Cassis remained to be a big mystery to me until only a few weeks ago. It’s among a few French restaurants in Jakarta that retains its enigmatic presence since many other restaurants aim for South Jakarta area – which is packed with expats. However, only recently, Cassis upped the ante by introducing a breakthrough from the kitchen. Its now commanded by a Michelin-starred chef, probably the very first one in Indonesia.
I have met this guy a couple of years ago and he cooked so brilliantly that day from start to finish. With his one star Michelin attribute, the chef created a well-balanced menu from start to finish and I really had a thing with his dessert back then. Monsieur Jerome Laurent is his name, and this is the story about our second fine encounter.
Entering Cassis, it was all in a balanced tone between dark and bright. Opulent yet warm, I was greeted by fresh flowers and felt welcomed instead of intimidated. By the time I reached the dining room, a very uplifting moment came in suddenly because of the whole setup. I love the way how the light gave way through the latticed window. Although it was a gloomy day because of the heavy rain, I can simply imagine how warm the place becomes when the radiant sun shines on bright days.
Heading straight for the dishes, the first appetizer was a pesto soup of rich elements such basil, tomato, garlic, parmesan and emmenthal cheeses, with eggs and olive oil, poured over a bed of rainbow vegetables such as potato, carrot, white beans, long beans, green and yellow zucchinis, and edible flowers to make it look even more gorgeous. It was like a lush and colorful garden of summer crops upon the green meadow of delicious pesto soup. A classic appetizer of the old Cassis.
But who would have guessed, the soup was then complimented by a really beautiful dish that appeared simple but it wasn’t. A small cut of baked potatoes whitewashed in a creamy sauce of butter and vegetable stock tasted so rich, silky, and I was hoping for more and more of that. To make it even luscious, Cassis added slices of summer black truffles. How simple and yet so complex!
For the main dish, a veal shank carefully braised and dusted with traditional mustard crust, sat beautifully upon a bed of caramelized onion and sweet pepper. You won’t require an effort to slice open the veal and it’s gonna melt in your mouth as soon as it reaches your senses. To make it unusual, Chef Laurent provides gnocchi aside from its suitable mashed potato but it worked well. Soaked with the meat’s natural jus, it was all made impeccably well.
As a closure, two pretty desserts awaited me. I have always been a fan of Chef Laurent’s desserts and this time both the mille feuille with frozen parfait and the chocolate tart amazed me big time! I love the idea of using frozen parfait instead of regular ice cream to give a different texture for the dish. Chef Laurent gave more flavors also through the pineapple sorbet and braised apple in caramel sauce. Meanwhile the chocolate tart went well also with caramelized banana sauce and French proud – vanilla ice cream.
Later I spoke a bit with Chef Laurent’s decision about his move to Indonesia and that means, he closed his one-star Michelin restaurant back in France. It was a tough call but he needed it. For him, the French economy gets slow every day and many people no longer have the privilege to spend more on fine food. Yet, the trend of fine-dining may not be that frenzy anymore. Instead, Jakarta is somehow a different world where people are more enthusiast about food than ever before. He admitted that another chance back in Europe or The States was also available, but he chose Indonesia.
Hopefully, his reign will usher the French cuisine to a whole new level in Indonesia and Cassis surely gets the most benefit from it. My next visit will be rather soon and will keep you guys updated with more of his might and magic.
Halalness to be confirmed (pork menu and liquor are served)
Some menu are suitable for vegetarians
Pavilion Apartment, Retail Arcade, Jln. K.H. Mas Mansyur Kav. 24, Jakarta – Indonesia
Everyday, 12pm – 3pm (lunch), 6pm – 11pm (dinner)
Spend: IDR 250,000 – IDR 500,000 / person