By Erza S.T.
There is now something even more sexy to talk about in the Ritz-Carlton Kuningan. The name is Lobo and it is the newest restaurant on the block. A merger between the lobby lounge and Portovenere and Steakhouse restaurants, Lobo is aiming to be the next establishment in the city where people go to see and to be seen. You can tell that the management was actually trying to do something fun, stylish and up-to-date and guess what? They succeeded.
Situated where the lobby used to be, Lobo has positioned itself as a premium, trendy restaurant offering a mix of Italian favorites, top-notch grilled meats and seafood. This stylish restaurant-cum-lounge also comes complete with an über sexy, al fresco area designed specially for the smokers. The elegant and sophisticated design of the hotel remains strong in this space. Best experienced in the evening, the colors of gold, deep maroon and black are married to soft lighting to create that sexy nuance.
The layout of the space is still pretty much the same as before but with the expansion to the left. The former lobby area still exists but now is the lounge area of Lobo welcoming you with new contemporary furniture to the bar at the far end. When you look left, you will immediately find the new expanded area that has become the main dining area of Lobo. Along the full pained windows on the side of the dining area, you will find connecting doors to their new panoramic terrace. Right next to the entrance you can also find their private dining room that also serves as a wine cellar with walls made from glass.
What Lobo has going for it is not just its classic good looks, but also its food. Since its pre-soft launching a couple months ago, the food has already begun flirting with our taste buds. Supervised by Chef Mariano Luizza, the menu invites a fusion twist of Mediterranean and Asian cuisines, highlighted in both selections of signature Italian and Steakhouse creations. On the lighter side, Chef Mariano also creates a sophisticated selection of easy bite dishes such as fusion tapas, pizza, mezze, up to modern Western and Asian comfort food.
Though pizza is quite common in many Italian restaurants, Chef Mariano’s variations are interesting. They come jumbo sized, made perfect to be shared among friends while enjoying Lobo’s gorgeous cocktails such as bubbletini (75K) on their fabulous terrace. Surrounded with high pillars that are reminiscent of The Fullerton in Singapore, Lobo’s terrace has a great view to the neighbouring Marriott hotel and street below, and a luxurious atmosphere. It could be the bubbletini that gave me such a feeling, or maybe the Buddha Bar music collection that they were playing, but nevertheless this terrace is a great place to spend your sunset hours in Jakarta (if it ever exists).
A sense of playful and witty charm is reflected in the Lobo menu, and instead of using normal and predictable titles they have invented their own terminology. Jargon like “what’s up”, “why not”, “what a mess” and “italian job” are used to describe light appetizers, heavier salads, main courses and the Italian section. During my last visit, the prawn avocado (95K) from the “why not” section made the word “delicious” slip from my mouth. The gnocchi/cream/cepes/lobster (90K/150K depending on the portion) from the “italian job” is excellent proof that Chef Mariano is a great Italian chef. Like most of their dishes, the homemade gnocchi came in the right proportion and was balanced with the delightful aroma of cepes mushroom. For cream lovers, this is a must try item.
One of the most interesting parts of the menu that excited me the most was actually the “making out” section. Now people, this is not like what you are thinking. Making out here refers to a section where the prawn is “making out” with tenderloin, rib eye, chicken or salmon – depending on how you like the combo to be. I chose to have it paired with a tenderloin (365K) to my liking. Marinated with only salt and slight pepper, both the tenderloin and king prawns arrived in perfection. You can choose several types of dressing to combine with, however I enjoy my combo as it is – well, perhaps just with a slice of lemon for appearances sake. Only using imported wagyu and US prime beef, my tenderloin was juicy and tender while the king prawn was very scrumptious. With the generous portions that they serve here, you can easily share with friends and still walk away full.
After three main courses and a half bottle of Robert Mondavi 1997 Cabernet Sauvignon, I am more then ready for the dessert. A waitress wearing black named Diana came to my table and brought me a treasure box made of dark wood. With catlike curiosity, I openned the box to find a stack of cards arranged in thin slots. On each card there was a picture of each dessert with a description on the back. This really took me back to my childhood games. The good thing is, we can easily be the winner this time and I ended up with Lobo’s banana spring roll (75K).
Dining in Lobo could easily come close to blowing away your monthly salary; but it is worth it. They serve you with the best quality of products and highest skill in cooking methods with impeccable service. My waitress Diana remembers exactly how I like things from my previous visits to Portovenere and the same now in Lobo. This kind of quality alone is enough to make repeating a visit to this establishment a must. I really wouldn’t mind another glass of their lovely bubbletini while watching (the imaginary) sunset at their terrace many times…again.
Lobby Level, The Ritz-Carlton
Jl. Lingkar Mega Kuningan Kav.