Friday, August 28, 2015

Your Comfort Food Reimagined at 1945 Fairmont

Fine dining at 1945 Fairmont turns out to be a pleasant surprise. Invitation arrived from the group who has Sate Khas Senayan and Tesate under its management, so our guess is this should be another Indonesian restaurant with unusual concept.

Welcome to 1945
The first impression? A minimalist interior with stones built similar to temples mixed with wooden element, something very Indonesian. At the door, friendly waitress with Kebaya, complete with their traditional hair bun and hair pin. Its lounge has asymmetrical short wooden table, wax decor and a pot full of one of the things Indonesia is famous for: Chili. At the end of the long tunnel, there is a long table with candle and janur kuning (literally translated as yellow coconut leaves, this traditional decor is usually placed outside to indicate celebrations happening inside a building or area). Definitely a mix of minimalist, luxury and modern feel.

At the dining room, a video showing historical clips of Indonesia's struggle for independence. On the carpet, there are numbers 1945 sewn into it. Tables from marbles with candle stick on every corner remind us of torches with a hint of contemporary through the red petals spreads on the table.

The feast begins with a Rijsttafel, or a rice table style of serving. Four waitresses arrive with two appetizers each, introducing the story and the name behind each dish. Emping (melinjo crackers) served with peanut sauce, steamed peanut and Kembang Goyang (Indonesian traditional snack made of flour). A twist on plating gave a different look and feel to the already familiar dishes for Indonesians. Each dish is served on custom crafted ceramic sets inspired by the traditional but created for the contemporary.

Four waitresses arrive with two appetizers each.

Emping with peanut sauce, steamed peanut and kembang goyang
Don't worry be thirsty after everything on the Rijsttafel. - Fruity Lime Granita Mulberry, shaved ice traditional with homemade syrup, is a childhood favorite with a sophisticated makeover.

Let's Check Out The Menu!

Also known as snack. Never know that Gorengan can be this delightful. Placed on a leaf mat, high-rise rempeyek (flour crackers with either salted fish or ground nuts) stands side-by-side with three-colored yam which are rich, crispy and tasty. Definitely a favorite. Bakwan (prawn fritters) comes with cabe rawit (chili) and smooth but thick peanut sauce dip.


Also known as satay, at 1945, the selections are from the best possible meat and seafood: Wagyu Beef, Chicken Oyster, Lamb Tenderloin. One portion consists of 8 skewers served on a unique bowl with hot charcoal underneath. Yin-Yang stone tray that can be attached to red-colored rice plate. As expected of satay, there are peanut sauce, sweet soy sauce and pickles. Give the lamb a try because it's soft and doesn't smell funny (a big kudos for lamb). But as always, soy sauce is preferred with lamb.

Pecel Kembang Salad grabs girls attention (probably something boys have to order when they have date here) due to its vibrant color and well, there are flowers. We think we spotted three kinds of flowers there: Begonia, Kembang Teleng (Blue Butterfly Pea) and Marigolds. All are mixed with greens including kemangi and cucumber. Rempeyek seems like a trend here. Even how you should eat this is real cool. First you have to mix them up together with the peanut sauce that is buried inside, then you mix it again with black sesame around the plate. It taste really good and the edible flowers got us to wonder a lot about the different taste and characteristics. Perfect collaboration of the sauce, tingly taste, sweet and sour.

But that's not all for opening. Oxtail Consomme is next. Stacked beautifully, the dish has meat, baby carrots, radish, and potato bowl. Soup is placed separately in an old-fashioned jar. Meat is soft and the soup is super tasty, makes you want to slurp some more.

Choose your Rice
Indonesia is identical with rice, especially when you're in Jakarta. Right before the main courses are served, waitresses went around to take everyone rice order from world-famous white rice, festivity's yellow rice and the healthy black (red) rice. Sambal Matah is also served at this time.

