Tag Archives: JAX

EAT: Holy Smokes (JAX, Aug 2015)

Introducing Holy Smokes, the very place where you can enjoy the slowly smoked BBQ beef at its best!

Holy Smokes (Official) (2)

The American style of cooking food often employs the techniques on how to make the best out of the ingredients. And when we are talking specifically about meat, we usually associate Americans as the proponents of grilling and smoking. In many cases, even with limitations of spices and herbs, they are still really good at making a nice steak.

From the man behind the success of The Holy Crab, Chef Albert Wijaya recently introduced Holy Smokes for meat aficionados of Jakarta. This bold move further colors the city’s food scene with more varieties, which have already excited those who are now going after for something new.

Combined with fresh, locally sourced ingredients; Holy Smokes should have that edge needed to satisfy even the hardcore meat lovers.

With a more casual approach in terms of service and ambiance, Holy Smokes somehow resembles itself like a fast food chain. Make no mistake however; there’re a lot of painstaking preparations to insure that the meat will give out a rich flavor, generous yet fragrant rub over it, tender, moist and smoky. Combined with fresh, locally sourced ingredients; Holy Smokes should have that edge needed to satisfy even the hardcore meat lovers.

The signatures here are a tough choice that you must choose between smoky beef brisket, Southern-style beef ribs and Texas short ribs.

The brisket is served in slices. Here at Holy Smokes, this delicate part of the steer receives justice from 14 hours long of smoking so that it will give out the melts-in-your-mouth experience. Meanwhile, if you are after the essence of American meat smoking culture, you should then try either the Southern-style or the Texas short ribs. The latter came from the thick, richly-marbled short ribs and smoked for six hours in low temperature. As the most premium choice here, expect this one to be the most inviting and the tenderest among all.

The basic behind smoking, anywhere in the world, is still the same – fruit woods, good smoker machine, low temperature, and long smoking time. “Perfection takes time and there is no short cut to the preparation of the meat. Holy Smokes proudly upholds its honest and flavorful cooking techniques by never adulterating the meat through boiling process to tenderize it but at the same time risking the flavors”, says the chef.

Finger-licking good smoked steaks are waiting to be feasted and satisfy your meat desire.
Holy smokes gives you variety of ways on how would you enjoy your meat.

With a throng of great sidekicks including the classic onion straws to accompany the meat, be sure to generously employ Holy Smokes’ finely crafted homemade BBQ sauce that goes well a lot with the meat here.

Now, we will let you enjoy a piece of American cuisine at its best peacefully and be sure to fingerlick everything when the feast is done – just like Frank Underwood with his favorite ribs in DC.


Halal-friendly (but serving alcoholic beverages)
Unsuitable for vegetarians

Jalan Wolter Monginsidi no. 27, Jakarta – Indonesia


Opening hours: Daily, 11.30am – 10pm

Spend: IDR 150,000 – IDR 250,000 / person


Photography: Holy Smokes

Original link: http://jax.co.id/holy-smokes/


PLAY: Foodie in Gorontalo (JAX, July 2015)

An account of a foodie who searches for savory goodness in Indonesia’s youngest province.

To the north, Gorontalo has the beautiful small islands off coast to the Celebes Sea. Back to the inland, the province has a series of green hills and the lowlands where the seat of government resides in Gorontalo City. From the hustle bustle of the capital of the province to the pristine beaches in the northern regency, there’s always space for anyone seeking for a fun adventure. However for a traveler like me, it involves a lot of food in-between.

Sampling around the archetype Gorontalese recipes is without doubt an experience of its own.

As a tribute to this country’s enormous beauty and hospitality, I dedicated some time to create a mini guide of where to eat in Gorontalo City. From breakfast dishes, the seafood and the traditional cuisines, here is the lineup for you to try while in the capital.

Processed with VSCOcam
Processed with VSCOcam

The iconic yellow rice

With its striking yellow color coming from the turmeric, that type of rice can be richly combined with a plethora of assortments. Indeed, this particular dish remains the best choice for a very Indonesian breakfast on a par with nasi uduk or nasi ulam.

