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!
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!
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.
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.
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.
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!
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…
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.
-As seen in Aquila Asia Mar-Apr 2011 Edition (unedited)-
-Photos courtesy of Rian Farisa and Aquila Asia Magazine-