A decade is a long time for a restaurant to survive. Many fine eateries these days disappear after less than a year, winding up nothing more than a topic for an afternoon’s gossip. It definitely isn’t easy to survive in a city like Jakarta; the competition is tough and there’s plenty of it, but some do survive and with the experience of time even get better. Like a well matured wine C’s at Grand Hyatt Jakarta is one of those.
By Erza S.T.
Back in early part of 2000, C’s restaurant at Grand Hyatt Jakarta opened following in step with of its successful sister restaurant “Mezzanine” in the Grand Hyatt Singapore. Borrowing a similar open kitchen concept set in a sleek post-modernist interplay between copper, aluminum, glass and wood with perfect golden lighting, C’s set the new standard for restaurants, combining food, style and fashion. After almost a decade since its opening, this multi-million dollar space has become one of Jakarta’s great dining institutions.
Like most other great restaurants anywhere in the world, C’s has had its ups and downs over the years, but now with an apparent recharged energy and new younger staff behind the wheel, namely Norwegian chef Christer Foldnes, C’s looks set to enjoy a new, fresh period in the limelight. FRV Travel books a table to revisit and review C’s for the first time in over four years.
The unmistakable glass-enclosed wine rack standing proudly at the entrance with a fantastic wine collection is still as impressive as ever. Entering, over a dozen cooks dressed in fabulously pristine white uniforms are busy cooking fresh produce as we pass to our table. Sitting down with the C’s menu in hand, which is broadly divided into two grand themes, a meat and seafood grill and modern Chinese, we decided to choose a combination of the two and in the process chose some of C’s signature dishes.
From the starters we chose C’s appetizer platter”which is made up of crab cakes, buffalo mozzarella, Peking duck pancake, crispy beef pancake with steam prawns and fresh lobster. It was pretty much still the same as before but we did notice a slight change. The bruschetta and foie gras were missing and replaced with the Peking duck and crispy beef pancakes. The new Oriental approach with the Peking duck was actually very interesting and delicately tasty. Before we even moved forward to the main course, the kitchen amazed us by presenting an additional Chinese appetizer. The name was scallops tofu Szechuan and was served on top of freshly cooked bok choi. It was a lovely surprise from the chef and it was even more surprising to actually experience its exquisite taste. Unfortunately, this surprise appetizer is not yet on the menu, but we are sure they will make one for you if you ask.
The Chinese menu in C’s is usually the second option for guests and is left slightly in the shadow of C’s western menu. That is why it is good to know that over time some things are actually improving in their Chinese selection. “live soon hok steam in Hong Kong style” and “kailan garlic butter” were two classic dishes that we chose from their Chinese menu and they both arrived perfectly. After years of inconsistency on this area, C’s has finally managed to step up their game and we have to admit we love the result.
The chef passed by to our table at this point, and we asked him what challenges C’s is facing these days and how he planned to win over new customers. Chef Christer politely answered, “Jakarta always offers a great variety of restaurants for all kind of tastes and atmospheres. The key to success here is to be consistent in service and product quality. We are determined to always be the best in these key elements and to overcome any challenges that C’s might face. You see, I like the product to speak for itself. You must believe and have confidence in what you are doing and your food will shine through. I like to cook light, fresh and clean.” With his limited English, this young and enthusiastic chef also explained that many loyal customers love the signature dishes at C’s, however, he will spice it up a notch or two by introducing new menus for lunch and dinner in June.
Curious with this Norwegian chef’s style of cooking, we decided to try one of the on going promotional menu dishes and chose spicy white asparagus, prawns and jelly fish salad. It was simply inspiring and we loved how the chef put an Oriental touch by adding Thai sweet and sour sauce to compliment the great taste of the fresh white asparagus.
To end our grand lunch rendezvous, we chose a signature C’s dessert platter. It is an assortment of dessert from mango pudding, chocolate cherry, apple rhubarb pie, lemon mousse, and banana fleuillettes with a selection of ice cream and sherbets. Add a cappuccino with it and you can pretty much say carpe diem to a fine meal. Though we missed their artistic crème brulee and memorable chocolate soufflé that melts in your mouth from the current platter, it was still sweet, fresh and rejuvenating for the soul.
All and all this re-visit to C’s was quite a remarkable experience and we hope to see them again sooner in the next decade. C’s has always set, and continues setting, the standard in fine dining in Jakarta. The reason is quite simple and as Chef Christers says, it’s all in the quality service and product that they offer. C’s at the Grand Hyatt Jakarta is a five–star, signature and destination restaurant.
Grand Hyatt Jakarta, 2nd Floor
Jl. M.H. Thamrin Kav. 28-30
Tel: +62 21 390 1234