There are two breakfast joints well-known for the nasi kuning, each coming up with a combination that is rarely seen in Java.

Spoil your mouth with the well-known Yellow Rice with its savoury taste.
Steaming hot Tendon Soup will seduce you to eat more of it’s tastiness.

Since 1958, Nasi Kuning Hola pairs its yellow rice with shredded omelets and the savory fish floss. That might sound familiar but Nasi Kuning Hola has breakfast set that includes nasi kuning with a bowl of chicken soup, vermicelli, and a hardboiled egg. That’s already a champion breakfast for you!

Meanwhile at Warung Makan Menanti, the breakfast combination is somewhat more “extreme” but in a very good way. The nasi kuning may only come with a bit of vermicelli on top but it is paired with beef or lamb satay and a huge bowl of beef tendon soup for the whole family! If you are a fan of full of beef tendon mie kocok, then this is right place to have your power breakfast.

Seafood at its best!

Seafood dominates the largest part of Gorontalese diet and that’s why the people here do it best either with traditional grilling or when utilized with traditional recipes.

If you are looking for the former, then stop by after the long flight to have a very fulfilling lunch at Rumah Makan Melki Brazil. Grilling is the restaurant’s specialty and you can sample the freshest snapper, trevally, or garoupa here. The grilled fish is usually combined with Gorontalese stir-fried water spinach and the famous sambal dabu-dabu. Enjoy the super fresh seafood with a view off to the estuary and as far as the open sea, and a calming sea breeze to accompany your lunch; this is no ordinary seafood shack experience that you often encounter in other places.

It’s like a never ending seafood festival, only in Gorontalo.
If you like seafoods and you probably should if you haven’t, you gotta taste the fascinating Tuna Jaw. It’s nothing ordinary.
If you like seafoods and you probably should if you haven’t, you gotta taste the fascinating Tuna Jaw. It’s nothing ordinary.

Feels like having everything tuna for dinner? Then you should come by to Rumah Makan Raja Tuna. True to its name, this “King of Tuna” restaurant serves every part of tuna for its customers. The must-have would be the exotic tuna jaw and sashimi. Yes, you heard that right – tuna jaw and sashimi.
Among the must-not miss from this restaurant are the fried tuna belly, tuna eggs and tuna satays. Be sure to enjoy it with the super fiery sambal. It is, subjectively, the most memorable dinner I ever had in Gorontalo.

Hunting for true local fare

Sampling around the archetype Gorontalese recipes is without doubt an experience of its own. There are a lot of recipes with foreign names and here are among those that represent Gorontalo best.

Firstly, the ilabulo shack on Jalan Pangeran Diponegoro. It’s easy to this place on the side of the street since you can view the smoke from a hundred meters away. The indirectly grilled banana leaves wrapped sago filled with eggs, chicken and spices were once the luxurious treat for Gorontalese royals in the past. It might remind you of lontong at some point, but notice how the sago texture actually works better when combined with this rich filling. It’s a treat for royalty, indeed.

Ilabulo, don’t be fooled by the name because it tastes like the best morning sandwich, only better.
Bilenthango, this food’s name seemed confusing but no it’s just a fish with dressings that tastes really good.

Aside from ilabulo, there’s also Warung Kita’s bilenthango or the grilled tilapia topped with tomatoes, chilies and paired with poki-poki or the eggplants with santan. Last but not least, the binthe biluhuta from RM Syakinah puts the icing on the top of your adventure cake in Gorontalo.

Binthe biluhuta or the santan soup filled with milu pulo or the waxy corn and vegetables is a one big, proud Gorontalese dish and best when in an accompaniment of fried fish over sambal dabu-dabu. There’s no need to add rice. It’s already as good as it looks!


