In recent year, Jakarta’s culinary scene keeps on growing. Many new restaurants popping up here and there. As a foodie, it triggers me to keep on updating what’s going on in this industry. One that makes me curious is Otel Lobby.
It was first introduced by Erza. He tweeted about this restaurant few months ago. The last couple of weeks, Erza and Ve keep on spreading the news. There you go, it bothers me a lot! Been manage to stop by with my friends but ended up it’s never happen.
All of the sudden, I received a very warm invitation from Erza and the restaurant itself. Boo! Surprised and excited! It was a dinner invitation with fellow connoisseur to enjoy their sophisticated courses made by Chef Raj.
Me and Daniel (written in Italic) will discuss more about our journey that night.
As you walk through the Epicentrum area, you’ll notice one industrial look with a gigantic signboard. That signboard reminds me something from ‘Uncle Sam’ and it did catch my eyes right away. Spotted! ‘No7 Otel Lobby Kitchen and Bar’.
Otel Lobby is one of the new “must try” place to visit , which these recent days have received some very good reviews on social media. The restaurant cum bar is located in the Epicentrum complex at Kuningan, across the famous-and-packed Bluegrass.
It is designed as a “hotel lobby” with an eye catching chandelier and a front desk that resembles old school reception ambiance. Square dining tables and u-shaped sofas spread across the room, it surely feels like you are at hotel’s lobby lounge, only a little darker and more intimate because of the dim lighting.
What I love about the interior, they brings it to the next level. It’s a piece of art. Those who loves design surely will enjoy this kind of view. Modern, classic yet modesty.
We were lucky to be invited for a specially arranged dinner, thanks to good friend Erza (from FRV and Jakarta Post) who invited us personally through twitter.
We then introduced to Maya Aldy, the female head chef and co-owner of Otel Lobby. Maya is a graduate of French Culinary Institute in New York and has worked in various establishments around the globe.
A very modest, sophisticated person, you know by the very first time she talked about food, she’s very passionate on what she’s doing. “Cooking is a noble act of love” she then added with bright eyes. You know you’re in a good hand when someone that passionate walk the talk.
Otel Lobby encourage the use of local produces. Maya claimed that 80% of the ingredients are local. They even plant their own rosemary and other herbs around the restaurant to be used for cooking or mixing drinks. Not to worry, those local produces high in quality and it did deliver such a great dishes.
Maya then introduced us to her Filipino friend Raj, whose also a chef and at the moment helps her run the kitchen before he opens his own establishment in Singapore very soon (we look forward for the good news!)
As the chef prepared the food, we then enjoyed the company of homemade signature cocktails.
Herb’n’Bourbon – Bourbon, fresh herbs, strawberry, citrus, honey, bitters. Tangy with a hint of spice.
Burning Mandarin – Mandarin, Vodka, hot chili, lemon, orange, cranberry. It will gives you that kicking hot sensational at the end of your sip. Do I need to say more?
Uva Bella – Gin, green grapes, elderflower, lemon, orange bitters. Those who loves something fruity and sweet, this one will be yours. I love the grapery taste.
Kudus Cocktail – whiskey, dark rum, clove, bitters. A light version of whiskey with a dynamic flavor.
As we being served with several cocktails, Raj and his team deliver the first meal.
Tuna Crudo with three ways Beetroot, Balsamic Reduction and Fried Shallots. This one is not on the menu, Chef Maya & Raj specially created this for us invitees that night. Fresh tuna, balanced balsamic taste, fried shallots a little overpowering but overall this is a very refreshing appetizer.
Exotic mixed of beetroot and tuna with a nice sweet drizzled of balsamic. The fried shallots gave another texture however it’s quite overpowered the whole dish.
A little light bite of Wagyu springroll with cheese to boost up our appetite. Definitely not your common springroll. Tasty beefy wagyu wrapped in crunchy skin and dipped it in the creamy cheesy sauce. Delicious!
The next dish is Squid Ink Malfatti with shrimp, chili & squid ink tempura. We all agree that the texture of perfectly al-dente pasta is very nice (and FYI they’re homemade) and the squid ink tempura complete the whole dish and define their very own “gourmet pilus”.
Several trials eating homemade pasta and my heart melts as I ate this one. Perfectly al-dente. Companied with fresh juicy prawn with a little dazzling of chili and those squid ink bits completed the dish.
We continue for Duck Bun. And yes, they also make their own bun in the kitchen. Soft and lovely, and the duck inside blends perfectly with red onion relish. A great bar snack!
A Chinese twist now and then is good for the soul. Those buns perfectly made. The juiciness of the duck, a little sourness and crunchy touch melted together with the softness of the homemade bun.
Their Braised shortribs served homemade kimchi (Erza can’t get enough of this he ordered for another), along with oyster tempura and rice crispies. Yes it might sounds a little bit too fusion-fancy and experimental but turns out really great. Maya and Raj kick ass!
When I looked at it, there’s a lot of going on in one plate. Kinda lost somewhere in the middle of it. Surprisingly, those little maze tickling my palate. The beef cooked to its perfection. The slow poached egg dancing in your tongue. Who would think kimchi, egg, ribs, oyster and rice crispy would make a great unity.
The superstar that night was the fish dish: Snapper with three ways corn and orange marmalade sauce. The fish is cooked very perfect, crispy outside, firm, succulent inside. Super fresh. And how incredible that a humble ingredient like corn can be combined perfectly with the fish. Orange marmalade (homemade, too) is great, giving enough kick to the whole taste experience!
I love the crispy skin and meaty fish. It was very fresh and juicy. I love how they managed to pull it together with such a good harmonization. The sweetness of the orange marmalade brings another layer to the dish. A very well balanced food.
Before we moved to the dessert, we enjoyed another sip of their cocktails. Mai Tai, Rum-a-Sutra (I love the hint of basil in it) and Baldy Ve. I love all of the house cocktail collection. A good mix of liquor with fruits, herbs and spices. It’s really a nice drink experiences.
OTL Homemade Gelato defines “desserts” the best : with (again!!) homemade cone. Soft and refreshing at the same time, our most favorite is the pineapple and jackfruit. We really couldn’t ask for better dish, I finished three cones, You go figure why.
I vote for Pineapple and Raspberry for the fruity based. In the other hand, Chocolate would never go wrong. One lick is really never enough! That homemade waffle-cone extremely gorgeous too!
I swear in the name of August Escoffier this is one of the best food tasting and review invitation so far. Almost flawless, we even can’t find what to be criticized about. The food is just honest, a little experimental but perfectly executed. If they can really keep the consistent taste and service (or even better), Otel Lobby is surely will be the next talk of the town. For a long time period.
I strongly agree with Daniel, it was one lovely enjoyable dining experience in a whole new level. Otel Lobby owns my heart and it’s definitely one of my Top Restaurant!
Thank you Erza and Ve who poisoned me with this glorious piece of art at Otel Lobby. Last but not least, thanks to Maya Aldy who set the bar higher!
As what we said from the very beginning, we don’t really care if Otel don’t have any room to stay in. With all those happiness on and inside our palate and belly, we surely will have a good sleep anywhere.