FOOD REVIEW: BISTECCA

Went to this fancy Italian-American steakhouse
and martini bar by the Union Group. I was surprised when I entered BISTECCA for the
first time. Actually, it wasn’t as spacious as I thought it’d be. But, it
turned out to feel homey with very dim light. 

For appetizer, I tried BISTECCA CAESAR SALAD.
It was fun to see the server scraped the 24-months old Parmigiano Reggiano
Cheese. Served with Crispy Anchovies and Garlic Croutons, I love how the cheese
sort of melted in my mouth. Very tasty salad.

Another appetizer: JUMBO SHRIMP COCKTAIL.
Literally, three jumbo shrimps served with their homemade cocktail sauce, lemon
and super crispy iceberg lettuce. Recommended.

Off to their pasta. GOOSE LIVER RAVIOLI. With a
mix of Parmigiano cream sauce and white truffle oil, these are kind of salty
but definitely tasty.

Main: BURGER IL PRIMO. Properly marinated
ground beef with layers of tomatoes, truffle and eggs. Served with French
Fries, it’s definitely an alternative if you don’t feel like eating steaks.

Being a sweet tooth that I am, I wouldn’t skip
their mouth-watering desserts. Just check out their instagramable BAKED ALASKA.
It’s literally on fire as the server fired the rum and poured them around,
giving those baked aroma and color to the meringue coating. The sweet taste
from three layers of ice cream (chocolate, vanilla and strawberry) with
chocolate cake on the very bottom, are balanced with almost bitter baked meringue A must try!

Another must try dessert: ESKIMO BAR with
Butterscotch Sauce. Vanilla ice cream coated with thin chocolate, with sprinkles of crispy butterscotch. Yummy!

Me and Aziz from the Union Group. Thanks for
having me, Bistecca. 

FOOD PHOTOS: SHINTA ROSVITA

AFFORDABLE YET DELICIOUS BEEF BBQ IN TOWN

Earlier this week, I tried this Korean restaurant in Lippo Mall Kemang, Jakarta Indonesia, named MUJIGAE.

Not a new restaurant, but I don’t know why it took me awhile to try this casual Korean Food Restaurant. But then, my son tried it first with his friends, and he said it was delicious, so there I went.

There are several Korean restaurants in my neighbourhood, but I must say this Mujigae has the best yet super affordable barbecue beef. I went with my son and hubby, so there were three of us and we only spent less than IDR 300K including drinks. Bring cash, because they don’t accept credit cards yet.

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Other than the barbecue beef, we also ordered Bulgogi (shown above). It was a successful dish also, considering they sliced the beef thinly and very well marinated (the meat there is very tender & tasteful). Different from the beef barbecue which you have to put on the pan slice by slice, the Bulgogi’s meat are already on the pan.

Comes with the DIY mini grill pan (how cute, right?), the con is: when the fire is too big, watch out for the splattered oil and overcooked beef. By the way, our barbecue beef and bulgogi come with kimchi and nori sheets too. For drinks, try their Mango Yakult (very refreshing!).

Recommended? Hell, yeah. I’ll be back for sure.

HOT SPOT FOR HOT POT 

Ideal meal for this gloomy weather at Crystal Jade Restaurant & Steamboat.

I have to admit that I do enjoy warm meal on any days. What can I say, I am not a salad or sushi kind of gal. That’s why hot pot, also known as steamboat (in countries such as Singapore and Thailand) is one of my favorite. Yesterday, I was invited to try the first ever steamboat restaurant by Crystal Jade in Jakarta. What’s more: they also served dim sum till 5pm. 

Crystal Jade offers different sets of steamboats, but I decided to try Set G, which is their Set Steamboat Seafood. For the soup base (yes, you can self-select), I was recommended to try their chicken congee soup base. Not your typical congee, as you won’t see the actual one. The consistency of the congee was not that thick, easy to slurp as it’s lightly salted and smooth. Not to mention, very tasty too! So tasty, I could eat the soup base alone and feel full. But, I don’t want to miss three pieces of live prawns which are a part of the set. When I said live prawn, they’re still alive when served. So they’re really really fresh. The others are cuttlefish, vegetables (napa cabbage & hon-shimeji mushrooms), vermicelli, garoupa fillet, homemade (yes, Crystal Jade takes effort to make their own) cuttlefish ball, bean curd, sweet corn and egg. Even though they’re seafood, but they definitely didn’t taste fishy at all. All these fresh additions made a very flavourful steamboat, indeed! Cooked on a special imported table (named: induction), without fire at sight, I truly believe that steamboat is all about the freshness of the ingredients and the mix of sauces (they have 17 sauces to mix and match). 

As I mentioned earlier, other than steamboat, the restaurant also offer a selection of Dim Sum favorites, made by a Hong Kong chef. I ordered the old-time favorite Siew Mai and Steamed Salted Egg Yolk Custard Bun. I’m not surprised why there are queues for Crystal Jade’s dim sum, especially on the weekends. They are delicious. Make sure they’re served hot, especially for the custard bun as I can feel the warm golden colored sauce melt inside my mouth. I love how fluffy the dough is, and I consider this dish as a memorable dim sum dessert at Crystal Jade. Another must try for the closing, are their ice blended drinks (I tried Rosemary: a blend of strawberry, banana & milk) and well loved mango pudding. 