Main Course
Rejuvenate your meal with Rendang Wagyu. Served on top of cassava leaves with extra, extra paste. Yeay! It doesn't scream Wagyu right away but when you give it a try, you know it's not the ordinary meat used at Padang restaurant down the street. Super soft, definitely a high-quality beef. And such a beef can match perfectly with Rendang paste is a proof that Indonesian food can go as fancy. Cassava leaves aren't bitter (what a relief) and it's something to much on while talking with everyone on the table. The homemade and classic taste makes this dish worth the try.

Soft Tongseng Lamb Chop, fried with vibrant spices. It's another typical Indonesian stew dish which is packed with local spices and sweet soy sauce that makes the brown color on the soup. Curry sauce is very tasty. Rujak Chicken is boneless young chicken served with baby spinach and rujak sauce. Rujak usually refers a dish of fruits and vegetables mixed with sweet and spicy sauce. Its sauce is made of tamarind, palm sugar and ground nuts.

Tongseng Lamb Chop with three-colored rice
Rujak Chicken
The next dish is Lobster Pesmol Thermidor, stuffed-baked with golden, coconut milk-based sauce which is often found in West Java area. This sauce is often used for fish and other seafood. But with lobster? Well, a big fan of lobster, Fiona can guarantee that this particular dish is "to die for". Easily pulled the meat out of the shell, fresh and pesmol sauce apparently fit in. As Indonesian, rice is a must have, as a side dish.

Still on the seafood side, Gindara 1945 is a dish served with sweet terasi (shrimp paste) sauce. Soft and doesn't smell fishy. It's one dish that you can go over and over again without feeling guilty. The usually strong overpowering terasi blends well with the gindara.

Fried Rice
Lobster Fried Rice is cooked with curry is similar to Briyani Rice. Lobster is placed next to the rice that's cooked dry, just like what the traditional fried rice looks like. Nasi Goreng Kampung, the ones that's usually cooked by your mom (or the gerobak faithfully passing by late at night to ruin your diet) also received a boost.

With main courses like that, it's only fair to wonder what's the closing dishes look like. Nastar Cake arrived with a presentation as luxurious as expected. Fiona loves nastar, which is originally a pineapple-filled bite-size pastry, but when it comes out as cake, it loses the crispiness. How about extra crunch and a little more moist on the cake? Frozen Srikaya Souffle appears next. Imagine a large Srikaya-filled ongol-ongol topped with souffle and shredded coconut. Served with Pandan Sticky Rice on the side. Warm is definitely better. But, after an array of such a rich dishes, we expect more flavors on this one too. Srikaya and Pandan somehow taste too similar. 

Nastar Cake
Frozen Srikaya Souffle
Third time the charm. The last piece of dessert is arguably the best in town. Tape Cheesecake. Well, repeat after me, Tape Cheesecake. It's hard to imagine at first but once you give it a try, it's hard to stop. This cheesecake disappears at once. Fusing tape (fermented rice or cassava dessert) into the usually heavy cheesecake apparently balance the taste. Add on vanilla sauce and it soon becomes everyone's favorite dessert.

Tape Cheesecake
Final Thoughts?
Have to admit we're skeptical with the concept stated on the press release: Indonesian Fine Dining, elevating familiar dishes into exquisitely flavor and colorful creations. Indonesian food has always been comfort food and many admit its plating difficulty because, well, we used to eat them on the table regardless of how pretty their appearance can be. But our doubts, about whether Indonesian can enjoy this kind of fine dining concept with their comfort food, are instantly broken with 1945.

We'll bring our family here. It will be a new thing for them to experience. I think this concept will open everyone's eyes that Indonesian cuisine can get a revamp without compromising both the aesthetic aspects and authenticity.

Where is this?
Fairmont Hotel, 3rd Floor
Jl. Asia Afrika No.8 Jakarta - Indonesia
t: +62 21 2903 9179
f: +62 21 2903 9177
Opening hours:
Lounge 11.00 AM - 12.00 AM
Lunch 11.00 AM - 03.30 PM
Dinner 06.30 PM - 11.00 PM

No comments:

Post a Comment