Restaurant addresses:

  1. Nasi Kuning Hola
    Jalan Sutoyo no. 31, Gorontalo City
    +62 435 821 206
  2. Nasi Kuning Warung Makan Menanti
    Jalan Pangeran Diponegoro, Gorontalo City
  3. RM Melki Brazil
    Jalan Yos Sudarso (nearby the harbor), Gorontalo City
    +62 852 5623 3696
  4. RM Raja Tuna
    Pantai Indah Tangga 2000, Gorontalo City
    +62 813 4065 7191
  5. Ilabulo Panigoro
    Jalan Pangeran Diponegoro, Gorontalo City
    +62 852 5644 3879
  6. RM Warung Kita
    Jalan Raya Eyato no. 136, Gorontalo City
    +62 435 826 821
  7. RM Syakinah
    Jalan Abdul Gandhi Payuhi no. 224, Desa Tuladenggi (outskirts of Gorontalo City)
    +62 812 4494 6262


Original link: http://jax.co.id/foodie-in-gorontalo/

EAT: GIA Restaurant & Bar (JAX, July 2015)

Serving contemporary Italian fare, GIA marks the next move to compete among Jakarta’s high-end dining scene.

A new venture of Ismaya Group, GIA becomes a wonderful addition to the already established peers. The man behind the kitchen, the young Chef Tommaso Gonfiantini is entrusted to present the Jakartans with a whip of his creativity about contemporary Italian cuisine. Chef Tommaso himself is no stranger to Jakarta’s dining scene as he was previously working in several restaurants in Jakarta. In-between these respectable ventures, the chef also experienced his spell abroad with restaurants in Rome, Sciacca, Neuchatel and New York, respectively.

The menu at GIA focuses on fresh, seasonable ingredients—with most ingredients imported directly from Italy.

Additionally, his portfolio also includes working with such renowned chefs as the Michelin-starred Fulvio Pierangelini and Filippo La Mantia. It is arguably that this what made Chef Tommaso becomes a formidable figure to lead probably one of Ismaya’s most ambitious projects to date. As for the menu, some patrons may see the creations of Chef Tommaso as a blend of traditional Italian fare with a touch of modern twist. Yet, many will agree that most of the items on the menu are just as palatable as the delicacies of contemporary Italian cuisine.

Spoil your belly with the tempting stocky Bistecca.
From the vast sea to your plate, Totano serves you the freshness of the ocean to your belly.
Squid tentacles, let the spongy and chewy texture of Polipo rules your tongue.
GIA isn’t just about the taste. but also the looks. Agnolotti is easy on the eyes and ready to surprise.

Regardless of patrons’ different views, the menu at GIA focuses on fresh, seasonable ingredients—with most ingredients imported directly from Italy. To start with, the chef recommends the refreshing orzo. It basically comprises of juicy pearl barley and aubergine. Next, indulge yourself with some of GIA’s signatures such as the spicy linguine aglio olio with bottarga as well as the Bistecca, the perfectly char-grilled 250gr sirloin with veal jus, gorgonzola polenta and tatsoi. Alternatively, GIA also presents the enchanting baked barramundi with octopus, mussels, olives, and tomatoes, served inside a cartoccio. For the dessert, Chef Tommaso shares his grandmother’s traditional recipe of tiramisu and also GIA’s twist of cannoli siciliani by using ricotta cream, popcorns, and hazelnut gelato.

Located right in the best spot reserved for restaurant at Sampoerna Strategic Square, GIA successfully intertwines Gio Ponti’s last century architectural style with seductive bright white, black Italian marble and dark wooden ceiling. Australia’s leading interior designer, Hecker & Guthrie, was the responsible party for all the beauty you witness from the inside of GIA.

The lounge itself boasts a stylish and elegant meeting venue, which caters a perfect atmosphere to accompany your drinks. To add the comfort, the whole interior gives away the relaxing ambiance for guests to end their long and tiring day here.


