By Erza S.T.
My career in culinary writing started when I was assisting Laksmi Pamuntjak on her “The Jakarta Good Food Guide” project back in 2000. At that time the main objective of most restaurants was to only feed the people. There were only a few who actually put much attention into building the whole concept of décor, food and ambience. However, move forward a decade and you will actually find that Jakarta has transformed itself into a culinary heaven where the restaurant proprietors these days really put a lot of effort into creating a total concept. One of the results from this generation is a restaurant called The Apartment.
Sited in the famous Kuningan area, where most of the foreign embassies and corporate offices are found, The Apartment is one of a few in the area that has not only survived, but still has its loyal clientele. Impressed by its survival, plus receiving some great recommendations from some foodie friends, I decided to give this restaurant a visit.
The restaurant concept is much the same as its name. It looks like an apartment complete with kitchen, bathroom, living room, bedroom, study, terraced areas and most naturally, a dining room. The only difference is that this apartment does it with great taste. The Apartment’s décor is designed in a contemporary, vintage 50’s style and looks like it could belong in a Vogue Living magazine. It is as if you are a paying guest at Betty Crocker’s apartment.
The bathroom section in turquoise blue tiles with a nice white tub, shower, towels, sink and shelves containing shampoo bottles and toothbrushes, seems to be the most popular spot of the house as it also serves as the non-smoking area too. But the bedroom, where a big giant bed lies is more inviting for me to spend the evening. I started to check their menu, which is designed like a newspaper and I found out that it focuses on modern European dishes with some American twists.
Classic dishes such as pan-fried foie gras that is served with caramelized pears in port wine jus and green mussels in creamy wine and tomato juice were simply superb and fantastic as starters. It is quite obvious that Chef Andry Winata – the talented man behind the kitchen, who worked for over 10 years in Sydney, has great taste that matches deliciously with the total concept. You might find some of his creations a little wacky but they taste great. Dishes like the black burger, which is really juicy, tender and original, while others like the beef ratatouille tower not only won our taste buds but also was nominated as one of the “50 dishes to die for” by Time Out Jakarta.
There are so many good things on the menu that lived up to our expectations, including the sweets section on page four of our “The Apartment Daily” that are just simply not to be missed. Once your tongue has met Chef Andry’s peach filo or tart tatin, it is guaranteed to have a spectacular happy ending á la Harry Met Sally.
By the end of my first visit to The Apartment, I had already become one of their regular residents enjoying very much the food as well as their fantastic cocktails. Before I summarized my experience at this restaurant into writing, I returned there twice and still remained impressed with what they could offer me. On my last visit, I was knocked over with their version of molecular cocktails; their blue balls martini was not only a delight to drink, but also came with an electrifying look.
If there was a piano in the corner you’d probably find Betty Crocker singing out some recipes, puffing a cigar and sipping a blue balls martini, naturally.
Menara Gracia Ground Floor
Jl. H.R. Rasuna Said Kav. C-17