Celebrating Indonesia at E&O Jakarta
On Saturday 13th, JKTGO had the special privilege of being invited to taste the special, one-day only collaboration menu between Chef Will Meyrick and Chef Petty Elliott, both renowned in their own special fields and truly cooking royalty in Indonesia. For those who are unfamiliar with their work, we’ll give a brief introduction to each of them down below, but more likely than not, you’ve probably already tasted some of their amazing creations without ever knowing it.
Why, Indonesian Independence Day of course! And what a way to celebrate just how far we’ve come but by bringing together a fusion of old and new? Besides, what’s not to celebrate about this amazing country we live in? Indonesia is famous around the world for its cultural diversity and its beautifully untouched surroundings. Sure we live in Jakarta, but that doesn’t mean we can’t celebrate anyway.
With all the colourful red and white flags decorating our streets it’s hard not to feel patriotic. We at JKTGO love the new fusion of flavours and cuisines that are being introduced to our city, but sometimes we just want a nice dinner with familiar flavours that can still manage to excite us even after all of these years.
When we were invited by E&O Jakarta, part of the amazing Jakarta-based Union Group, we were excited. They always seem to throw something new our way and we love it. We love not knowing what we’ll get to feast our eyes on next.
Most of you probably already know E&O Jakarta, it’s in the Mega Kuningan District at Menara Rajawali (Hawk Tower in English which sounds super cool and villainous). It’s the go-to place for classy after dinner drinks and an even better place to take your loved one out for date night. We agree, it has a great bar and the bartenders are more than just great bartenders, they’re great conversationalists too! E&O Jakarta boasts a great atmosphere with mood lighting that isn’t overbearing, and probably some of the comfiest seats ever – no joke.
Before we ate, we were given some precious few minutes to talk to Chef Will Meyrick and Chef Petty Elliot to ask about their inspirations and some of the stories behind the dishes they were presenting for the night. We really have to hand it to E&O, part of the amazing Jakarta-based Union Group, for putting these two together. They both have such distinct styles of cooking that blend perfectly together. Even if we wanted to, we really couldn’t fault any of the dishes.
Chef Will, an Aussie born chef has that has travelled extensively through the South East Asia region but fell in love with the culture and cuisine of Indonesia, is known as the Street Food Chef, and for good reason. He loves the street food culture and has been one of the pioneering chefs in the revival of Indonesian cuisine. A bit of a jokester, he’s as approachable and down to earth as a top chef can get. He’s extremely active on social media so don’t forget to check him out – we’ll leave the links below.
credit: petty elliot
Chef Petty Elliot is as Indonesian as Indonesian gets. She’s passionate about the food she makes and writes about it beautifully. A celebrity food writer (although she denies the celebrity status) with an intense passion for the heat of the kitchen, she’s written two books about the diversity Indonesian cuisine has to offer. She’s constantly in search of new cooking techniques, new recipes and most importantly, interesting stories to tell. She’s full of weird and quirky facts and we just couldn’t have enough of her!
In the past few years, Indonesian cuisine has been growing in popularity overseas. You now find great Indonesian chefs serving up some crazy wonderful Indonesian classics in countries close by such as Malaysia and Australia, and even much further out into the world in far away continents. And yet, the complexity and intricacies of Indonesian cuisine has been lost, or rather, taken for granted, in Indonesia itself.
The younger, new millennials of Jakarta would much rather dine on imported Italian or Japanese cuisines than head to a restaurant to sample some of the diverse cuisines of the Indonesian archipelago. For a long time now, Indonesian cuisine has suffered from such thoughts of being lower class or only for home, but chefs like Chef Will and Chef Petty are trying to change the scene, elevating dishes like Beef Rendang or Asinan Betawi to whole new levels.
This breathtaking entrée, “Sop Buntut” – Oxtail Dumplings in a Light Consommé, was coined by Chef Patty. She says that she’s always loved traditional Oxtail Soup but that it was too fatty for her and we agree. Maybe we’re not all on diets, I know that I definitely am not, but some Oxtail Soups can be a little too oily. She’s solved this problem in the most inventive of ways. Why not just put all the lovely, juice goodness of oxtail meat into a dumpling and make a perfectly light – but still delectable – consommé? Best of both worlds is it not? We think so too.
Yet another breathtaking entrée from Chef Petty, this deceptively simple dish really packed a punch. The “Ikan Naniura” – Fish Ceviche was marinated in kaffir lime leaves giving it a really fresh and not-at-all fishy aftertaste. The simply crushed and diced herbs and familiar taste of Sambal Matah added a nice texture to complement the soft flaky fish. Too pretty to eat? Great, I’ll take your portion! 😀
This one is an Aceh-style Octopus Rendang from Chef Will – you read that right. Octopus. Maybe it’s just me, but I’d never heard of that before to be completely honest. While rendang is a popular dish of choice for many people, not just Indonesians, sometimes it can be quite overwhelming. Everyone makes it differently. A little turmeric here, a few shallots there, a lot of chilies everywhere, but this one was definitely different. It was so well put together that we were left very literally speechless.
It’s hard to describe in words, it really is, but while pretty much everything on the exclusive one-time-only menu was amazing this one really blew our minds. It says a lot when a group of enthusiastic food writers are left speechless. Did you notice that I used that word twice? That was intentional. Speeeeech-lessssssss.
Another great one by Chef Will Meyrick. It’s a bit of an off topic, but you know you’ve made it when people eat your dish and know that you made it hahaha. We really did love this one Chef Will, not to flatter you any more than we already have. The plate was returned to the kitchen completely clean.
The “Selat Solo” Slow Braised Beef Cheek fell off the bone and tasted amazing. The flavours of the sauce were heavy but complemented the sweet vegetables well. It’s looks very different, of course, from the traditional Selat Solo you are accustomed to seeing at your own home, but, and I personally think most importantly, it still reminds me of home.
Unfortunately we don’t have much more space in this blog article to discuss every single amazingly wonderfully amazing dish, so we’ll have to move quickly to the dessert. There were two, but we did absolutely love this one, not for the amazing flavours or the fact that the other one was finished so quickly we barely had time to take a photo, but instead for the ingenuity.
Believe it or not, this is “Es Teler” with red bean ice cream, oddly shaped cendol, and refreshing red dragon fruit sorbet. We must admit, it wasn’t the best tasting dessert, and we personally would prefer the traditional Es Teler down the road from the office, but it was really great seeing the both of them pushing the boundaries of what traditional Indonesian food could become.
After all, the whole purpose of this dinner was to celebrate the diversity of Indonesian cuisine and breathe new life into it, a modernity that could blend in seamlessly with our wonderful traditional dishes. So to all you chefs or wannabe chefs or people who are forced to cook for themselves at home lest you starve, let’s bring a little bit of spice (pun very much intended) into Indonesian cuisine.
Where: E&O Jakarta,
Menara Rajawali, Lv. 1
Jl. Dr. Ide Anak Agung, Lot No. 5
Mega Kuningan, South Jakarta
When: 11:00 – 23:00
More Info: +6221 5761 645 / www.eandojakarta.com
We’ll leave you here with one more image of a dish I didn’t get to taste.
Sorry, the others were too quick. ):