What’s more extravagant than having a dinner affair in a five-star hotel at the most prestigious address in Jakarta? The inconspicuous restaurant with a catchy name of Cinnamon tempts Aquila Asia to unveil what’s behind the exclusivity of Mandarin Oriental Jakarta.
The hotel itself is one of the classic alternatives among other five-star competitors that exclusively surround the Bundaran HI, known as the landmark that defines Jakarta. Mandarin Oriental Jakarta itself had undergone almost two years of interior refurbishment and appeared again stylishly in 2009. Apart from the vintage exterior look, the insides look stunningly modern and extravagant.
Lively yet intimate, the international cuisine restaurant Cinnamon flaunts a casual theme but also romantic scene for dining. Not to mention also about the good suitability for both lunch and dinner in business attire. The use of natural materials such as raw woods with marble flooring, limestone walls, and sisal carpeting brings the rustic side of Cinnamon, especially with the ‘jungle’ scenery that camouflaged the restaurant. But with a wonderful composition of calm colours of cream and gold fused with warm lighting both artificial and natural brings also a multitude of modern touch of nowadays interior style.
The one thing that welcomes everyone first is the display of colourful cakes and hampers from The Mandarin Oriental Cake Shop. What comes next is the feeling of the urgency to really test what Cinnamon has to offer and for that opportunity what’s better than being seated just beside the window to see the soothing greeneries just outside.
So Cinnamon may bring international theme but it is clear that they emphasize the Asian culture. For instance the highlight dishes are the majestic set of Hainanese Chicken Rice or the scrumptious Sampler of many Asian delights such as chicken tikka with mint and cucumber, crab cake with papaya pickles, sautéed prawn skewers and grilled beef salad. Both of them prove to be an excellent choice for a brief business lunch.
For that reason as well, Cinnamon doesn’t rely too much on having a wide variety for their food stations. Aside from some of their notable competitors that present the opposite, Cinnamon appears content with such degree of simplicity. When asked, Mr. Gono Soegiono the restaurant manager explains that, ‘Business lunch takes time only for about 30 to 45 minutes therefore we only serve what the guests need and as the compensation for that, rest assured that what we serve is of the best quality’.
This does makes sense although more options wouldn’t hurt especially judging from the reputation and the history of Mandarin Oriental Jakarta, yet most of all, the expectations. The course starts mainly from the openers such as salads or the Japanese style appetizers like sushi and sashimi. Let us never also miss the cheese station to boost up the morale. From there, some inviting options are there especially for the carving table of roast beef and pasta station that offers homemade tagliatelle, penne, linguini, and rigatoni.
What amuses me is actually the sandwich station which is quite rare in Jakarta hotels for as far as I know. Deriving from the goals to deal with the appetite of brief diners, Mandarin Oriental Jakarta has devised this small station with plenty of options. You can actually pick the already made ones with tuna and cheese for example, but also you can choose from variety of ciabatta, white, and whole wheat bread then decide the fillings. Make it plain or panini according to your liking and have it delivered directly to your table.
To end it all, simply choose the tempting variety of desserts yet the must-pick from all of those is definitely the one and only, the indisputable for the past 15 years, and that would be the American Chocolate Cake. Velvety and luscious, though came in small size! It’s best to spare more room for this one and load them all to your table before they simply vanish into thin air. Complete the excitements with crepes paired with homemade ice cream and sorbet or make it a worthy companion if the cakes ran out.
After two years of its existence, Cinnamon may still feel like a myth despite the imposing presence of the hotel. It’s a hidden jewel to be exact despite its small and modest selections of food. It’s beautiful nonetheless and now I feel like romantic dinner already but now I know one of those worthy for my next pick.