Coffee tasting experience in a skyscraper

It was a long and tiring day. Not to mention that it rained so heavily late in the afternoon and that adds more misery to the already miserable Jakarta with all its traffic and pollution. The journey from my office to Pacific Place was not a pleasant one as well though quite nearby. I was forced to use the less comfortable public transportation and took the wrong route to make it worse.

The agony didn’t stop there, I was again forced to walk the long way from Crowne Plaza Hotel considering that using any public transport would be futile or wasteful. Therefore I fought against ticking clock to my appointment time, drizzling rain, splashes from puddles, slippery muds, toxic fumes, and the long walk.

Well, it all started from an invitation for a coffee tasting at Ritz-Carlton Hotel Pacific Place from a good friend of mine, Mr. Burhan Abe (http://burhanabe.com), a seasoned and famous journalist. It didn’t take long for me to accept and the journey proved itself to be fateful.

Long story short, I got acquainted with one of the PRs of Ritz-Carlton, Ms. Angelina. We all started with excitement and it turned out to be a delightful evening where we talk about the current project of Ritz-Carlton to introduce coffee to its customers. Here in Pacific Restaurant and Lounge, there are plenty to be enjoyed aside from the luscious interior look of the place and the extravagant view of Jakarta. People seemed to really enjoy their time relaxing with either their coffee, cigars, and other kind of refreshments Ritz-Carlton has to offer everyone.

Since we came for the coffee, Ritz-Carlton proudly presents many kinds of coffee from all over the world, freshly brewed and French pressed. We were given the chance to taste four kinds that evening. The exotic Ethiopian Yirgacheffe, the balanced Colombian Supremo, the muscle strong Torajan Kalosi, and the nicely done Acehnese Gayo. So it’s the battle between the continents!

Since Ms. Angelina informed us first about how she awed with the strength and the goodness of Torajan coffee, we decided not to start from there. First, it was the Ethiopian. The result was quite satisfying since it’s mild and suitable for black coffee beginners. There’s a hint of spice scent and it’s not acidic at all.

A good start for us as we head for the Colombian afterwards.

The Colombian Supremo proved itself to be quite dense with the higher body level than the previous one and again with no sign of acidic taste. Thus I was convinced that the Supremo is more at the advance level, but don’t get to carried away since we’re not arrive at the Indonesian coffee.

Next would be both the Acehnese and the Torajan at the same time. Clearly, it’s a ‘lost cause’ from those who attempted to overthrow the Torajan Kalosi that night. Even though the Acehnese Gayo came in quite strong but the Torajan Kalosi retaliated with such fury and such greatness. Everything was dense with the coffee starting from the smell, the thickness, and up to the after taste.

But make no mistake, clearly we have to judge almost about everything not only from the variety (in which we have to be grateful that there are so many choices out there to your liking) but also on how the coffee brewed and served. Sometimes most of all, we can’t ignore the fact that if you’re having a good time out there with your friends or even by yourself. That evening proved to be a great experience for us, great chats in a great place, and  with great coffee. You wouldn’t bother about this coffee or that coffee especially me, considering the toll I had put myself through to honor the appointment.

Not long afterwards, I got acquainted with another PR Ms. Hanny Gunawan and treated for a good fix of amazing dinner at the restaurant. So on my next journal, it will be about the dinner and our other fun we had on the dining table. The joyous evening still continues. Stay tune!

LOCATION:

PACIFIC RESTAURANT & LOUNGE

The Ritz-Carlton Jakarta, Pacific Place 6th Fl.

SCBD, Jl. Jend. Sudirman Kav. 52-53

Jakarta 12190

RSVP: 021 – 2550 1888 ext. 3993

Restaurant Review: A Tavola (Aquila Asia, Mar-Apr 2011)

Behold in awe, an Italian gentleman that goes with the name Signor Davide Lomanto, who successfully blends two opposite specialties, as an accomplished surgeon and his love for cooking. Long story short, he started an authentic Italian prodotto deli that eventually becomes well-known for its cheese, salami, pasta, olive oil, coffee, and a bit of wine. Meet unfamiliar names of cheese like Bel Paese, Pecorino Romano, Grana Padano, or salami like Prosciutto di Parma, Salame Milano, and Bresaola here.

After gaining some fame, the patrons urged him to instead open a restaurant as well and now everybody can enjoy his authentic dishes together with those unfamiliar cheese and Italian meat. So, an Italian deli combined with a restaurant? A rare combination to be found in Jakarta and that way, A Tavola distinguishes itself from other Italian restaurants.

