and running, and lately, I started playing padel with my friends.

What is the most unforgettable food experience you have ever had?
There are a few that I can still remember well. The first is Joël Robuchon Restaurant in Tokyo; I still remember all the dishes I’ve tried. It was perfection. Next is a two Michelin Star Restaurant in Kyoto; it was my best sushi experience. Lastly is a Michelin star restaurant in my hometown, where I could simultaneously see a blend of tradition and innovation. It was delicious. 

What usually attracts you to visit a place to eat? 
I always make sure that it is an experience about taste. I want to be satisfied with the food quality. I am not interested in fancy experiences where you don’t really get to eat.

Do you have any memorable food memories? 
A lot from my childhood. My father was always excitedly bring us to see all the top ingredients in the market. As soon as the season of new ingredients started, he would proudly bring it back home, showing it to us like a trophy and cooking it in the best way to keep the original taste of the ingredient. If it were a baby cutler fish, he would serve it raw with some olive oil and lemon only, or if it were a specific vegetable, he would combine it with pasta or salads. It was always a festival of locally sourced premium ingredients, from vegetables to fish & seafood to fruits.

What is your most recent dining destination that left a good impression?
My experience in Japan touched me a lot. The last time I went was about four years ago to Kyoto and Tokyo. I did a lot of Michelin Star or well-known restaurants, from classic traditional Japanese Kaiseki to modern Japanese and fusion Italian/Japanese cuisine. I was also very impressed with the street food in Osaka, where I tried all the street food available – the mini octopus bowl was unbelievable! And of course, during my trip to Italy and France last May, I also had some memorable meals in my region. 

Do you have any go-to venues for hanging out with friends or maybe for special occasions with family? 
As a big fan of Japanese cuisine, I often go to the same restaurant for dinner, Indigo Canggu. The quality is just superb. We also like to spend the day at COMO Uma Canggu, where there are many healthy food options, and they are tasty.

Is there any food you can eat every day without ever getting bored? 
Yes, of course, pasta! I can eat it all the time with any kind of sauce, even a simple one like tomato sauce and Parmesan cheese! And most of the time I cook it at home. 

What are your favorite local dishes, and where do you go to eat them? 
There is nasi goreng, but I also like Soto Ayam, Beef Rendang, Sop Buntut, and quite a few more. Unfortunately, I’m not a fan of the traditional warung, as I spend a lot of time in the kitchen standing; I need to be well seated to have my meal. So, I generally got the local dishes in a few high-end Indonesian restaurants.

Do you have your favorite simple and quick recipe that you made yourself? 
Yes, spaghetti with tomato sauce. It is effortless and quick to do when our fridge at home is empty.

Where are your top three dining places that you will always be on your favorite list? 
In Bali, Indigo, Sangsaka, and I spent my lunch at Bonito! 

Are there any new restaurants that have picked your interest? 
Lately, a few new restaurants have come up, but I just haven’t had the chance to try any yet!

Did you develop new recipes or discover a new type of food you have enjoyed recently?
I would love to experience more South American cuisine, Peruvian mostly but also Mexican (the real one). It’s fascinating, fresh, and tasty. Also, Nikkei cuisine is difficult to find around, so I hope to discover more dishes of these cuisines, but I guess we would need to travel there to get the authentic one.

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