Here is another new restaurant inside a mall. Like mushrooms in rainy season, it seems that we get a new one opening every day. But this one is different. The charm of this place lured Erza in and he decided to go against the grain and review this recently-opened restaurant out of curiosity. They call it ninety-nine.
By Erza S.T.
To find great restaurants inside a mall is very common these days, however to find a great restaurant inside a supermarket is something different. The newest branch of Ranch Market which recently opened in Grand Indonesia – East Mall, has successfully implemented this concept and thus made the first restaurant ever connected to the international grocery chain outlet in the world. The name ninety-nine is taken from the Ranch Market logo that has the number 99 on it.
This new food outlet immediately found fame with Jakartan people, especially among the ladies who lunch and love to gossip over afternoon tea. The set is dominated by black and white creating an illusion of an al fresco garden inside a mall. Pergola armchairs, a water cascade with real plants and old tiles give the impression that we are in a forgotten Belle époque garden in Europe.
However, this impression changes once you step into the restaurant itself. Sensually dim lighting on naked brick pillars with rustic wooden furniture, made in a New York 1920’s vintage style, is set to welcome you for a long and lingering tête-à-tête lunch or dinner. The restaurant also offers a wine cellar and a relaxing seating area named the Ernest Hemmingway Lounge.
The alluring décor, ambience and charm of ninety-nine caught my attention. With my purple moleskin notebook, I went in and passed the pergola going directly to their sexy looking bar called The Long Bar – ready to start unravelling my culinary adventure. The menu shows courage and a wide variety with around 80 dishes offered from appetizers to desserts, simple breakfasts, grill, Asian delights and even Indonesian home cooking. Lost in the jungle of foods inside their menu, I decided to calm myself with a glass of their fabulous lychee mojito and a combination of mushroom and beef ham in white cheese as an appetizer before deciding on main course.
The luncheon crowd slowly changed into groups of ladies doing afternoon tea and it seemed to me that this new place is becoming quite popular. Getting cozier and sipping my second glass of mojito, I was finally ready to explore US-born Chef Corey Pavuk’s main course selection. To put them to the test, I went first for their 1824 dry-aged rump steak that was served with tomato, cucumber and corn cuts in cubes dressed with Mediterranean dressing. This 160 gram rump steak came to me in perfect condition: medium and pinkish inside. It was very tasty and matched nicely combined with a baked potato fully loaded with chili, cheddar and jalapeno sauce on the side.
Satisfied with the first course, I decided to move on to something more local and checked out chef’s take on our local sop tangkar betawi. This famous local dish has a distinctive flavour coming from the mixture of many spices such as ginger, chili, pepper, garlic, onion, galangal, coriander, hazelnut and turmeric that is braised in beef broth. His version pretty much follows this recipe and added to it a bit with tamarind to give more it more flavour. However, instead of using normal cubes of beef, he uses short ribs which added fun to the whole experience of enjoying this Indonesian delight.
As it was my decision to come at such an early stage to review this restaurant, I decided to just focus on the food tastes and ambience. Ninety-nine like any other establishment also endures the “new restaurant syndrome”. It is best, in my opinion, to give ninety-nine more time before we can return and do a full review, including service and food consistency. Nevertheless, from this visit, ninety-nine successfully caught my attention and makes me curious to come back for more and try other dishes on the menu. And there’s a lot of them, they have 88!
Grand Indonesia Shoping Town
East Mall, LG Floor