About a week ago, I had the pleasure to dine together with fellow bloggers at Buzz Alila Jakarta. The hotel’s restaurant has just recently headed by a new Executive Chef named Alex Ensor, a Kiwi (New Zealander, -red) chef who brings with him over 20 years of experience and lots of achievements along! One of which is that he was elected as one of the top 50 Australian Chefs during his time with Salon Blanc Restaurant in Sydney and has worked as Executive Chef alongside Master Chef Guillaume Brahimi at the Opera House, where he received his first Hat award and Australian Gourmet Pages ‘Dish of the month’ feature.
In Indonesia, Alex had previously headed SHY Rooftop Kemang, Buddha Bar, and Potato Head Garage. Now at Buzz Alila, Alex introduces the “Paddock to Plate” concept where they worked with local farmers as the main source of their ingredients. Not only to keep the local economy going and growing, but he also believes in FRESHNESS as one of the keys in serving wonderful, delicious meals. If one can get the same fish inside the country, why bother importing (which will take quite some travel time and therefore the freshness reduces)? Of course some ingredients could not be find here, but the main idea is to use as much as local ingredients as possible. One other thing that Alex believes, aside from freshness, is simplicity. Food must be simple and fresh. Simply delicious. A nice presentation is an added value, there’s no denying in that, but people have to remember that taste is far more important. There’s no point of having over the top garnishing if the food tastes bad. So he makes sure it is GOOD and FRESH. Besides, I think my eyes did not fool me, the food did look pretty to me still, and tasted equally wonderful.
So… What did I have?
First off we had this appetizer… It is called Ponzu Compressed Watermelon Carpaccio and was so refreshing!
I am actually not very fond of fruit and usually take it when it have turned into juice. I never ate watermelon before because I don’t like it… BUT, if Alex Ensor was my father I would ask him to create such thing everyday so I can bear with it, hahaha… I think it was because it was carefully sliced into such a thin shape and the lemon sorbet gave such a refreshing, “kicking,” mix into it that I was able to enjoy it. Eating the caramel was an experience too, a sweet touch to the sourness. Love this one, a really great “opening” for the upcoming meals 😀
Okay, next up we had this Inhouse Lemongrass Cured Salmon with Cucumber Jelly, Cucumber Pearls, Brioche Croutona, Cream Fraiche which was MY ULTIMATE FAVORITE! It had just the right amount of saltiness and the lemongrass made it PERFECT. I was told they used Norwegian Salmon for this one and man… ain’t it king. Definitely a must try if you eat here! ❤
Next on the menu was Seared Scallops with Yellow Curried Cauliflower Espurna and Cauliflower Florets. The half grilled scallops were perfect and better enjoyed while it’s hot! Meaning: don’t spend too much time taking photos of it like I did or it will get cold, hahaha…
The last big meal before dessert, Oven Roasted Lamb Rack 2 Ways with Black Garlic Puree, Peas, Speng Onion, and Salsa Verde. Cookin’ the meat in two ways really made it tender and juicy!
And nooow the dessert which I love… Even if it has been a week since the dinner, I still remember how good this Lemon Curd tasted! I love the perfect blend of the sweet and sour, the lemon thyme crumble was really kickin’ and the yoghurt foam balanced it all out… at least that’s what my tongue remember 😉 WANT MORE!
All in all it was a really lovely dining experience and I’m glad I got to meet the chef and learned new things, you know sometimes even food could lead you to new knowledge! It was really nice to know how an Executive Chef and its team manage a restaurant, the thoughts behind the meals, the ups and downs of having jobs in culinary world, the exciting experiences, and of course, further about food. 😀 Thank you Buzz Restaurant, thank you Alila Jakarta, and thank you Chef Alex Ensor for having me!