VE HANDOJO furthered his study on Italian food in Puro; the talk of the town restaurant for more than a year.
Growing up in a place where Pizza Hut is the biggest name in Italian food, I had to find my own way to discover the epicurean truth. A series of other Italian chains then came to Jakarta, bearing the word “pizza” in their brands, trying to cure junk food lovers from the Pan Americana. Ristorantes, bistros, trattorias, even Italian fine dining blossomed all around the city, telling the local market that pizza is more than just bread stuffed with poor quality meat, paprika, mushrooms, and so forth. I’ve lept from one stone to another in a Marco Polian journey, and the not-so-silky road then leads me to Puro.
The sunny day lent its rays to light the white washed Puro during my lunch hour. Yuppies from Jakarta’s provincial Jalan Gatot Soebroto flocked to enjoy their extended break. These white collars surely match their attitudes with the interior’s shades, nicely clashing with the view from the oversized windows and lush gardens in the background. The mind-clearing view is an appetizing visual treat indeed.
The lounge is chic and fashionable, without being snobbish. Its feminine touch is kept to the level where only male chauvinists wouldn’t feel comfortable. True gentlemen would see themselves hanging out with fun and classy ladies – far from the ones we usually find in cheap and sleazier bars around town. Spell out your most brilliant pick-up lines in the white expansive bar.
The dining area is also made intimate with the sound from the open kitchen. Inside, Chef Marco Medaglia is performing out of his skin to reintroduce the pure Italian taste to his audience. “Puro is pure. Puro is true Italian taste,” he recites his slogan.
Nevertheless, being a puritan does not mean being just what it is without any sense of fashion. The overall look of Puro’s interior matches the presentation of each delicate dish. From the antipasti, zuppe, risotti, pasta, secondi piatti, to the dolci. My insalata di gamberi di fiume alla Catalona quickly spreads natural freshness inside my mouth and down the throat, thus arousing the omnivore within. The fresh baby lingoustine is dressed with lemon mustard, and presented in a Valentino manner.
Following is homemade duck ravioli with tomato and fresh sage. Soft and luscious ravioli is filled with shredded duck, and the tomato is nicely grilled. It’s a quick to finish interlude, not merely because of the portion, but mainly the taste.
Capelli d’Angelo al Nero di Seppia con Aragosta is homemade black angel hair pasta served with live lobster in light tomato sauce and tomato bisque. I once was traumatized by seafood pasta served in one of the local Italian chains, and only God knows how to cure the trauma. Now, it’s only God and Puro who know how. The rich and creamy black angel hair pasta somehow eliminates the too-fishy flavour of the scrumptious lobster.
However, my belief in Puro is made strongest with its pizza. It’s really thin, it’s really crispy, and – most important – it’s really creamy! The cheese covered the mushrooms, and together made a sensational delight in every chew and bite. The homemade dough and cheese surely can handle whatever topping. As a fabulously stylish place, Puro thankfully serves pizza, and this is definitely the way to win the hearts of their regular customers – count me in!
In the evening, white linen will cover the tables, and the setting is adjusted to the romantic mood. The smart design of Puro results in two different ambiances; day and night. It is truly an accomplishment regarding the original function of the site as a parking lot. (Now you know why sometimes you feel light vibrations during the courses.)
The lounge and bar of Puro occasionally throws cool parties. A DJ booth is placed at a friendly level with the crowds. No wonder Puro is always extra crowded whenever cute DJs are spinning. Some will expect them to be the dessert. Those who are not that lucky may find solace in sfogliata di fragole – that’s a thousand leaves tart with double refreshing and cleansing treat from lime cream and strawberries.
Harmoniously combining contemporary and chic design with authentic culinary principles, Puro has escaped the trap of being either unnecessarily posh or an unfriendly hardcore Italian. Is it a further step towards my discovery of true Marco Polonian cuisine, or just a sideways track? It’s definitely debatable. One thing for sure, I will make a comeback trip again and again for the pizza and the party.
PURO Ristorante e Bar
City Plaza at WISMA MULIA
Jl Jend Gatot Subroto Kav 42, Jakarta