Except the yeay factor for the weekday dim sum, as Chinese New Year nearly approaching next month, this is a good spot to have your reunion dinner. Best to have a company of friends and families, judging from their spacious Chinese’ style interior for a more pleasant dining experience. 

Crystal Jade Restaurant & Steam Boat
Pondok Indah Mall Street Gallery 2nd Floor
Jakarta, Indonesia 

HOME COOKING ALLA ITALIANO

Newly opened TREDICI RISTORANTE fulfilled my latest craving for delicious Italian cuisine.

People go through culinary phases. Lately, mine is Italian. I’m not a big fan of any food retail chain where you can eat Pizza and Pasta inside a mall. I prefer a homey restaurant with Italian feel, like you’re eating in Tuscany. Yes, atmosphere and ambience count. It’s a great bonus if the head chef was Italian too.  Perfetto!

I was invited to Tredici Ristorante’s opening this week and all of those factors I mentioned above were there. Tredici means thirteen in Italian and Sylvia Gunawan (owner & founder of Tredici Ristorante) mentioned that she was also preparing to open a lounge/bar on the second floor which will be named “13 Monkeys”. Of course, Tredici is on the first floor, located at a (very) busy street, Jl. Suryo 42, Senopati, Jakarta. 

The head chef, Mario, is Italian who have worked in Indonesia for more than 20 years. And that day (boy, was I glad I came with an empty stomach) he and his team was preparing lots (and I mean it) of Italian home made cooking for me and fellow press. Overall, I did try 3 appetizers, 3 different pastas, 2 main courses, 4 slices of pizzas and 2 desserts. And they served everything fresh. The red of cherry tomatoes, the green from spinach for their Ravioloni and the pink of salamis. I could go on and on. 

When I chat with Sylvia, she said that everything was local, except the cold cuts. And right down through the beverages, they infused by themselves. So fresh, they also used fresh pastas, not the dry ones. I can tell from how chewy and soft the pastas are. “They’re not just delicious, they’re healthy too because we’re not using MSG at all,” said Sylvia. Great, I’m thinking to bring my boys here soon.

Anyway, if I have to break it down to my own favorite meals, it would be: Pizza: I love the crispy dough, the scent of freshly baked from the oven and the saltiness of their pepperoni & salami. Piccante is my favorite, but if you love seafood, try their Mare Pizza (it’s so unique, they served the mussels with their shells as a pizza topping). 
Pasta: My favorite will be the Linguine. Served with Baby Squids and Toasted bread crumb topping, it’s delicious and a bit spicy. And the pasta is not al dente, perfetto!
Dessert: Being a sweet tooth that I am, I had my choice at their Panna Cotta. Soft but not watery Cream Pudding, the right amount of sweetness mixed really well with the sourness from their fresh strawberry sauce. And it looks beautiful on their white plate, don’t you think?

 

DEFINITE MUST TRY FOR CULINARY EXPERIENCE

If you love to eat as much as I do, there’s a (quite) new bar&grill in Jakarta that you have to try.

Bluegrass Bar & Grill is located at Bakrie Tower in Kawasan Rasuna Epicentrum, Kuningan, Jakarta. They claimed themselves in their facebook page as an Asian Fusion Restaurant and American Restaurant. I went to this restaurant before they moved to a new location, and I personally love this one better. They have a quite large space to separate the smokers and non smokers, and the bar is the heart of the it. The ambience is quite masculine, do not expect girly things inside, but it’s cozy enough for family dine out (they have Kids Meal!).

When I visited BlueGrass today, it was lunch time, so lots of working people and I spotted some expats having their lunch break there, too. Miranda Tobing, Marcomm Manager for BlueGrass said, it’s much more crowded after office hours with lots of expats and younger crowds on weekdays. I can imagine the empty bar at lunch turned crowded after the sun goes down. 

From Miranda’s recommendation, I tried the appetizer, their signature mocktail, their best seller burger and the yummiest dessert ever! Let me break it down.

Perfect Chemistry: Very very refreshing but not too sweet mocktail. Combination of peach, lychee, kaffir lime leaf, lavender & peach syrup with fresh lime juice. It was a hot day, so this cold mocktail did live up to its’ name. Perfect!

Margarita Grilled Shrimp: Not even a touch of fishy smell from the grill prawns (maybe because they marinated it with Tequila?) and I love how they served them like satays. And the fruit salsa is very fresh, it really complement the taste of the grill prawns.

American Classic Burger: As classic as it can be, with a choice of bacon (turkey or pork). And yeay! They served chips, rather than french fries (lots of restaurant bored me with these burger companion). Also on the plate, fresh coleslaw. The homemade beef patty was marinated well and it didn’t taste dry. And the buns… they’re soft without crumbles and delicious.

Banana Cake: This made me bananas! What can I say, I have sweet tooth. Served warm, this sweet banana cake has this incredible sugar frosting on top which taste cold when you put them inside your mouth. Incredible warm and cold combination of dessert. Me likey!