Plenty of good food above the surface, but forbidden guilty pleasures are usually found underground. VE HANDOJO joined the Happy Dippers Society in Domain.
Best kept secrets are hidden behind or underneath the most unusual places. Think of Aladdin’s cave, or Harry Potter’s Diagon Alley. Now, think of the tacky Senayan City. Totally unlikely and unbelievably tacky. Nevertheless, find the secret passage – yeah, you really have to make an extra effort to find this in the first place – to the basement of the adjacent office building, and you’ll discover the playful sign for Domain. The glass door with vertical wooden bars blends well with the environment, making it almost invisible.
As I pushed the door, and stepped inside, I found my Aladdin’s Cave. It was almost entirely made of wood. Basked in low lighting, and filled with chunky, nuovo, retro-style furniture, Domain is a discreet spot where everybody can feel as exclusive as being a member of a sect. But, just what would this sect do?
Yes, there is a wine cellar stocked with selected reds and whites from many parts of the world. Yes, there is a range of creative cocktails to help us spill our darkest secrets in a circle of truth. And, yes, there is more than enough food. But, they are no longer the main reasons why people come here, to this underground domain.
On the dining tables, together with wine glasses and bottles, are caquelons, or earthenware pots. Each of them is heated with rechaud, or small burners. Inside of them are these heavenly delights we call fondue. Cuts and slices of beef sirloin, broccoli, carrot, potato, strawberry, dried apricot, and marshmallow are ready to be dipped into those caquelons.
Chef Noe Gabriel’s blend of cheeses consist of Gruyere and Emmental, the staple cheeses for classic fondue. With a splash of white wine, the melted cheese is creamy, yet will not become too heavy or sticky. Meanwhile, the white chocolate fondue contains alcohol – including Baileys.
A petite portion of fondue is good for two, while the grande is aimed for a party of four. The Bagna Cauda savory fondue is beef sirloin, chicken, vegetables and homemade bread over traditional Piedmont oil fondue. Another variation will be roasted tomato and cheese fondue, accompanied with vegetables and bread.
Fondue is a communal dish. Each diner uses both a dipping fork and a regular fork. Stab a nugget of bread, or dried fruit, or vegetable, then dip it into the melted cheese or white chocolate inside the caquelon. It is considered impolite to eat the nugget right from the dipping fork. Use the regular fork instead. The old Swiss tradition will punish someone who loses his or her cheese inside the fondue. He will have to buy a bottle of wine, and she will have to kiss the man on her left. You can either do this in Domain, or create your own rules to make it fun.
Complete your fondue night with beers or wine. This is the ritual of the Happy Dippers in Domain. Yes, you come underground to be merry, and indulge yourself in the secret delight of fondue, then resurface in bliss.
Panin Tower, Senayan City, Level B2
Jalan Asia Afrika Kav. 19
Tel: +62 21 7278 1787