Best 5 restaurants: Jakarta

Home to nine million people, the capital of Indonesia is congested and chaotic. For some, this is where Jakarta’s charm lies - discovering the hidden gems amidst the urban sprawl.

But if you want to experience the city without the hassle, we’ve picked out five of the best restaurants locals and tourists alike flock to. In fact, with more new eateries popping up all over Jakarta, ranging from trendy bistros to fine-dining restaurants, you’ll be spoilt for choice.

Seribu Rasa
Address: Jl. Haji Agus Salim 128, Menteng, Jakarta Pusat
How to get there: A few minutes’ drive from the city centre, near the Australian Associated Press building
Opening hours: Open Monday to Friday from 11am to 3pm, 6pm to 10pm Saturday to Sunday 11am to 10pm
Contact: +6221 392 8892 or www.seriburasa.com

This restaurant’s name literally translates into “one thousand flavours” - a fitting term since its cuisine is a delectable mix of Indonesian and South East Asian flavours. Local dishes and seafood are fused with Thai and Chinese elements to create a winning combination that keep customers coming back for more.

The decor may be fuss-free, but the food is quite the opposite. Sample their fried pomfret with mango sauce (38,000 rupiah per 100 grams), the softshell crab with ebi floss (80,000 rupiah) and the red curry lamb mataram (93,000 rupiah). For durian-lovers, the ketan durian malaka is a must-have.

Union
Address: Plaza Senayan Courtyard, Ground Floor, Jl. Asia Afrika no.8, Pondok Indah Mall Street Gallery, Ground Floor. Jakarta, Indonesia 10270
How to get there: A few minutes’ drive from Jakarta International Airport (Soekarno - Hatta)
Opening hours: Open daily from 11am to 2am
Contact: +6221 5790 5861-62; +6221 2952 9781-82 or www.unionjkt.com

The brainchild of the founders of Loewy, a popular bar and restaurant in the city, Union is a brasserie, bakery and bar that became the next trendy destination for casual diners and drinkers when it opened in June 2011. The decor recalls early 20th-century American bistros, with head chef and co-owner Adhika Maxi serving classic Western and Asian dishes with a contemporary twist in the brasserie.
 
Dishes include pork crackling and bacon lardons spaghetti with alba truffle cream (80,000 rupiah) and pan seared barramundi with roast scallops and XO vinaigrette (150,000 rupiah).

The bakery is helmed by head pastry chef Karen Carlotta and boasts a variety of freshly baked breads and pastries, with a rotating selection of cakes, pies and tarts. Don’t miss the grand marnier creme brulee with passion fruit sorbet and the tia maria tiramisu, both at 50,000 rupiah.

Bandar Djakarta Seafood Restaurant
Address: Bandar Djakarta Ancol, Pintu Timur Impian, East Gate of Jaya Ancol, Jakarta Utara
How to get there: About 30 minutes drive from the city centre; follow the expressway towards Kelapa Gading and exit at Ancol
Opening hours: Opens from Monday to Friday, 11am to 11.30pm Saturday to Sunday, 10am to 12am
Contact: www.bandar-djakarta.com/ancol

Styled like a seafood market cum restaurant, Bandar Djakarta is one of the most popular seafood restaurants in town. It’s all about empowering customers with choice - you select the food at the “market” area, before giving it to the chefs to cook according to your preferred preparation methods and sauce.

Well-known dishes are the black pepper crab, grilled octopus and clams with black bean sauce. Also try the ikan gindara bakar saus bandar (grilled gindara fish with bandar sauce), which is sliced, grilled and mixed with a special sauce. Ala carte is priced at 15,000 (S$2) rupiah to 1,188,000 rupiah per kg, while the buffet pricing ranges from 65,000 rupiah to 118,000 rupiah. There are four outlets; its first and largest branch is in Ancol Dreamland Park site in North Jakarta, boasting a seating capacity larger than 1,000.

Ikan Bakar Cianjur
Address: Jalan Cipete Raya 35, Jakarta, Indonesia
How to get there: About a 30 minute drive from the city centre via Jalan Jenderal Sudirman
Opening hours: Open daily from 10am to 10pm
Contact: +62 21 7590 0222 or www.ibcgroup.co.id

If you like fresh food with the right balance of sweet and savoury, then Ikan Bakar Cianjur is the place for you. This Sudanese restaurant chain originated from the small town of Cianjur in West Java, but has now expanded to 20 branches around the country. The highest quality seafood, meat and vegetables combined with minimal cooking makes the flavours pop.

Their specialities include the spicy carp's fish soup and rujak cingur, a vibrant fruit and vegetable salad served with noodles and shrimp paste. A deceptively simple dish, the sayur kangkung (water convulvulus or kong xin cai) is expertly cooked with the right amount of crispiness, while the nila gurame asem manis is tasty but not too sweet. Prices range from 45,000 to 70,000 rupiah for a main course, and 10,000 to 20,000 rupiah for a side dish.

Orient8
Address: Hotel Mulia Senayan, Jl Asia Afrika, Senayan, Jakarta, Indonesia 10270
How to get there: A five minute drive from Plaza Senayan; located across Gelora Bung Karno Stadium
Opening hours: Open daily from 12pm to 3pm, 6pm to 11pm
Contact: +62 21 5753278 or www.theorient8.com

Situated in the luxurious Hotel Mulia, Orient8 features Pan-Asian and French fare served up in an elegant, French colonial-inspired setting. Its four to eight course French degustation set menus are seasonally changed, depending on the availability of imported French ingredients, while the Asian set menus are available in eight and ten courses.

If you’re feeling adventurous, go for the sea urchin fantasy with “aquitane” caviar, or the live hand crab salad with granny smith apple gelee. Meat-lovers will enjoy the sumptuous le boeuf wellington - prime black angus beef wellington layered with foie gras, truffle and baby spinach. In a nod to its Thai, Vietnamese and Singaporean influences, the restaurant also offers the mulia pho - signature vietnamese rice noodle soup and thai tom yam soup.