For those in the know of the Jakarta (or Indonesia) food scene, the mention of Javanegra would evoke two things: coffee, and its almost word-of-mouth only gourmet atalier or simply put, ‘food workshop’ in an unassuming building in Kramat Pela, South Jakarta.
But aside from the coffee business, which started as and has continued to be a soci-entrepreneurship model that involves 3.200 families of coffee grower in all over Indonesia, everything surrounding the restaurant aspect of the Javanegra, has apparently been all a chain of serendipitous events, as told by Reni Alhadad, co-founder of Javanegra, whom I had a chance to chat with in her new restaurant, Ático by Javanegra.
Out of his passion for food and cooking, Andrea Peresthu, founder & chef, with his immense knowledge of food from his food-loving family and more than 10 years exploration of Europe’s restaurants, started throwing dinner parties in the unmarked three story building for fellow gourmands, and it didn’t take long until this dinner parties become an actual business, as people start lining at their door to make Andrea, who’s first and foremost an architect & lecturer in urban development, professionally cater for them.
But this was the story’s of Javanegra’s beginning. Since then, the team has grown a lot from their almost shy existence in the Kramat Pela building that the Javanegra folks still call home. In addition to the 7 to 9 courses degustation dinner (that costs upwards to IDR 2 million a pop), they later expanded to a more laid back a la carte setting with ‘212’, in the same location.
In September 2016, Barrels by Javanegra opened in Samasta Jimbaran, Bali’s hottest mixed-use development right now, and a few months after, Ático by Javanegra came as their third location, filling up a spacious space in the rooftop floor of the brand spanking new BTPN building in Mega Kuningan.
Both Barrels and Atico share the same culinary concept with 212. High quality Mediterranean-Spanish cuisine, great coffee, and very very amicable service. It might sound like a big cliche word, but the Javanegra family has grown together. Andrea and Reni are very keen to invest on their people. “Ask anyone that works here, they all have their own story. We enjoy giving hardworking people the chance to shine and develop hard-earned skills.” Reni passionately explained. Many of the workers, from the baristas even to the chefs who work alongside Andrea, came to their doors as skill-less and all were given chances to evolve.
Unlike the snug 212, Atico has a lot of space to show its characters. Wood surface is still liberally used, retaining the convivial vibe, but now juxtaposed with beautiful marble slabs on the table, arched ceiling that reminds one to a Spanish finca, and a beautiful open kitchen in the middle, that separates the main dining space with the more private dining enclave. The restaurant has a spacious outdoor area that’s perfect for block-party type gatherings. The large pane less window provide a sweeping view of the Mega Kuningan neighborhood.
Their menu are divided into main courses that include some home-aged meat, pork, chicken, a page dedicated to seafood items, some pasta, cold cuts, salad, and tapas. Their breakfast items are mostly of simple items such as the pastries, and baguette sandwiches.
I could not wait to try their main courses or the plato principal; but what’s a Spanish meal without a taste of their Tapas. To sample the basics; opt for the mix of tapas (135k) with mushroom marinated in oil and garlic (or ajillo style, in Spanish), grilled eggplant & zucchini, as well as sweet Italian paprika, served with home made baguette.
I also tried their Matambre (spanish style flank steak) a la plancha, or basically means, over a griddle; this home-aged tokusen wagyu meat served sans heavy seasoning, rubs or god forbid, sauce! but instead paired simply with salt and a side of fresh chimichurri that makes the clean taste and succulence of the meat as the prima donna.
Another must try is the capellini con erizos de mar y caviar (295k) or angel hair pasta served with hokkaido sea urchin (uni) and black caviar. A luxurious item for a casual table, but this creamy dish is a seriously decadent treat. If you’re not ready for uni kind of commitment, the spaghetti vongole (95k) gives a milder seafood encounter, with fresh clams, garlic, and freshly chopped parsley. A dish that’s remarkably simple but never fails.
I strongly recommend spending one sitting season with Javanegra’s home roasted and brewed coffee paired with their baked goods. Their croissants look amazing and would be perfect for a quick petit déjeuner, while their cakes, such as the bailey’s cheesecake and the walnut carrot cake which I tried for desserts, are also very pleasant.
I ended the meal with a cup of black Javanegra coffee and a good look of the overcast Jakarta sky. Contemplating and letting all the information settling in, about Javanegra’s essence and its gusto in elevating not only Indonesia’s culinary scene, but also with the people as well, I can’t help but feel incredibly inspired. Olé!
ÁTICO BY JAVANEGRA
Menara BTPN Lantai 4 Rooftop, Mega Kuningan, Jakarta
Phone: (021) 22958194