by Diana Tri Wulandari
If you haven’t heard of BAM!, I am sure you will soon enough hear a lot about this new combo of a tapas slash sake bar. Affiliated with its Singapore counterparts under the same name, BAM! Is a brainchild of Pepe Moncayo, de former chef de cuisine of Santi, a Spanish restaurant of the late Michelin-starred Santi Santamaria whose dramatically tragic end deserved its own movie.
Here in Jakarta, BAM! shares space with Senju Omakase & Sake Bar, which has some items the menu but leaves it up to the guests to order their favorite sushi or robatayaki menu, of course paired with the restaurant’s wide selection of Sakes.
Although that day, after a lot of buzz and words about BAM!’s tapas menu, I came with a high anticipation of the restaurant’s Spanish-inspired side of things. After greeting me and briefly explaining today’s dishes Chef Arturo Hernandez hurried back to the open kitchen to prepare some of his signature dishes. As I waited, I studied the restaurant’s menu, under the trendy origami inspired lamp fittings—and I noticed that the dishes bear no name; BAM! shows its focus to its quality of food by only listing the highlighted ingredients of its dishes.
Andrew Baker, the restaurant’s director stated that that the menu is changed every three weeks or so, and is highly determined by what’s in season and freshest that day, with the few exception of some signature mainstays.
For the first menu, I was served with angel hair pasta with octopus, bamboo shoots, and freshly chopped chili. The octopus and the bamboo shoots lend a refreshing twist to this dish, and the sliced almond gave a pleasant texture; perfect for those looking for a simple lunch menu with a subtle tapas influence.
Chef Arturo then upped the ante by presenting one of BAM!’s signature, the characteristically sweet and succulent Japanese squid stuffed with Singaporean otak served with squid ink puree and flavorful rostit sauce which somehow able to beautifully blends the visually exotic dish into a crowd’s favourite.
I was then presented by one of the most unique way of presenting iceberg lettuce, grilled and then drizzled with vinaigrette and topped with anchovy crumble, pickled shallots and a creamy ricotta cheese. A surprisingly congenial mix of sweet, saline, tangy and milky taste brought together on a humble head of lettuce. Another heart smart choice would be the restaurant’s creative rendition of the vegetable stew, with seasonal mix of carrots, bokchoy, asparagus and other fresh off the market picks, mixed with bacon pieces and laid with porcini-infused foam and delicately garnished with fresh ‘micro greens‘ like dill and marigold leaves.
Still indicating BAM!’s knack in incorporating fresh vegetables in to the plates, I was pleasantly surprised by their version of Paella Butifara which came with a layer of fresh mizuna leaves. Under it, revealed paella rice mixed with cuts of Butifara sausage, shitake and enoki mushrooms, topped with onion slices and paper thin fried garlic, retaining its sweetness yet with a very mellow kick of garlic. To serve, chef Arturo gave me a small plate of Jeruk Limau (nasnaran mandarin), and chopped chili padi; a very common condiment in Asia, especially Indonesia, that uniquely balanced the rich Spanish paella.
That day the privilege was also mine, as I was given a sample of the restaurant’s 2 newest dishes; the succulent oyster tempura with chili padi, caviar with sweet & tangy citrus salsa; and the superstar of the show, the naturally reddish in color Spanish prawn that had been lightly blow-torched on the surface, sitting on a bed of Singapore chili crab inspired chili sauce, served with a fluffy homemade mantau. Don’t be surprised when the waiter would take over the dish, your spoon and fork, and squeeze out the juice out of the shrimp’s soft-shell head. That’s the most crucial part of enjoying the dish, and taking the best out of the Spanish prawn that is not just sweet and succulent, but tastes incredibly sea water fresh.
To complete the BAM! experience, Chef Arturo prepared for me homemade banana ice cream served with caramelized banana, bitter-saline hazelnut crumble, passion fruit, topped with rhum-infused creme anglaise. For those that only accept chocolate as the true form of dessert, I strongly suggest the decadent Manjari chocolate ganache rectangles. served with homemade Tonka bean ice cream, dotted with pear puree and Yuzu foam. How’s that for dessert!
After my hour long feast, I approached chef Arturo and talked about his food and his incredible skill in incorporating bold ingredients, merging different worlds, and gorgeously presenting it into a well-though of dish; flavorful yet palatable, light, and without being over the top. BAM! definitely made me completely redefined my idea of Spanish Tapas, and showed me how open-ended can it be.
To sample all the gorgeous food I tried, BAM!’s omakase menu stars from Rp. 800,000++ for 5 course & 1 dessert, and Rp. 1,200,000++ for 6 courses and 2 desserts menu.
Plaza Indonesia, Lantai 3, L3#119
Jalan M.H. Thamrin No.28-30, Central Jakarta
Phone : +6221 2992 4222