Tag Archives: Indonesian

UNION Café, Ready to Take on The New Terrain

Much to everyone’s excitement, UNION Café was recently unveiled as the latest entry from The Union Group – the big family that shapes the F&B scene of Jakarta for years now.

Known for the endless innovations when it comes to various dining concepts, UNION Café in a way differentiates itself with the siblings. Emulating the success of UNION as the group’s flagship restaurant is already a challenge, but to leave its own mark of distinction to curious Jakartan diners would be an admirable feat.

Within just few weeks of their opening since before Eid this year, the establishment has already become the talk of the town. The welcoming atmosphere, the circular shape of the café, and the alluring display of bakery would entice even UNION’s most seasoned patron. Once inside, it’s all about comfort and privacy – albeit pretty much the whole Senayan City can see the hustle and bustle of the café.

The distinctive features came mostly from the menu and perhaps this is the first time in the history of UNION that we have Indonesian-inspired dishes more than ever. The inspirations for the menu was either creatively driven or derived from personal experiences of chef proprietor Adhika Maxi and his wife Karen Carlotta. The result is an exciting lineup worth every penny to indulge.

From the starters, UNION Café boasts the collection of Indonesian snacks such as the prawn and chicken tahu isi with daun jeruk, singkong fries “soto flavor”, scallop bakwan jagung, and bakwan fishcakes. Alternatively, you can choose international flavors such as the lemongrass tuna tataki with tempeh crumbs or the calamari with San Marzano tomatoes and tartar sauce.

Heading to the pasta section, the Indonesian flavors can be seen right away from the appearance of crispy teri aglio olio spaghetti and the crispy chicken penne with sambal matah. The latter shows UNION Café’s new commitment for bolder taste. It’s not just about the depth of flavors and the sophistication of the dish, but also the level of spiciness. This would be a new height that perhaps only a few internationally-themed restaurants in Jakarta would be brave enough to climb.

Heading to the main course, one certainly must play along with UNION Café’s signatures. For example; the Indo Spiced Steak with cabe rawit confit, colorful vegetables, and rice would be a great substitute for your usual Steak Frites. Other than that, the café offers the appetizing nasi bebek garing on garlic rice and served with 2 kinds of sambal. Not stopping on those, we have all the goodness from slow cooked short ribs with tamarind sauce, nasi goreng kepiting, and seafood mie goreng.

Heading straight to the desserts – a specialty that has contributed so much for UNION’s success, is also not short of surprises. Firstly, we have the es teler ice cream bolu roll, and pisang coklat with cinnamon sugar and burnt caramel ice cream. The rich display of cakes and pastry would be great for takeaways as well.

With this, one would be curious enough to see with what UNION Café in particular, would conjure again in the future with its potentials. As they say, UNION made is well made, and certainly we’d be looking forward to more exciting things coming from the group and its other ventures.

UNION CAFE
Lower Ground Floor, Senayan City,
Jl. Asia Afrika No.19, Jakarta
Phone: +6221 7278 1145
www.unionjkt.com


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Chef Marco Lim: Indonesia’s Envoy of Padang Peranakan Cuisine

Passion meets the man behind the renowned Padang Peranakan restaurant Marco by Chef Marco Lim. The executive chef himself shares us stories behind his love for food and the mission to expand abroad.

It has been a long time, Chef Marco! What are you currently preparing for your restaurant these days?

This Ramadan we have prepared a new set menu – the Nasi Padang Berjamaah. Inspired by Middle Eastern cuisine, we are serving our own take of nasi kebuli using the rice from Solok, West Sumatra. It has similar characteristics – a bit elongated and not sticky. Much like basmati rice.

We are also pairing the rice with kambing kurma. This dish is very popular in Pandangpanjang, especially during Ramadan. Traditionally, it doesn’t use any dates at all as the name implies, and the green color came from the use of coriander. The dish comes in family portion. It’s something like what we call in West Sumatra as makan bajamba – the time of the year after harvest when people gather and eat to celebrate.

What makes Marco different than the rest of the competitions?

I’d like to think that the restaurant is more of a mixture between authentic Padang cuisine and my Chinese inheritance – or Peranakan. The food is what my family cooks back at my home in Padang for four generations now. For example, we have in the menu – dendeng cah pade, my grandmother’s version of dendeng cah darek from Bukittinggi.

Other than the flavors, I also make sure that the colors and aroma are the same as what we have back in Padang. That’s why the ingredients are brought here fresh from the country – starting from the rice, chilies, turmeric, and even the crackers. For Ramadan, we are importing about a ton of ingredients!