Not halal-certified
Some dishes are suitable for vegetarians

Sampoerna Strategic Square
Jalan Jend. Sudirman Kav. 45-46, Jakarta – Indonesia
T: +62.21.57953300



Photo credits: GIA

Original link: http://jax.co.id/gia-restaurant-bar/

FRAMED: Fernando Sindu & Ivan Wibowo (JAX, July 2015)

Meet Fernando Sindu and Ivan Wibowo, the two successful young chefs who are now running the show behind three restaurants and a private dining venture. Curious about the story of their success, we decided to meet them at Benedict – the premier all-day breakfast restaurant in Grand Indonesia.

Brought together by their passion in the world of Gastronomy and formed a bond beyond partnership to reach the same goals together.

Two and a half years in private dining scenes and pop up brunches with their own brand – Good For Eats (G48), chefs Fernando Sindu (Nando) & Ivan Wibowo has demonstrated the urban crowds from Singapore to Indonesia that modern cuisine can be presented in a lively and inventive way.

There is a beautiful harmony from what these two chefs usually show as their cooking forte: a creative mix between Japanese, Mediterranean, and a touch of Spanish/Mexican in their dishes. Their background as graduates of the Culinary Institute of America in New York and their time apprenticing in stellar fine dining establishments such as Noma, Jean Georges and La Boqueria has certainly elevated the way they see culinary scene nowadays.

Their background as graduates of the Culinary Institute of America in New York and their time apprenticing in stellar fine dining establishments, has certainly elevated the way they see culinary scene nowadays.

From the success of their first restaurant with fast food gourmet genre at Umabo, and then Canting in Yogyakarta, as well as the much-loved Benedict now; we are intrigued at what are the experiences they can teach to us readers, foodies, and aspiring chefs alike.

Can you share us what made you decide to embark on the culinary field?
Ivan: Basically I love to eat like we all do, but I was highly influenced by my grandmother and my mom when it comes to cooking. When I was studying abroad, I corresponded with my mother to refresh my memories of classic Indonesian dishes. The cooking thing continues since then.
Nando: From early age, I already love talking about food. My parents recalled that I knew the direction to our favorite restaurants even when I was still little. Other than that, when my parents were away, I was taught about food and cooking by our house maid. She’s now already retired but thanks to her, I developed my love with cooking.

Can you tell us a bit about Benedict’s concept?
Nando: We started the gourmet breakfast concept because that time nobody was doing it specifically and we thought… why not? Our time with G48 showed us that there’s a promising segment that we can approach with this concept and that’s what we want to introduce with Benedict.

A fascinating and finger-licking Korean Bowl.
The A-list dessert, B&B – Maple Bacon Custard Ice Cream, Beignet and Brown Sugar Crumble.

Can you tell us your long term goals with your career?
Nando: Again we have to be different and there’s a need to constantly creating something new. I am a stern believer of the philosophy of “carpe diem” and we’re making most of our time with our businesses now. With G48, we can do whatever we have in our minds but for the restaurants, we have to be creative under a very strict theme.

What are the qualities that define a good chef?
Ivan: You have to be proud of what you do and always put your personality in the food. Other than that it’s consistency. The quality that you attain now with what you cook should remain consistently high – be it for tomorrow, a month, or even a year from now.
Nando: Exactly. Consistency is something that you have to obtain. But in order to achieve that, discipline is one thing that we were taught back then in the cooking school. We’d be getting major minus points even if we were only skipping a class. Aside from this, leadership is also very important. We have to know our place in the restaurant, but outside, I consider everyone friends.

Who are the chefs that inspire you?
Nando: The best experience that I ever had come from when I was apprenticing under Chef Jason Hua at The Dutch, NY. We were working side by side for a year and then we became friends until today. He’s a kind of chef who doesn’t like to be in a limelight.
Ivan: My grandmother. She knows everything about food. But with professional chef, that would be Chef Matthew Orlando. He was the sous chef of Noma that time and a very disciplined guy. He gave out new challenges for me every day.

What do you think about the competition?
Nando: Competition can be quite scary nowadays but we are motivated by it. This happens because the market is very open now. Everybody can cook and it’s easy to learn from Youtube, it’s easy to sell your products through online business, and everybody can open a restaurant basically anywhere. We have been in the business with G48 for some time now and yet, we have other chefs doing it as well here. They came from prominent backgrounds and got nothing to lose. With Benedict now, there’s an additional demand that requires us to be always ahead in the competition.

