Brasa’s, in the new Pacific Place shopping mall in the centre of Jakarta, is inconspicuously placed on the top floor between the Blitz Megaplex cinemas and Kidzania. At certain times the entrance area of the restaurant resembles a schoolyard with a throng of youngsters milling about outside waiting for movies, or kids and parents leaving the play facility Kidzania, but inside the restaurant, let me assure you, it is another world. A stylish, modern restaurant lies behind the glass façade and heavy rustic timber door, but the most interesting factor by far is that Gonzalo and Lino from La Sal, an excellent Spanish restaurant in Bali, are also esconced inside.
Most restaurateurs from Bali start new restaurants in Jakarta using their original moniker. La Sal’s proprietors decided to test the waters before plunging in head first. Brasa’s is an Argentine steak house based on the Argentine parilla or asador (grill or barbeque). It’s an tantalising concept for the meat-savvy Jakartan crowd and the array of prime cut, imported meats on the Brasa’s menu mixed with an outstanding list of Argentinean dishes makes this place original as well as alluring. Argentine cuisine is a mix of Spanish, gaucho – South American cowboy – and French and Italian cuisines. Having this base, it’s not a totally foreign concept to local diners. There are many similarities to what’s available in other European restaurants but the predominant fare is meat with a capital M. It has to be said. Argentineans love their carné.
Chef Nicolas Arriola, direct from Buenas Aires, knocked up what could be called a meat tasting selection consisting of three different meats cooked on the grill. The Rib Eye, NY Strip Steak and Pork ‘Matambre’ (sliced pork belly). It was delivered in a tasting menu size but these choice selections of meat were packing a delicious punch. As Gonzalo explained, “We want to serve the best quality meats. Meat has always been the staple diet of Agentines and the gauchos deveolped particular techniques in cooking it.” The dish was served with different sauces and condiments and a side dish of vegetables. The meats were succulent and juicy like you wouldn’t believe.
Brasa’s is in the right place but still off the beaten track. Just like those gauchos, get on your horse and find it, it’s worth the ride.
Pacific Place Mall. 6th Floor.
Jl. Sudirman Kav 52-53. Jakarta. Tel: +62 21 5140 2785