The third Jakarta Culinary Festival just kicked off last weekend, bringing lots of Indonesian and international culinary talents, a curated food market, cooking shows, and cooking classes for the whole month. I was invited to attend the grand opening night dinner, featuring two culinary experts: William Wongso and William Meyrick (the owner of Sarong & Mamasan restaurants in Bali). The dinner was held at Pop-up Restaurant which is specially created for the event.
Upon arriving, we’re given a complementary wine selection provided by Dimatique of cape discovery margaret river chardonnay 2011 and cape discovery margaret river rose 2011 (love the wine selections), with unique canapés such as mini martabak, sate padang, etc. One thing that grabs my attention is the Balinese inspired raw tuna salad served with sambal matah and lemon basil on top of betel leaf. It tasted so delicious, refreshing, and with a great presentation.
We started with a soup called Sop Biji-Biji Ternate by chef William Wongso which is a Ternate island soup with fish and kenari nut ball, looking like a meat ball soup. It tasted quite good, the broth was subtle and comforting, although I couldn’t really find the kenari taste in the meatball.
From Chef William Wongso, we got to try Mentho Yogya (steamed minced beef roll with sweet coconut cream) and Slada Bangka Udang (bangka turnip shrimp salad with orange). I love both dishes so much. I have never tried mentho before, so it was a very pleasant surprise as the texture of steamed coconut cream was so smooth and creamy. The selada bangka udang was also so good. I like the turnip crunchiness, the nutty flavor and tangy taste. Yohan Handoyo, the wine expert, suggested that we pair this salad with deetlef chenin blanc 2011, which gave the salad even more refreshing taste.
From Chef Will Meyrick, we tasted Bebek Kampung Lawar (shredded duck lawar with fern tips, crispy shallot, shrimp paste, chilli, lemon) and Burung Puyuh Tangkap Aceh (aceh crispy quail tangkap with crispy curry leaf, pandan leaf and lime). Both dishes were above average, but I couldn’t help noticing that both dishes tasted a tad too salty when eaten without rice.
The appetizer were paired with cape discovery margaret river rose 2011 and ohau gravel woven stone sauvignon blanc 2011, kapiti coast, NZ
LET THE FEAST BEGIN…
From Will Meyrick, there were Udang Asam Pedas (prawns simmered in hot and sour broth with turmeric leaf and asam kandis), Bebek Goreng Dengan Tiga Sambal Indonesia (twice cooked crispy duck with trio of indonesian sambals), Konro Bakar Sulawesi (grilled makassar beef ribs simmered in black nut broth with peanut sauce), Gulai Kambing Banda Aceh (red) (aceh lamb shank curry with lemongrass, ginger flower and curry leaf). I like all the dishes, especially the hot & sour prawn soup. The prawn was so fresh, it reminded me a bit of Thai’s tom yam goong. The Gulai Kambing Banda Aceh combined with roti canai was also good, although the taste was a bit too mild for my palate.
The creation of Chef William Wongso consisted of Tiram Goreng Tepung Pacri Melayu (fried oysters with melayu pineapple pacri/chutney), Ikan Tenggiri Masak Tauco Tangerang (braised king mackerel with tangerang tauco and coconut cream) and Oseng Jambal Pancing Cabe Hijau (stir fried salted fish with green chili, green tomato and pete ). My favorite was the Oseng Jambal Pancing Cabe Hijau which was so good that I was tempted to mix this with the provided white rice and eat with my hands. I love the saltiness and slightly caramelized fried fish combined with pete and chili. The Ikan Tenggiri Masak Tauco Tangerang was also good, with a milder tauco (fermented soy bean) taste than the tauco we usually had.
The main course came accompanied by several dishes such as Kering Ubi Ungu (caramelized violet sweet potato), Roti Canai (stretched pastry cooked in butter until crispy and flaky), Nasi Kuning (jasmine rice cooked in coconut milk and turmeric) and Nasi Putih (white rice).
The wine pairing suggestion for the main course are deetlef chenin blanc 2011, breekdekloof south africa and marques de riscal 1860 2008, castilla y leon, spain
SAMPLE PLATE OF INDONESIAN DESSERT
At this point, I was already very full. But I couldn’t help myself not to sample the desserts. so we got a platter of Bahai Me Bolu (sugar syrup poached duck egg with durian), Kalpon / Klepon (black sticky rice ball with liquid palm sugar in the centre) and Kue Deto (steamed coconut cake with jackfruit in pandan leaf) by Chef Will Meyrick. My favorite is the Bahai Me Bolu which is basically durian pancake. If I wasn’t already that full, I’d have asked for another platter *grin*
From Chef William Wongso came Kue Lumpur Kinca Duren (butternut pumpkin pan souffle with durian palm sugar sauce) and Carang Gesing Pisang Raja (steamed banana curd in banana leaf). I had high hopes on the carang gesing but quite disappointed to find the dish was a bit tasteless instead of savory. The Kue Lumpur Kinca Duren on the other hand was good. I think since I love durian dishes, everything with durian will taste good for me 😛
Overall, I’m really overwhelmed with 4 appetizers, 1 soup, 7 main courses, 4 side dishes and 5 desserts. Never in my life have I tried so many delicious Indonesian dishes, in a very good presentation too. I understand that the variety of Indonesian dishes was much more than this, I do hope this kind of event can introduce more Indonesian dishes to the outside world.