Jakarta Restaurant Reviews

from Jakarta's very own review ninja.

Pesto Autentico Restaurant Review, ANZ Square UG Floor, The Podium at Thamrin Nine, Jl. Thamrin No. 10, Jakarta Pusat 10230

Pesto Autentico resides in Thamrin Nine, a dominating megabuilding that would not look out of place in Stanley Kubick’s rather dull movie 2001 A Space Odyssey.  It is all shiny and chrome and is super-modern, which usually unsettles me and makes me feel as if my wallet is already being stripped.  But on behalf of my readership (HI Frank!), I thought I’d take one for the team.

The interior resembles a warehouse conversion, and the space has been left sparse and industrial with stripped woods, stonework and flooring unadorned.  Perhaps this is a work in progress.  I felt that it could do with a little more to tie a theme together.  The furniture looks like it was chosen by two designers with markedly different dreams.  Rather than having an eclectic result, it simply looks like somebody else’s restaurant got Pesto’s order and vice-versa.  Wi-fi is currently unavailable (which our waiter apologised for while chuckling) and I felt that this is a large omission in a business complex.

I am a big fan of mood music and there is a wealth of Italian music to create a mood from cheesy 1950’s through to cafe-culture sub-dance music.

Pesto has opted rather oddly for R ‘n’ B/Beyonce-style beats and as I usually make an effort to avoid this type of music it is annoying just how prolific it can be.

However, the music barely takes the edge off the air conditioning’s omnipresent whir.  Although the ducts, vents and pipes have all been painted black, this does little to alter the aural impact.  It actually sounded like my parents tumble drier circa 1990, and we never opted for a meal in our utility room.

I had the Medallions with Potato Gratin and Pork Sausage, with a very refreshing salad that had just the right balsamic sharpness.  Mz had the Pork Sausages with Baby Potatoes, also with the same tasty salad.

We shared garlic bruschetta and to sum up, I cannot fault the food except to say that Mz’ portion was too big, which can hardly be deemed a crime.

To be honest, if the food was served to me blind-folded and with ear-plugs in I would be delighted.  But unfortunately, a restaurant is a sum of its parts (or more!) and all my other senses were left wanting.

The service was pleasant enough, with the waiter smiley and efficient.  He could do with apologising a bit less, though.  ‘Excuse me’, or ‘permisi’ would suffice instead of the more deferential ‘sorry’, which left me feeling guilty that I had asked him to do his job.

Mz cracked her knee on an unfortunately positioned bracket on the underside of the table, so she will be taking away her memories and a souvenir too.  A bruised knee for the start of her working week.

As this place is not long open, I hope that the review I have given is not seen as damning the place outright.  The first part is there.  The food.  A chat with building management to sort out their jet engine air-conditioning and a new iPod playlist would work wonders.

Photos (the undercover ones I got before being asked to desist) to follow.

Mz Corner

Waktu pertama kali saya dengar nama restoran ini disebut, saya koq langsung mengasosiasikan kata ‘pesto’ dengan ‘presto’ ya? Bandeng presto. Sangat tidak berhubungan. Anyway…

Dari luar gedung UOB plaza terlihat sangat sepi di hari minggu siang itu. Pertama kali masuk ke restoran ini, kesan modern dan industrialis jelas terlihat. Hal ini juga didukung dengan musik yang diputar disini. Saya sampai lupa kalau saya berada di restoran Italia.

Ketika disodori menu, saya lumayan terkesan dengan rangkaian pilihan makanan dan minuman di sini, sangat variatif. Bagi anda penyuka seafood ala italia, banyak sekali pilihannya di restoran ini. Sayangnya saya tidak memilih seafood kali ini, jadi saya tidak bisa kasih berkomentar lebih jauh. Pork sausages dan baby potatoes menjadi begitu menggoda kala perut berteriak kelaparan. Begitu makanan yang kami pesan datang, tanpa tunggu aba-aba, serentak  kami mulai menyantap sajian yang terlihat sangat segar dan menggugah selera. Sepertinya pepatah ‘jangan menilai segala sesuatu dari luarnya’ atau ‘Don’t judge a book by its cover’ tidak berlaku di restoran ini. Sosis yang sangat enak dan salad segar itu dengan cepat masuk perut saya. Tekstur sosisnya benar-benar empuk dan pas tingkat kematangannya. Anda harus coba.

