Jakarta Restaurant Reviews

from Jakarta's very own review ninja.

Liquid Exchange Bar and Restaurant Review, Epicentrum Walk, Ground Floor 6F, Jl. H.R. Rasuna Said, Jakarta 12960

It is interesting to see Jakarta starting to flex its muscles and show that what other cities can achieve is also reproducable here. Liquid Exchange is very swanky and wouldn’t look out of place in a docklands development in London or Sydney.

There are two seating areas – one in an upstairs balcony and the other downstairs where I sit watching the mall’s  multinational clientele doing their capitalist thang.  It is a racial pot pourri as the mall is next to the Taman Rasuna monstrosity.

One thing that is very refreshing about the whole Bakrie development -  forgetting about the umpteen towers of doom – is the sense of space that has been factored into the Epicentrum complex.  Space to swing a luwak is a sorely-missed concept in Jakarta.

For noms, I opted for the pork loin with chorizo sausage, fettucine with herbed vegetables and whole-grain mustard sauce.  The meal was attractively presented, but my appetite soon made short work of that.  The pork loin was very good. Four cuts that were very filling, but I think the chorizo stuffing was kind of carnivore overkill.  Its richness would have worked on its own, but I ended up working around it.

The staff are discreet and prompt, but it must be said that service is good most places on a Tuesday afternoon when you are the only customer.

The one thing that bugs me in a lot of  ‘lounge’ restaurants is the apparent indecision with the volume of the (not my cup of tea) music.  Music outside of my normal playlist is fine, but please stop turning it up and down. It is intrusive and prevents an ambience being created. First a true lounge atmosphere, then 4.30pm disco, then restaurant, then “Oh, I like this one!” says Mr Waiter. And 120 bpm’s while eating gets tired quickly.

Mz showed up and ordered the roast baby chicken with shitake mushrooms and dauphinoise potatoes. This got big thumbs up from us both, especially the dauphinoise as they were very well-seasoned and the combination of these and the sauce balanced the whole meal well.

We proceeded to communicate in sign language while she decimated the pretty meal due to the volume.

Food good.  Glad I brought noise-cancelling headphones, though.

November 16, 2010 Posted by | Asian:Fusion | , , , , | 4 Comments

E-corner Restaurant Review, Epicentrum Walk, Ground Floor Unit W120, Kompleks Taman Rasuna Epicentrum, Jl. HR Rasuna Said, Jakarta Selatan 12960

E-corner is not, as some might assume, an Internet cafe (in fact, it has no Wifi as yet), but rather the latest eatery to arrive at Epicentrum Walk, in the Bakrieland development on Rasuna Said.  Tucked away from the drone of the endless traffic, the complex reminds me of the nice side of Singapore.  It is spacious and neat and orderly, and shock, horror, people can actually walk around without being afraid of being scythed down by a family of 6 (and pembantu on the handlebars) on a motorbike.

The layout is meant to incorporate the 4 elements.  The ‘e’ in E-corner actually stands for Earth.  To this extent, the decor works well.  Lots of stone makes for a subdued, established feel.  It is neither intimidating nor overblown.

The manger, Wanda,  talked me through the concept behind the place, with a refreshing candour.  He explained how the rough hewn stone walls and partitions represented earth, the air element was realised in the throughflow of air (due to a wall being open to the mall behind) and water would be represented in soon to be installed water features out front of the open-air seating.  I asked how fire would be represented and he seemed hesitant.  We both agreed that fire could stay in the kitchen.

He said that while evenings were busy, day-time covers were still lower than he would like.  This is music to my ears.  An honest  person doing PR!

A constant bugbear of mine is how in a lot of restaurants selling Western food there is a lack of presentation afforded to Asian  dishes.  This is far from the truth in the case of E-Corner.  Mz had the Nasi Lemak which made us both say “Wow” when it was served.  The photo does it little justice, but the extra attention to detail is well worth the result.

Although the menu had lots of nice middle-eastern style dishes, I decided to have the steak sandwich.  I was suffering from a post-refreshment state, having just celebrated entering into middle age and wanted something to take the edge off the nasty man in my head, who was clumsily juggling hammers and shouting insults at me.

As my regular readers (Hi Frank, Sandra!) will know, I have a real downer when it comes to Indonesian bread.  My friend mentioned his dislike for it the other night and I discovered that several others also hated it.  I am not alone.  For me, a sandwich should be made with unsweetened, and preferably wholemeal or multigrain bread.  In this country it is usually made with toasted frisbees of cloying mock-bread which both turn the stomach and render the mouth devoid of saliva.  So when I saw the baguette turn up, I sniffed it and circled it like a bomb-disposal dog.

My worries were in vain.  The sandwich rocked.  Freshly chopped tomato and cucumber, with a tingly amount of mustard to set off the steak made for a nutritious and mouth-watering hangover-swallower.

The staff seemed competent and friendly, but I don’t envy the guy armed with the electric tennis racket, charged with defeating the hordes of flies out front.  The flies defeated us and drove us indoors and I suspect he will come to know the futility of battling insects en masse.

To bitch about flies is to disrespect E-Corner.  They can’t help the annoying insects presence any more than I can make police corruption cease or Tony Roma’s produce taste food-like.

I know some people like like it when I hate a place and get all antsy, but E-Corner doesn’t provide negativity material.  It is under-stated, well thought-out and good at what it does.

Good, fresh food. And making the bad juggler in my head be quiet.

Mz Corner

Mz Corner tentang E-corner kali ini agak terlambat dipublish disebabkan oleh  kepadatan jadwal ngebir saya. :p

Waktu pertama kali saya mendapat info tentang tempat ini, saya pikir tempat ini akan berbau-bau high-tech dan kental akan segala sesuatu yang sifatnya futuristik.  Tapi ternyata saya salah, fasilitas Wifi pun belum disediakan ketika kami datang.

Ternyata E- disini adalah kependekan dari ‘earth’.  Jadi dekor dan atmosfir yang sengaja ditampilkan di restoran ini lebih kepada elemen-elemen yang ada di bumi, kayu, batu, air dan lain-lain.

Sangat nyaman berada di dalamnya.  Singkat cerita, saya memesan nasi lemak yang berukuran cukup besar untuk ukuran restoran sekelas ini.

Tampilannya cukup menggugah selera ketika baru saja disajikan.

Dalam sekejap saya melalap habis santapan di hadapan saya. Saya rasa nasi lemak di sini jauh lebih memberi kesan citarasa Indonesia daripada malaysia.

Mungkin si koki sangat berjiwa patriotik. Tapi tak ada yang salah koq dengan nasi lemak bercita rasa Indonesia.

Pilihan bumbu-bumbu bernuansa nusantara sangat terasa di telur dan teri baladonya.

Sejenak angan-angan saya terbang ke kampung halaman. Masakan ibu saya! Itu yang otomatis terbersit di kepala.

Untuk ukuran pengunjung Indonesia, nasi lemak saya dibandrol agak tinggi. Saya lupa harga persisnya, sekitar 45 ribu. Tapi saya cukup maklum, mengingat lokasi dan target pasar restoran ini.

Saya rasa di setiap restoran dimana makanan Indonesia atau Asia adalah pelengkap menu, harga akan dirata-ratakan dengan menu utama yang biasanya Western.

Bagi anda yang berminat untuk mampir untuk nonton di XXI di Epicentrum atau sekedar hang out restoran ini patut dicoba. :)

July 19, 2010 Posted by | European:Fusion | , , , , , , | 2 Comments

   

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