As one of the old guards of French cuisine in Jakarta, Riva prides itself as the starting point for many successful chefs such as Gilles Marx of Amuz, Renaud le Rasle of Chateau Blanc, Eric Guilbert of Bibliotheque, and now Risky Hidayat – a talented local chef. Although the latter now has joined the ranks of Chef Renaud, it is impossible to not acknowledge Riva as one of the strongest influences for the French dining scene in the city.
I can’t say whether I was unfortunate to know Riva after the time of those fabulous chefs I mentioned earlier. My first time was when a young French-Vietnamese chef Mickael Dovan reigned the kitchen last year and I had several delightful time witnessing his talents. Well, Riva’s style is unlike those who favor colorful presentation filled with edible flowers or the countryside style – rustic and hearty. It’s somewhere in-between but it’s always appeasing. One time, Chef Mickael entwined his creations with coffee as you can read here and I had also a really good experience having a romantic dinner once, but then again Riva still has plenty up its sleeves.
I was hugely entertained with its supreme presentation from the start to finish. From the finely seared scallops and the rarely seen foie gras terrine, I also enjoyed my first time having the exotic dover sole fish and a very decently prepared beef tartare with quail’s egg yolk.
A really huge serving of côte de boeuf colored the mains, roasted to perfection, and served beautifully as in at a royal banquet. Of course, I had my mashed potato, buttered spinach, and the warm brioche as my sidekicks. As the ending of our wonderful lunch, we were then served with two perfectly bloomed souffles alongside a cup of coffee and the enchanting madeleines fresh from the oven.
Now, the French Riva time has come to an end as it now undergoes a serious facial lift and will return around the end of 2013 with a different concept. I always find it difficult to part with certain restaurants that already hit a soft spot inside my heart. Hopefully, I can still find a glimpse of nostalgic feeling with the new Riva but I am also really looking forward with what Riva has to offer with its fresh look.
So for now, à bientôt, Riva!
RIVA (under renovation)
Address: The Park Lane Hotel, Jalan Casablanca Kav. 18, Jakarta – Indonesia