Jakarta continues to lap up industrial style decors and unchallenging bistro dining like never before. Erza S.T. is not adverse to it though, he actually loves it. this one is the new Tin Pan Alley.
Text by Erza S.T.
Photos by Ramadhan
Back in the early 20th century in New York New York’s Manhattan, a famous place existed on West 28th Street between Fifth and Sixth Avenue called Tin Pan Alley. During the start of the Great Depression in the 1930’s, when the phonograph and radio supplanted sheet music, Tin Pan Alley grew as the centre of operations for renowned music publishers and songwriters who dominated popular music at the time. Famous names such as Irving Berlin, George and Ira Gershwin, Al Sherman, Cole Porter and many others are characters that made Tin Pan Alley’s reputation famous worldwide. Tin Pan Alley became so famous that even the good people of Britain created their own “British Tin Pan Alley”. Now, fast-forward that story to our present day and voila, almost a century later, here’s Jakarta’s own Tin Pan Alley.
Inspired by the original, Jakarta’s version is actually a restaurant that has an American bistro concept and we love how the ambience of vintage America is strongly featured in this eatery. Brick walls, big mirrors, classic Thonet chairs, wooden floors and vintage bric-a-brac such as gramophones, old luggage and wooden hand-cranked wall telephones really brings you back to the golden time of the 1920’s.
The magic also continues in the food. As an American bistro, Tin Pan Alley in Jakarta has an impressive menu and is far from being pretentious. Holding tight to their concept of American-style cooking, Tin Pan Alley serves simple yet hearty food like cobb salad, grandma’s fried chicken right through to a variety of pies. Yes, the menu sounds rather ordinary, but luckily the experience was far from that.
From our several visits there, we found some winning dishes. The first one to start with is 28th St. Potato Skins that are deep-fried and baked, filled with roasted bell peppers and sautéed chopped spinach, and topped with melted mozzarella cheese. This great appetizer does not only raise your appetite, but it is also vegetarian friendly. We were also caught by surprise with Tin Pan Alley’s amazing Hearty Chili in a Bowl that beats any existing chili in this city. The Cajun style chili con carne is absolutely delicious to the last spoon.
Moving on to the main course section, we were taken aback with the tantalizing Aloha Burger that comes with french fries and coleslaw like a true American burger. Not like any ordinary burger, this comes with a twist where they put a secret homemade pineapple sauce on the patty together with other ingredients. The surprise comes after the first bite with its juicy and pungent taste. It is quite addictive.
It is only natural to assume that this kind of menu and concept comes from an American native, but it does not. Instead, this is all coming from the mind of Nathalia Bernhard and Irene Chandra who were inspired by downtown New York, where lots of little streets and charming intimate restaurants are located. Together, they have worked with Chef Rano Abryanto to create this luscious menu. The result is far from disappointing.
For a new restaurant they understand that beautiful décor and concept alone are not enough to make them a winner. Their so-called American bistro concept might not come as sophisticated as French food or modern cuisine that is the current trend. However, they understand how to make these simple dishes outstanding and combine it with excellent service. Though inconsistencies still tend to happen every now and then, the overall experience is always pleasant and worth the money.
We shall certainly come back for dinner or breakfast; or even to just lounging around the sexy bar area while listening to the melodies of Cole Porter or Gershwin…it is that kind of place.
Tin Pan Alley
Thamrin Nine Podium / UOB Lobby Floor #F
Jl. M.H. Thamrin No. 10
Tel: +62 21 3000 7881