Restaurant Review: Le Gran Cafe (Aquila Asia, May-Jun 2011)

Gran Mahakam Hotel is a beautifully designed hotel located conveniently in-between the classy neighborhood of Southern Jakarta and the hustle bustle of Central Jakarta’s business districts. But instead of starring as another modernist heralds, Gran Mahakam rather sees itself as the envoy of classic European architecture from baroque influence with all its ornamental details.

Its international restaurant, Le Gran Café, has a dashing look of mixture between classical and modern, mostly from the West but with a little bit of Oriental touch as well. The use of Onyx stones as the decorations for the wall lamps create the elegance. Next, the blending between wooden parquet and marble flooring, yet also some Asian touch of colored bamboo in the ceilings of the buffet again create a warm atmosphere and the homey kind of feeling.

Without doubt the venue itself is very decent and comfortable, but how about the food? It turns out that Le Gran Café offers a wide array of delightful choices from Japanese, Western, Peranakan, and Indonesian.

Nasi Bali

For example, the sumptuous dish of Nasi Bali is already a complete and excellent choice. The steamed rice, shaped triangle, is accompanied with beef empal (thinly cut beef steamed with various ingredients making it sweet yet tender and then fried), ayam masereh (spicy shredded chicken), vegetables urap (various vegetables topped with urap or grated coconut grounds dressing), telur pindang (egg boiled with herbal water), beef satay, rempeyek kacang (soy bean crackers) and sambal.

I must remark one thing among all these goodness and that credit goes for the beef satay. The beef satay is clearly standing out among the crowd and definitely deserves standing ovation! The meat itself was already made mild, succulent, and to add the spiciness, they put some chili on top of it. What’s driven the beef satay to be that insanely delicious was definitely the secret recipe which I have no doubt that some people who don’t fancy eating satay will be most definitely leave that all behind and embrace the new life after tasting Le Gran Mahakam’s version.

Chocolate Melted

Hey, we even haven’t reached the buffet and the desserts!

For Japanese, there’s always the sushi and sashimi counter alongside the Western salads with colorful vegetables and dressings. Quite unusual also to see fish grills available from dory, gindara and snapper with julienned vegetables. Side-by-side with the fish is the roast lamb carving and its barbeque sauce. Not only that, the envoy from Singapore would be the steam boat and some peranakan influenced dish such as the tasty and spicy roast duck with black pepper sauce. Not forgetting also that the homemade pasta station is always there for you to pick. I admit that their aglio olio pasta is probably one of the best I’ve ever tasted and it doesn’t need an Italian to do the trick. Just make it more meaty, cheesy, or spicier according to your liking. Simply, add life into it!

So if you’re done with the mains, it’s time for the dessert! The best would be the Chocolate Melted with homemade ice cream, preferably vanilla ice cream. The chocolate melted is a warm dessert made from a cake with chocolate filling, melting out of it when you sliced through and with some almonds for topping. The superb taste of the sinful chocolate combined lethally with the righteous vanilla ice cream. Yet the good news is that it’s available every day from breakfast to dinner due to its popularity.

Mahakam Lotus

Alternatively, you can always choose the unique Lotus Mahakam for a cold dessert. Experience the content of a huge carved ice with wondrous fillings such as lotus seeds, longans, lychee, baby corns, and olives all soaked in the lychee-fragrant and sweetened water.

Ultimately, it’s one helluva trip and a joyful ride all day long. My next stop here would be probably for Ramadhan Iftar. They have the already famous very vast array of Iftar openers. So next would be my turn again to see what they really offer me for Ramadhan. As for you, better not wait any longer. Book your seats and get on that rollercoaster ride of joy!

LE GRAN CAFÉ

Jl. Mahakam I No. 6, Blok M, Jakarta 12130

legrancafe@granmahakam.com

RSVP: 021 – 720 9966

Opening Hours: 6 AM to 11 PM (weekend 24 hours)

Delivery Availability: Dine in only.

Halal Meter: Halal, no pork dishes at all.

Vegetarian Friendly: Plenty of choices since it’s an international buffet and since it’s a hotel, just ask about it and they’ll be gladly to assist your vegetarian needs.

-As seen in Aquila Asia May-Jun 2011 Edition (unedited)-

-Photos courtesy of Le Gran Mahakam and Aquila Asia Magazine-

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