As for the cooking process, we are still using traditional wood-fire stoves at the central kitchen. This way, you can even sense that the aroma is different than when cooked using modern stove. The meat itself becomes smoky. That’s how we devoted ourselves for authenticity.

You also have several different concepts within your already established restaurants. Care to elaborate that?

Sure. Based on the demographics study, we decided to open our first coffee shop concept at Gandaria City. There we emphasize more on beverage and snacks. As for the main dishes, they are instead served like a rice bowl.

We have secret menus as well. For example, our dendeng batokok is using wagyu rather than the usual beef but only at Pacific Place. Additionally, we have our mie goreng rendang only for delivery orders. You really should try the latter. It was our best seller during one of our missions with the Tourism Ministry back in South Korea.

About your collaborations with the ministry, can you tell us a bit about it?

We did several trips with the ministry to promote Indonesian food to South Africa, The States, South Korea, and Spain a while back. Madrid was an exciting opportunity especially. We were given the opportunity to serve a 7-course Padang-style dinner.

We even brought around 125 kilograms of ingredients from here! Only the three of us did the whole cooking and plating for a gala dinner a lot of guests. We also prepared about 600 sticks of sate Padang. After that, I was also given the opportunity to teach about Indonesian food at a local university.

We heard that Marco is planning to expand abroad. Can you tell us about it?

Yes, we have plans to open new restaurants in Bali and Kuala Lumpur. We are still in the middle of planning it properly. My major concern is how to retain the authenticity of our ingredients and transport it abroad. The restaurant’s concept would be similar though. We are still going to serve our dishes in their original form and taste, all freshly cooked. We are planning to open our first restaurant abroad hopefully in 2019.


Original link:
http://www.passionmedia.co.id/b/indonesias-envoy-of-padang-peranakan-cuisine-

Photography by Edwin Pangestu

Why You Should Visit Fairmont Jakarta for Sunday Brunch This Weekend

Jakarta seems can’t get enough of Sunday brunches and there’s no sign of stopping. Jumping into the fray now is Fairmont Jakarta with its self-styled Moonlight Sunday Brunch. Naturally, there are many reasons for you to book your place there and enjoy it this weekend.

Spectrum is perhaps among the most highlighted of many all-day-dining restaurants of five-star hotels in Jakarta. Based on my personal experience, Spectrum has that edge with many inventive cuisines from time to time. Partly perhaps because of the initiatives done at VIEW, the hotel’s premier fine-dining restaurant. But most of all; it’s because of Fairmont Jakarta’s brilliant Indonesian chefs, their free rein of creativity, and for me personally – Spectrum has among the best Indian food in town!

Spectrum is located on the 2nd floor of this extravagant, prestigious hotel in the southern part of Jakarta. For Moonlight Sunday Brunch, Spectrum prepares a wonderful lineup of buffet selections, carving stations, a wide array of cheese selections, blini and caviar, alluring antipasti and fresh seafood, and many more.

The fresh seafood part is among the best in Jakarta as it encompasses wide selections such as the sweet prawns, tiger prawns, Fine de Claire oysters, king crabs, mud crabs, clams, and many others. Spectrum also introduces its so-called halal charcuterie with choices such as the air-dried beef or the bresaola, the turkey ham, lamb salami, lobster terrine, and cured sea bass or smoked salmon.

When I said earlier that the cheese selections are widely arrayed, well, indeed it is. Premium cheese cuts from the usual parmesan wheel to brie and camembert as well as comte and gorgonzola are available with fresh grapes, biscuits, or dried fruits as the accompaniments.

The star of the show however, comes from the carving station. Chef Edi Pancamala initiated an ambitious approach to introduce something special to this station. By not setting aside the usual selections like the ribs or the fish, he instead featured the steamship!

Weighed around 30 kilograms and came from the thigh of the cow, the specifically ordered steamship takes three days just for marination and cooked at optimum temperature using sous-vide methodFurthermore, the herb and seasoning rubs were also applied and the presentation is indeed very eye-catching.

I personally had around a couple of huge slices of this majestic cut and grew very fond of it. It’s a cut unlike others and has a consistency that is less meaty but gives away a brand new experience and appreciation for the blessed beast – if I may say so myself. It’s definitely a must-try for brunch regulars of Jakarta.

Last but not least from the savory section is the a la carte menu that comprises of eight choices from burrata, scallops, lamb pie, eggs Benedict, and more. Ending the whole experience would be the neatly arranged and delightful desserts, influenced by both worlds – Indonesian and abroad.

For those who wish to spend the weekend with their family and loved ones, the Moonlight Sunday Brunch at Spectrum restaurant is available every Sunday from 12pm to 3pm and priced at IDR 625,000++ per person – including coffee, tea, special mocktail and fresh juices.


