David Trauts travels into Jakarta’s latest hot centre of entertainment and dining, the SCBD, and comes back enlightened.
Text: David Trauts Photos: Ramadhan
La Luce restaurant has been open over six months and is beginning to find its rightful place amongst the top fine-dining restaurants of the capital. The entrance is still temporary, but once you are in the restaurant proper, it’s really something else, it’s something special.
Chef Alessandro de Boni, who heads the kitchen and was previously at the Mulia, says La Luce is not meant to be a fine-dining restaurant. He claims it to be a bistro. I beg to differ. I’ve been to many fine-dining restaurants over the years and this is definitely one of them. Top-end restaurants are full of creativity and passion, and there is no mistaking this in every dish brought to the table at La Luce. Service is both attentive and informed, with staff taking care of guests like they are their personal butlers. And let’s not forget great design and ambience.
La Luce has all of the above, but according to the Italian chef it’s supposed to be a bit more casual than that. I must say they aren’t doing a very good job of hiding it. The food is excellent quality, made from the freshest ingredients, mainly local since the government has decided to disrupt the import of most foreign food into the country goods recently. This policy has most top restaurants pulling their collective hair out trying to find adequate local substitutes, and Alessandro’s is in the same boat, but somehow manages. It’s the fresh ingredients and creative recipes that set La Luce apart from the Jakarta pack of dining bistros.
I’ve been to many fine-dining restaurants over the years and this is definitely one of them.
They have an excellent menu of Italian dishes ranging from appetizers, pizza and pasta, to main courses and desserts. All of these dishes are presented exquisitely. Since my partner that evening didn’t eat meat, and to tell you the truth, I eat less and less too, we chose a selection of appetizers that included carpaccio di salmone with thinly slice marinated Norwegian salmon, asparagus, and an orange and almond dressing, a calamaretti e gamberi, consisting of deep fried squid, prawns, and a variety of sauces. Capesante made up the last dish from the entrees list which is a combination of pan-seared diver sea scallops wrapped in lardo (an Italian cured meat), with grain mustard and a grape sauce – all delicious. We tried another pasta dish, tonnarelli, to round the meal off, which of course is black ink spaghetti, and on this occasion with wild shrimps and sea urchins. These dishes all came out together and every bite was savoured to the last morsel. They were stunningly presented and cooked to perfection. There are plenty of choices available for all kinds of palettes across the expansive menu at La Luce. We washed these dishes down with glasses of Banfi red and white wine at Rp 90k per glass, which is a very fair price for a decent wine.
The decor at La Luce could be termed modern Italian and would feel right in just about any capital around the world. The restaurant was designed by Sammy Hendramianto of design firm Gracipta Hadiprana. The design of the cubicle tables in particular is clever with glass separations between each giving the tables with a tight space between them their own intimacy. For more intimacy though, guests have the option of two private dining rooms that fit up to 20 people.
Overall La Luce is a magnificent restaurant and just the way I like them; a bit flashy, intimate, with great service and excellent food. The entrance will be sorted out soon and the outdoor garden area will be a great addition, but for now, La Luce is still a great Italian restaurant and a great place to dine. We recommend you give it a try.
18 Parc, Tower C, Ground Floor
Sudirman Central Business District
Tel. +6221 515 3860