Once you got inside it doesn’t feel that Italian, but thanks to some paintings depicting typical traditional European towns, cobble streets, and with inscriptions of Italian names like Ischia, Venice, Milano, or Giovanni, later you’ll be convinced that you are in an Italian ristorante or caffè and not just a butcher. The indigo painted walls are also suitable with the lightings and thus creating this calming sensation, especially at night where you might just want to laid back and have a romantic dinner with your partner. It’s not that fancy but it’s just right, unless when everybody’s smoking because it’s a smoking zone all over A Tavola!

Bresaola alle Verdure

It’s time to eat! The star appetizer is Bresaola alle Verdure. It’s a salad that consists of various fresh vegetables such as the romaine lettuces, colorful bell peppers, parsley, tomato, and kyuri. It is also furnished with sundry tomatoes, olives, and the most important part of it all, the bresaola or thinly cut seasoned, salted, air-dried beef. It’s an equation of freshness coming from nature in abundance, mixed and dressed beautifully with a touch of extra virgin olive oil here and there. Savory and tempting, the tender bresaola would just melt right away in your mouth and is indeed the soul to the dish. Kick in some sundry tomatoes and olives for the fresh sour taste and there you go, a divine salad!

Ravioli con Burro e Salvia

A Tavola boasts its fresh homemade pasta especially ravioli, so the first choice goes to the restaurant’s recommendation Ravioli con Burro e Salvia or in English, ricotta cheese and spinach stuffed ravioli served with butter and sage. Sounds simple and not that pricey to tell you the truth, but it’s challengingly heavy. Surely one cannot deny how pleasant an indulging, tangy thick butter sauce mixing in with the ricotta and spinach filled ravioli. Surprisingly enough, it’s just too heavy but if you want to fill your tummy full quick and cheap, that’s the way.

Ravioli di Manzo and Bresaola alle Verdure

So the savior of the clan is Ravioli di Manzo. One must thank enormously to the tomato sauce because it brings the garden-fresh lightness into the already lavishly plate full of ravioli filled with beef, ricotta, and pumpkin. Together they created a taste of extraordinary good cheesy meaty savory feeling. It should be a relatively easy and quick effort to finish this one and there you go again, a happy grin.

Fettuccine alla Norcina

On the other hand, the Fettuccine alla Norcina is lack of character especially with the soul of it, the cream sauce. Without doubt, the sauce was made thick and spread all over the fettuccine, even beforehand it was cooked alongside gorgonzola cheese but the sharpness and the strength of it was diminishing as time goes by and it goes sticky with the pasta. Even with the fact that the dish was well equipped with the good Italian sausage and mushroom but they just can’t help it from deteriorating.

Pannacotta

Finally, to get through the day, it’s the Pannacotta for dessert. However, it may be not a very inspiring experience as well. It is not too sweet if not for the chocolate nor refreshing as a dessert. You may be brought to near suffocation and heaviness thanks to the gelatin but if you seek the Piemonte traditional version, well there you go!

Ravioli di Cioccolato

The uplifting part goes for Ravioli di Cioccolato. Said to be made delicately because the nature of flour and chocolate which just don’t add up for the chemistry but in the end, if successful, creating a very authentic, fulfilling dessert. Filled with chocolate as well, flanked by a scoop of vanilla ice cream, thus creating a sweet encounter. It should be the coup de grâce you might have been looking for from the beginning!

After such pleasant experience, let yourself agree that Italian food is simply for everybody, it’s just like the families in mob flicks you usually see on TV where they share everything for everybody on the same table. Such togetherness and happiness (though bloody) where you see rarely these days, I just can’t help but to thank the Italians for reminding me again of family values. So you might want to share the fun instead of keeping it for yourself. Everything seems fine, but do help the non-smokers to enjoy your good food next time, A Tavola…

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A TAVOLA

Address: Jl. Kemang Selatan Raya no. 125, Jakarta – Indonesia

RSVP: 021 – 7179 3580

Opening Hours: 10 am – 11 pm

Delivery Availability: Dine in only.

Halal Meter: Mostly Halal and the already small population pork dishes can all be substituted with beef. Most of the ingredients are local except for the Australian beef and traditional Italian meat and sausages.

Vegetarian Friendly: Yes and the vegetarian dishes are indicated clearly in the menu. Anyway, all is customizable for vegetarian needs.

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-As seen in Aquila Asia Mar-Apr 2011 Edition (unedited)-

-Photos courtesy of Rian Farisa and Aquila Asia Magazine-