SPECTRUM
Not halal-certified (serves alcohol, some dishes contain pork)
Some dishes are suitable for vegetarians

Address:
Fairmont Hotel Jakarta
Jalan Asia-Afrika no. 8, Jakarta – Indonesia
T: +62.21.2970.3333

Natasha Victoria Lucas: A Journey of Self-Discovery (Passion, Feb 2018)

Sebagai food blogger dan food stylist yang berpengalaman, seorang Natasha Victoria Lucas telah semakin mengenal industri F&B bahkan secara profesional. Pada segment Reinvent di edisi ini, Natasha berbagi cerita mengenai perjalanan karirnya serta bagaimana ia jatuh cinta pada salah satu masakan Indonesia yang sangat terkenal – soto ayam Lamongan!

Bisa ceritakan apa yang Natasha jalani dahulu sebelum menekuni yang sekarang?

Sebagai mahasiswa jurnalistik, awalnya saya bercita-cita untuk menjadi penulis di majalah gaya hidup. Setelah magang di sebuah stasiun TV lokal, kesempatan menjadi penulis majalah rupanya belum terbuka. Maka saya harus bekerja dulu akhirnya di industri yang berbeda yaitu sebagai event manager di sebuah perusahaan sepatu dan sebagai guru musik.

Namun saya tumbuh besar bersama keluarga yang gemar mencoba restoran baru dan anak dari ayah yang punya bakat memasak – bahkan masakannya lebih enak dari ibu saya! Terinspirasi dari itu dan sembari menanti lowongan sebagai penulis, akhirnya saya memutuskan saja untuk mendirikan blog The Yummy Traveler di tahun 2010.

Menariknya sebagai seorang blogger, saya jadi mengetahui lebih banyak mengenai industri makanan dan mencoba berbagai masakan menarik. Ini menjadi alasan bagi saya untuk belajar masak lebih serius lagi. Seiring berjalannya waktu, saya menjadi tertarik juga dengan dunia food photography dan styling hingga akhirnya saya memilih untuk berkonsentrasi sebagai seorang stylist.

Bagaimana awalnya Natasha menjadi seorang food stylist?

Beberapa tahun yang lalu, profesi food stylist masih cukup langka di Jakarta dan saya sudah memulai iseng-iseng sebagai hobi. Satu waktu, seorang teman saya mengajak berkolaborasi untuk sebuah proyek food photography untuk sebuah perusahaan frozen yogurt kenamaan. Awalnya saya enggan karena belum percaya diri, namun teman saya tetap menyemangati. Akhirnya saya memutuskan bergabung dan pekerjaan profesional pertama saya masih terkenang sampai sekarang dan terus berlanjut.

Bagaimana dengan pekerjaan sehari-hari Natasha sekarang?

Selain mengerjakan proyek food styling untuk berbagai restoran, baru-baru ini saya menjadi team leader sebuah tim social media untuk klien-klien dari industri F&B. Satu waktu saya pernah juga dipercaya sebagai host untuk sebuah acara TV kuliner yang namanya sama dengan blog saya.

Biasanya di waktu senggang, saya berburu mencari prop baru untuk proyek fotografi makanan. Kini jumlahnya sudah berkoper-koper tanpa saya sadari! Terakhir saya tengah berkolaborasi dengan seorang partner untuk menulis buku kedua kami – Top Tables.

Bisa ceritakan sedikit mengenai bukunya?

Top Tables adalah buku mengenai direktori tempat makan di Jakarta. Namun berbeda dengan versi sebelumnya, kali ini kami mengajak beberapa orang dengan latar belakang yang berbeda untuk berbagi cerita mereka mengenai makanan dan tempat-tempat yang sering mereka kunjungi di Jakarta.

Bisa ceritakan kenapa Natasha begitu suka dengan soto ayam Lamongan?

Saya selalu suka makanan berkuah seperti soto hingga bakso. Bagi saya, soto adalah comfort food favorit saya.

Awalnya saya menyukai soto adalah sejak bertahun-tahun lampau ketika masih sulit menemukan soto ayam enak di Jakarta. Yang ada saat itu umumnya adalah soto Betawi. Sampai satu waktu akhirnya saya menemukan soto ayam kaki lima kesukaan saya yang biasa mangkal di depan RS Hermina Sunter yang dulu.

Apa keistimewaan soto ayam ini dengan yang lain?

Lebih karena preferensi pribadi saya. Pada dasarnya saya menyukai soto ayam yang lebih bening dengan kuah yang lebih ringan. Saya dan kakak sudah menjadi langganan selama bertahun-tahun sampai kenal dengan pemiliknya ini. Lucunya ia selalu berbicara dalam bahasa Jawa padahal tahu kami sebetulnya tidak mengerti.

