Q Smokehouse Restaurant Review, Setiabudi One Building, Ground Floor, Unit B – 115, Jl. H.R. Rasuna Said, Kuningan, South Jakarta.
Sometimes we think that just because we have thought about something, it must have happened. My boss often takes this approach to paying me. And I often think that if I turn up to a restaurant and sample from the menu, then my ruminations will magically pop up here without any effort on my part. And this is the reason why I have never got around to reviewing Q! Smokehouse in Setaiabudi Building One (coupled with the fact that my computer refuses to speak to their Wi-Fi network for some reason), despite availing of their fayre on an overly regular basis.
When I say overly regularly, this is more in terms of my quickly encrusting heart valves than in terms of the food. The food rocks, especially the steak chimicurri, which is always just right, no matter which amount of searing I ask for. This is served up with a light arrangement of lettuce leaves which is bigger than the standard Indonesian insult, but is still a little light on flavour. It’s as if they are a little scared that their customers may not like balsamic vinegar, so they seem to do a watered-down dressing which stirs the tongue out of slumber, but doesn’t do anything ZING!-y.
The restaurant can seat about 40-45, and does regularly, unlike some of the more ambitious (read ridiculous) restaurants that seem to price their food according to the acreage of their ground rent and leaves their customers like little islands in a sea of tables, firing flares in the sky to get the waiters’ attentions.
The intimate nature of the restaurant is one of the reasons I like it. I like the staff who remember me from the previous visit and ask if I would like the same seat (don’t mind if I do!). I like being offered a candy on the way out the door – I always decline in the misguided notion that the candy would be bad for my health, after shovelling a fillet of nutritious cow flesh into my face. The fact that they leave me alone if I want to be left alone, or are easy to summon if I want to order are all pluses.
But today launched this little restaurant into a place in my heart forever. Mz Marmalade, my dining partner, saw a plate of lovely mixed, steamed vegetables heading towards another table and decided she wanted some, having missed them on the menu. This she did, and they turned up before her main course, so she set about uncomplainingly eating her side dish as an appetizer. I wanted no part of the dish because I could have smelt the garlic if I was in Cirebon. She stopped abruptly. The garlic (which wasn’t an option it seemed) was do-able, but the over-cookedness of the vegetables was not cool (or overly lingeringly hot, if you will). In short they were like eating lontong, such was the lack of resistance to the tooth. She called over the waiter and explained, very gently, that vegetables shouldn’t be boiled within an inch of their lives. She gave the example of customers choosing the type of cooking they wanted for their meat. The waiter was a nice chap and apologized. In our joint experience of Indonesian restaurants we knew that was as far as these things go. The mains made up for the vegetables blip by being yummy.
So we set about eating our mains and out of the blue a manager-type appeared profferring a small dish of steamed carrots. He asked Mz if these were better and seemed genuinely to care! CUSTOMER SERVICE! OMG! YES! YES! YES! BABY! etc…
Him and the Mz had a quick chat about offering the customers the choice of garlic and how well they would like their sayuran matanged. He seemed genuinely grateful for feedback and through the Mz, I thanked him very much for being such a good public relations person. Not only listening but getting instant feedback too.
I am willing to slam a restaurant’s image into the dirt if they treat their customers badly, but I also believe in credit where credit is due. Give this place a try, readers, and reward them for caring.
The place gets busy with office workers during weekdays but is quieter at the weekends. Nonetheless, a quick ring to book will do no harm. 021 520 7078