We’ve heard the term used (and abused) multiple times; First coined by the famed London pub ‘The Eagle’, gastro pub refers to pubs that takes the their ‘gastronomy’ aspect to the next level. And this next level, is what varies from one gastro pub to another.
In Jakarta, one of the newest (and probably the most accurate us of the word) gastropub would be The Dutch by The Union group, a company that’s behind countless other successful dining outlets in Jakarta. Opened last year, we have heard a lot of good buzz about this place, especially for its selection of beer and food, which focuses on dutch comfort dishes as well as their home cured and smoked meat. So we were more than excited to see what’s it all about.
Designed by the famed Indonesian architect Andra Matin, The Dutch’s interior is bold and simple in the same time. The bar greets and instantly entices you with its selection of beer on tap, 8 in total, The Dutch has the most variety of beer on tap in the city, both local, imports, and their signature cocktail Americano on tap.
Facing the bar is the kitchen ‘bar’ where guests can sit literally facing the kitchen and watch the head Chef Chris Moes, busies away. You are more than welcome to ask him questions too.
A Dutch native, Chef Chris Moes spent years of his career as sous-chef at De Kas, the critically acclaimed greenhouse restaurant in Amsterdam. That day, we asked the chef to pick the dishes that highlights The Dutch’s best.
Our meal starts with Ertweensoep A humble split pea soup, particularly popular during the winter during the winter. “Something like Bubur Ayam in Jakarta, you will see it sold on the streets in the Netherlands”. Chris Moes adds his prized rookworst, smoked pork sausage that’s popular among the dutch, usually eaten with mashed potatoes. Here in The Dutch, the soup was served with a warm pretzel roll (the best I’ve had!) and smoked butter, rustically served on a bone marrow cavity.
The highlights of his expertise in sausage making can be tried and tested in the Sausage platter that includes 4 types of Chef Chris’ home-cured sausages. There’s the previously mentioned Rookworst, Spanish style Chorizo, Chicken sausage – for those who prefers less smoky taste, and the lamb merguez, my personal favorite, who the chef explains introduced by the North African immigrants in Europe.
The saltiness and the richness of the sausages are to be contrasted with onion and cornichon pickles ( French pickles made from small gherkins pickled in vinegar) as well as mustard. The dutch is nothing pretentious, so you are also free to dip your cut of sausage to a bowl of saus sambal served with the sausage.
The chef also presented us what at first looked like a slice of grilled white fish, but turns out to be smoked pork belly served with honey mustard dressing, poached apple and picalilli, an English interpretation of the Indian relish, made of chopped pickled vegetables and spices, that you can buy by the grams in the restaurant’s deli corner.
Again, this dish relies heavily for you to blend together all elements of the dish for it to be enjoyable. Cut a piece of the pork, and cut a little bit of the apple and the picalilli, you will get a great blend of salty, sweet, sour and smokiness.
Chris also served Oma’s Meatballs served with Boeronkool, mashed potatoes mixed with Kale, topped with crispy fried onion rings and gravy reduction. “The dutch have been eating Kale for centuries, long before it was popular as ‘superfood’, and this is a very homey comfort for me that I want people to experience too. Hence the name.”
For the Netherland’s long history with Indonesia, there have been countless mutual exchange of culinary elements that have now made it deep into each other’s culinary repertoire too. The Indonesian style of nasi rames, is highly popular in the Netherlands as rijstaffel, and you get to try the dutch’s interpretation of it here in the dutch. On the other hand,you will see some food that will make any Indonesian warm with nostalgia such as the bitterballen, or the poffertjes.
Chef Chris’ poffertjes uses a yeast-leavened batter that lends the little puffy balls a slight yeasty flavor, totally different than what we’re probably used to enjoying sidestreet stalls in Puncak. Traditionally enjoyed with powdered sugar and butter, you can also opt for the decked out version with nutella & banana or even the Martabak kind; with chocolate, cheese, and peanuts.
My favorite of the desserts section though, would be the Speculaas toast; where a slice spiced bread is toasted and topped with cinnamon ice cream, crumble and ‘boerenjongens (rum raisins), grilled apple, and candied orange.
After the meal, if you still can’t get enough of the rookworst, the chorizo, the picalilly, or even Chef Chris’ other homemade classics such as smoked salmon, pulled pork, or pork & chicken terrine, you can get it vacuum-packed to go from their ‘Butcher Shop’ corner.
To have a taste of the Dutch’s delicacies, cold beer and other drinks, head down to:
The Dutch Jakarta
18 Parc Place Tower E GF. SCBD, Jl. Jend. Sudirman Kav. 52 – 53, South Jakarta
Phone: (021) 515 2828
Mon-Thu, Sun: 11AM–1AM
Friday – Sat: 11AM–2AM