Despite all the problems that Jakarta is facing at the moment, we are still very lucky to have A Great Range of restaurants covering all culinary corners of the earth.
Text By Erza S.T.
Photo by Ramadhan
In October last year another new restaurant celebrated its grand opening; a new Italian restaurant called Pesto Autentico located inside the new ANZ Bank building that has started to sprout more and more chic restaurants since it opened earlier in the year.
Unlike other Italians in town, Pesto’s design is far from traditional. They instead used a modern taste from the award-winning architect Willis Kusuma who also designed Social House in Grand Indonesia. The result is a modern Italian restaurant in an industrial rustic atmosphere that is dominated by dark tones of wood and strengthened with metal accents. A handsome-looking open kitchen in the central area completes the look of the big dining room surrounded by unpolished wooden furniture and big windows. And, although we enjoyed Willis’s masculine design for Pesto, we somehow felt that it still has a strong resemblance to Social House.
Luckily, what is not so original about Pesto’s design is the balance with their food on the menu. Claiming to serve authentic Italian cuisine that mostly comes from the Mediterranean, Pesto’s food is actually quite promising. Lead by Mikko Mastrogiacomo, who is known for his “Osteria Telese” restaurant in Bali, Pesto’s kitchen serves us up with some interesting home-style cooking that is simple but has a very memorable taste.
Hailing from Napoli, Chef Mikko brought some of that bravura taste and introduced it to Jakarta’s tongue. Offering a wide range of food, you can find pretty much every kind of Italian dish here; from antipasti, pasta, pizza, seafood, meat and even a vegetarian menu. Try their gnocchi alla Sorentina, potato dumplings with tomato sauce, mozzarella and parmesan. It is not only vegetarian-friendly but also extremely delicious.
Mikko created the entire menu and made sure that the crew learned how to serve it right in Pesto. His philosophy is to have great olive oil and tomatoes, as it is the essence of Italian cooking. This philosophy seems to work well for the food served there. My bucatini alla calabrese was simply wonderful and you can really taste that fresh tomato sauce.
Pesto is also very proud of their seafood menu, thus we decided to try some spiedini di pesce in agro dolce – roasted snapper, salmon, prawn and orange on a skewer with fresh green salad. The seafood was fresh and cooked perfectly, however it is the sauce that gives the ultimate taste.
This spectacular sauce is made from a very simple combination of olive oil infused with orange juice. Aside from this, we also tried gamberoni alla griglia from the island of Sicily. It is a king prawn dish cooked in butter sauce served with a fresh salad.
Make sure to leave some space for dessert when you come to Pesto. It would be a great loss to skip it. Mikko is as serious about his dessert as his main courses. “We are doing serious tiramisu here,” he said to me and he was not joking. The tiramisu is as great as I remember when I was in Rome a few months ago. His pannacotta al rum is also worth a try but make sure you don’t miss the crostata di mirtillo. This pie-like pastry is filled with blueberry paste and it is heavenly.
With its spacious ambiance, Pesto is good for any social event. The food comes in good-sized portions to share and the pricing is also not intimidating for such good quality. Match all of the above with Italian best original Peroni beer and you will be guaranteed a most memorable evening’s dining.
ANZ Square, UG Floor
Jl. M.H. Thamrin No. 10
Tel: +62 21 2993 7230