Bibliotheque Restaurant Review, Sampoerna Strategic Square, Jl. Jend. Sudirman, Jakarta 12930
Having a French teacher for a father, he will be delighted that I am hanging out in French libraries and perhaps if I phrase it correctly, he can imagine me smoking gauloises and discussing the philosophy of Foucault. I will try not to disabuse him of that notion but for you guys that are in the know, I guess I better get down to discussing the true nature of a visit to Bibliotheque.
Bibliotheque’s interior is, of course, adorned with books from floor to ceiling as you would imagine and almost every surface is adorned with wood. It has an established, settled feel and it inspires comfortable socialising as opposed to the see-and-be-seen set I was expecting. As I visited at 7pm, perhaps my visit is not typical of the normal clientele, but it seemed to have a chilled post-work kick-back vibe, rather than a pre-club urgency. Perhaps this is what it morphs into as the DJ mounts the stairs to his elevated booth to provide the choons. I will leave that to the kids and concentrate on my raison d’etre – the nosh. I ordered the Gammon Ham Pork Leg (115++) and Mz predictably had the Grilled Spring Chicken (83++). Both were beautifully presented, possibly the best presentation I have seen in my five years in this fine-ish city. [However, my photos were awful, and I will not do this restaurant the injustice of matching my terrible photography with their products] My pork was tender yet well-cooked and came with a hearty ratatouille and the potato purée and mushroom sauce left a party on my tongue. The gammon was a tiny bit salty, but it is so long since I tasted good gammon that perhaps my brain had just forgotten. Mz chicken had a distinctly Indian/Middle Eastern feel with it being served with basmati and pitta bread.
The waiters panicked a little when I asked if I could take photos, as it is explicitly mentioned in the menu that cameras may not be used. Apparently the manager was in a meeting and was due in ten minutes, and perhaps I should discuss it with them then. The manager never materialised. Apart from that, the waiting staff seemed courteous and knowledgeable about their menu.
A keynote of this restaurant is that all the tables come with a lamp adjacent to the table and this is nice if you are dining in a pair as the lamp/candle inevitably gets pushed to one side anyway. Thankfully someone has thought of this tiny detail, as it is a bugbear of mine.
So far I have heard a good report about the Roasted Lamb Shank (153++) and I would definitely give my thumbs up to the food. One small thing stands out about the menu though, even as a carnivore and that is the lack of a vegetarian section in the menu. The vegetarian food that is in the menu is not greatly imaginative and I would have thought a restaurant so dedicated to creating taste sensations would not have left out our vegetable-murdering friends.