Setiap kami berkunjung, pemiliknya tahu komposisi soto ayam kesukaan kami. Biasanya ia menyiapkan hanya daging paha, ada tambahan ati ayam, bubuk koya yang lebih banyak supaya lebih kental, dan tanpa kecap manis. Sayangnya sejak setahun yang lalu saya pindah tempat tinggal ke bagian lain Jakarta dan begitupun RS Hermina ke lokasi baru. Mudah-mudahan soto ayam kesukaan saya masih tetap berada di sana.

Bagaimana dengan resep soto ayam yang Natasha buat kali ini?

Kurang lebih profilnya mirip dengan soto ayam kesukaan saya di Sunter. Namun saya mencoba bereksperimen dengan tampilan yang lebih modern. Mempresentasikan makanan dengan cantik menjadi sangat penting karena makanan Indonesia layak lebih dikenal di level internasional apalagi makanan kita sebetulnya memiliki banyak kelebihan dibandingkan makanan Barat ataupun Jepang.
Mudah-mudahan pengetahuan saya di bidang styling bisa memberikan kontribusi lebih untuk kemajuan masakan Indonesia.


Original link: 
http://www.passionmedia.co.id/b/natasha-victoria-lucas-a-journey-of-self-discovery

Chef Emmanuel Julio: Ushering The Era of Progressive Indonesian Cuisine (Passion, 2017)

Seasoned in rigorous kitchens of five-star hotels from Indonesia to as far as UAE, the Executive Sous Chef Emmanuel Julio from The Dharmawangsa shared us a story about his passion with Indonesian cuisine and his modernist effort to promote it internationally.

Can you share a bit about your career as a chef so far?

Back when I was a boy, my parents used to run a restaurant here in Jakarta and also a catering service. Inspired, I decided to learn more about the world of hospitality during college.

My apprenticeship years in the kitchen started from Regent Hotel and later at Four Seasons in the early 2000s. Since I was only studying general hospitality at Trisakti, I had to start everything from a scratch to become a real chef. Chef Vindex Tengker became my mentor until he resigned from here a few years ago.

After my sixth year at the Regent and Four Seasons, I wanted to seek experience abroad. I was posted in Dubai, again with Four Seasons. After quite some time and together with an Italian chef I used to work with there, he tagged me a long for a pre-opening project at Armani Hotel. After spending five years in Dubai, I finally found my way back home and landed here at The Dharmawangsa.

You have done a considerable length to promote Indonesian cuisine with The Dharmawangsa. Care to share us about it?

It’s all about staying true to the establishment’s concept as a luxurious Indonesian hotel and promoting what we dub as Progressive Indonesian Cuisine. Since the initiative started several years ago, we have done a lot of research and becoming more creative in the way we present it.

It’s a perpetual work in progress but it’s going very well, I have to say. Over the years, we have seen younger generations became more and more enthusiastic with this approach. Not long ago, a Dutch chef specifically came here to study our approach with this modern twist and soon he will be opening a fine-dining Indonesian restaurant back in The Netherlands.

Can you tell us about your recent experience promoting Indonesian cuisine abroad?

Quite recently we were hired to help promoting Indonesian food in Shanghai together with our embassy there. The crowd was particularly enthusiastic and that’s actually beyond our expectations! Dishes such as soto Betawi, sop buntut, and fried rice were all best-sellers. Aside from rendang and gulai ayam, the visitors were also very fond of our gado-gado.

Care to explain what you are cooking today for us?

Today we have the oysters and granita, but we are using daun kemangi instead of fruits for the granita. I also put acar timun underneath it. Also we have prepared you the cured salmon using beetroot and served with tuturuga sauce. I also put tobiko and caviar on top of the salmon.

The next one we have our modern take of gudeg which I pair with foie gras! Quite surprisingly, the sweet and simple seared foie gras really works well with the the whole character of gudeg. Lastly we have the beef tenderloin cooked using sous-vide techniques and served with semur sauce.

What are the challenges so far with this kind of presentation?

Each generation thinks differently about our approach here. Like I said earlier, the younger people are more open with the ideas, but older generation retain their conservative views.

For example rendang, they say it should be served traditionally – “messy and hearty”, if you will. Whereas of course it’s different with progressive presentations. Of course, the classic approach is very important, but we aim to make Indonesian cuisine also visually appealing on international level.


Original link:
http://www.passionmedia.co.id/b/emmanuel-julio-ushering-the-era-of-progressive-indonesian-cuisine

Images by: Dwi N. Hadi