Your favorite food?
Ivan: Kwetiaw! (laughing)
Nando: Ivan and his kwetiaw. Anytime and anywhere! Anyway, I love mynasi goreng and bakmi.

Lastly, after living abroad for quite some time, what do you think about Jakarta now?
Nando: The most hated thing in Jakarta is none other than traffic. It is unbearable and we lose a lot of time because of it.Despite of that, I love the city, the people and the food! It even surpasses New York. The best part of Jakarta is also its strategic location. We don’t have to go to Bali because we have Pulau Seribu for the beach. Hop inside your car and you can spend some time up on the mountain with Puncak or Bandung.


Photo credits: JAX

Original link: http://jax.co.id/fernando-sindu-ivan-wibowo/

EAT: Hajime Ramen (JAX, July 2015)

Hajime Ramen, one of Tokyo’s finest and the first in Indonesia, is welcoming foodies seeking the delicacies of noodle and steak in one plate.

Hajime Ramen 1

Set aside the hype on coffee shops or the love of dessert for a while now, you will see that Jakartans have long been in love with ramen.Who doesn’t love that springy noodles combined with thick broth and beautiful toppings? It’s the richness and the variety that brought people together to end their day with a bowl of good old ramen.

Ramen shops, locally established or those that came from Japan, all presented themselves with their own distinctiveness. Some portray their lovingly made miso or toripaitan broth, some promote themselves as the price-friendly ramen shops, while the rest introduce different variety with the soups and levels of spiciness.

By using Australian sirloin steak, grilled chicken, and Mongolian salt as the main star ingredients; Hajime Ramen prepares two types of pure broth that we can choose from beef or chicken.

In exchange for the traditional approach in ramen that consists of yellow curly noodles, some chashu and a beautiful soft boiled egg as a topping; there is now a newly opened ramen shop in Jakarta that offers a different perspective on how we could enjoy ramen at a new level.

Introduced as Hajime Ramen in Indonesia, Chef Uchida Gen started his endeavor with Ramen Gen back in 2009 Tokyo. Having achieved recognitions as Tokyo Ramen of The Year in 2010 and 2011; Chef Gen’s ramen shop additionally received the all important acknowledgments as well from Tokyo Walker magazine, Best Tokyo Ramen Shops in 2014 by Time Out Tokyo, and many others.

Chef Uramoto Shigetoshi leads as the Head Chef through the Ramen-serving battle of Hajime Ramen.
Also here assisting the Head Chef, Sous Chef Sato Toshihiko.

What Chef Gen introduces us here in Hajime Ramen Indonesia, led by Uramoto Shigetoshi as the Head Chef and Sato Toshihiko as the Sous Chef is his clever take of steak ramen. By using Australian sirloin steak,grilled chicken, and Mongolian salt as the main star ingredients; Hajime Ramen prepares two types of pure broth that we can choose from beef or chicken. The ingredients are all lined up nicely and then added with Chef Gen’s signature touch – the bamboo shoot as the topping.

In addition to the steak ramen, the restaurant reveals another interesting angle with its hot plate ramen – prepared with the accompaniment of the steak or grilled chicken. Not forgetting the traditional Japanese cuisine, Hajime Ramen allocates shoyu ramen in its menu as well as some rice options in the form of donburi.

The signature menu of Hajime ramen, the Beef Ramen Hajime.
Also serving the Hot Plate Beef Hajime.

With this interesting approach to make ramen more interesting, Jakarta is now bestowed with colorful options. For noodle lovers throughout the country, it is now a must-not miss opportunity to explore this part of Jakarta for this new breed of ramen.


No pork, no lard
Unsuitable for vegetarians

Ruko Elang Laut Blok C19-20, Jalan Pantai Indah Selatan 1, Jakarta – Indonesia
T: +62.21.2251.0098



Photo credits: Hajime Ramen