Although the options are pretty limited, it’s kinda hard to pick another selection of Hispanic cuisine in Jakarta after my visit to Tapas Movida. I had a prolonged discussion with my editor whether we should pick another pure Spanish with tapas features like in Plan B for example, a fine dining at Casa Espana, or to simply choose the Hispanic descendants such as Mexican or South American.
Originally, Hacienda had been the original choice of my editor. However after further considerations and the fact that it’s not easy to take good pictures from Hacienda at night with limited gears and an imminent deadline, therefore I decided to take the initiative by choosing El Asador, the well-reputed South American grill on the vicinity of Kemang.
This decision was also made through several other considerations such as because Plan B would be at the same page with Tapas Movida, while Casa Espana is more for splurge, and basically I don’t have time to research about the rest. Thanks to a cool writer friend of mine, Sebastian Subakti of JJK and Epicure, I had the confident to try El Asador. Anyway, my editor recommended me about it as well.
Those are the dynamics of being a food writer, ladies and gentlemen. It’s not easy to adapt with certain unfavorable conditions such as this for example or because the restaurant simply doesn’t want you to take pictures in other cases. You’d really have to rely on your memory, experience, or references from trusted sources like this case for instance. Not just that, you have to ready your stomach to ‘collect the data’ and then to fight the traffic just to get to the nearest coffee shop or home to beat the deadlines while also biting your nails preparing to face editing consequences from your remote boss. Lucky for me, this is the best job in the world so far and I am more than happy to face the challenges!
Back to El Asador, we arrived during lunch time and there was only a patron aside from us. Mild Latin music was in the air and we seated ourselves at the edge of the non-smoking lounge, which by the way, El Asador has a smoking area made like a terrace with seats overseeing the street and completely separated from the inner chamber.
Since we entered the restaurant through the terrace door, nobody took notice of us until I decided to approach the cashier and afterwards, the service became very supreme. Even the owner, Mr Eugenio, dropped by and say hi to ask how’s the service so far. While it’s cheap to train the employees about how to serve the customers with the best attitude, according to a good friend of mine who often came by and drop some comments in my blog, it’s actually an admirable thing done by Mr Eugenio to emphasize this matter. As a result, it felt like I had my own butler for a while because somebody was stationed all the time nearby us and being very helpful indeed!
Unfortunately for me, it wasn’t mentioned before in the website or anywhere else that El Asador only serves the grills for dinner or Sunday brunch. I was very curious about the result of the grills made with asado technique – a South American style to grill meat – upon a uniquely designed parrilla or the adjustable metal frame which enables the asador (master griller) to position the meat in flexible angles to achieve the balance.
So instead, what I had that time for the opener was the lengua a la con vinagreta con enslada Rusa or a portion for sharing of boiled sliced beef tongue – which was so tender and much to my liking – marinated with herbs, olive oil, vinegar, and egg. The Russian salad, heavily equipped with mayo, was served as the accompaniment. It was interesting and although the taste may be a bit strange for many, it’s a good try anyway.
After a while, I realized that I had ordered two mains which also consist of eggs in it. I don’t know whether Argentinian cuisine (or Uruguayan – since Mr Eugenio came from that country) uses a lot eggs in their dishes or it was merely a coincidence. Anyway, both dishes tasted decent although I don’t really see the real difference with the usual Western dishes we often have.
The first one was chivito al pan or basically a sandwich filled with meat, ham, bacon, fried egg, mozzarella cheese, and mayo served alongside French fries. The meat, however, was a beef tenderloin grilled the churrasco style and was very flavorful and tender. By the way, Mr Eugenio said that chivito is a common dish in Uruguay. Safe to say, we can consider it a national dish although heavily influenced from other countries as well.
The second dish came from Mexican influence although Mr Eugenio said that he applied his own style there. It’s actually a burrito filled with minced meat, capsicums, onions, spices, scrambled eggs, melted mozzarella cheese, cheddar cheese, and the special sauce from El Asador. It was inviting and came in huge portion. I felt content with what El Asador has to offer and thankfully, I did my best to prepare my stomach during the visit because every dish here came in huge portion!
A comeback is definitely a must for me and El Asador better fire up the grills because I’d be a really demanding customer if it’s about the meat!
To be continued to part 2 some time in the future after I tried the grills!
Halal-friendly (no pork dishes served but alcohol served)
Some menu are suitable for vegetarians
Kemang Point Building, Ground Floor, Jalan Kemang Raya no. 3, Jakarta – Indonesia
Tue – Sun,
11 am – 12 am (weekday)
11 am – 2 am (weekend)
9.30 am – 12 am (Sunday, asado grills available from morning)
Spend: IDR 100,000 – IDR 250,000 / person