Secara keseluruhan, saya sih senang-senang saja makan di sini. Super enak dan tidak terlalu mahal. Makanan yang saya pesan hanya sekitar 65 ribu. Untuk ukuran restoran Italia setaraf ini saya rasa harganya cukup terjangkau.

Pelayanan yang cukup baik dan cepat pun menjadi salah satu nilai plus restoran ini. Mungkin hal negatif yang kami tulis di kartu komentar mereka sebelum pulang lebih berkisar dalam hal bisingnya suara AC yang cukup mengganggu bila anda berusaha bercengkerama dengan rekan terdekat anda atau meeting penting dengan klien-klien anda. Tapi restoran ini masih relatif baru, jadi masih banyak kesempatan untuk mereka menindaklanjuti masalah  si AC nakal. :)

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July 11, 2010 - Posted by | European:Italian | , , , , , , ,


  1. I just ate there two days ago. I found the food was fantastic. Love the pizza and the pasta. I also tried the tiramisu, which i think is one of the best I have ever tried. Pricewise is very reasonable for that kind of atmosphere. I found the atmosphere was quite hip and warm, yet relaxing actually. I did ask about the loud noise, and I was quite surprised to find out that the restaurant just had its soft opening on that week. The waiter apologized for little things that were not perfect yet. Hopefully they are going to fix the noise soon, but it would not stopping me for going there for more vongole pasta anyway.

    Comment by Demitri | July 12, 2010 | Reply

    • And the common theme here is that the food was fantastic. That’s the thing about restaurants – although we both agree on that, we both have different tastes in things like decor and music. Vive la difference!

      Comment by jakartarestaurantreviews | July 13, 2010 | Reply

  2. Love the food…worth a try! Even though there are still some mistakes here and there but I would like to say that so far my experience has been fantastic.

    Comment by Sing Gal | July 14, 2010 | Reply

    • Glad to hear it. I really welcome others’ thoughts or I never really know if I am looking too closely at a place instead of just getting my earplugs in and eating!

      Comment by jakartarestaurantreviews | July 15, 2010 | Reply

  3. I think the noise from the fan is super annoying. Sounds like a jet engine and I can’t barely hear the music that is playing. Nevertheless, the food is ok. The pizza is the best dish that we ordered. The pizza base is perfect, not too thin, not too thick and they use quality cheese. The pasta is not inspiring so does the risotto.

    they gave us free antipasto which is grilled eggplant and peppers which is super nice as well.

    at the end of the meal, we are also given free tiramisu which they boast is the best in town. i think its just an ordinary one, they dont even use the coffee liquor that normally used in tiramisu

    a nice and interesting place, but i will probably not come back until they fix the noisy AC

    Comment by wanderbuzz | July 14, 2010 | Reply

    • I can’t really comment on the desserts, but wonder if they omitted the liquer so that people of all walks of life can have it. Then again, I suppose the presence of pork in the menu would preclude most haram-fearing people anyway. ALL THESE FREEBIES! Why didn’t I get any?! :-p

      Comment by jakartarestaurantreviews | July 15, 2010 | Reply

  4. Thanks for giving me heads up with your review! I love your reviews btw, so full of personality :)

    I oredered the sausage because of your review. And it was very delicious! I usually order gnocchi tomato paste everytime i go to a real italian restaurant, because it’s one of my fav italian dish not easily made. Was very good, comparable to fashion pasta’s (my fave so far) should try it next time!

    The appetizer and entree were superb which makes me wonder why the desserts were mediocre.. Canolli was weird..

    Comment by Selina | August 7, 2010 | Reply

  5. I’m going there myself tonight. Since it’s been sometimes after the review was posted, I hope to see a tad of improvement. And your review is so honest and subjective, but oh well, isn’t that why we are here? to share the experience from our point of view?

    Keep you posted with my experience

    Comment by Hung Lee Chow Down | November 13, 2010 | Reply

    • I have actually been back and most of my complaints had been addressed one way or another. Thanks for the comment, HLCD!

      Comment by jakartarestaurantreviews | November 13, 2010 | Reply

  6. What is your phone number

    Comment by Jeffry | December 29, 2010 | Reply

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