Only three days ago, in another land, the gal was privileged to sample one of the most imaginative dinners that the luxury hotel world has to offer. And now, here in the Indonesian capital, Fairmont Jakarta creates another all-time memory. Look at the image. It shows, from left to right, fresh water prawns with pork crackling, sambal fizz and kaffir lime; pork belly with forbidden rice and grain mustard icecream – and vegetable millefeuille with flattened rye puff pastry, vegetable cream and matcha green tea. The hand at the back, by the way, is a china shape holding another delight, as amuse. Notice how the main dishes are presented, including using cleaned river stones instead of a plate.
This was the first presentation of what was going to be a ten-dish tapas tasting menu devised by Andrew Zarzoza, chef of the hotel and well known not only for his amazing culinary creativity but also for being son of legendary hotelier Amadeo Zarzoza. This menu, by the way, is served at the appropriately-named View, inside-outside on the 22nd floor of the 32-floor building that houses the 380-room, nine month old hotel, and also 108 long-term letting apartments, and had it been daylight we would have been able to look down at the adjacent Robert Moore Jr-designed Senayan Golf Club, a great asset as hotel guests can play. As it was, we – the hotel’s Catalan GM Carlos Monterde and I – looked out at the twinkling lights of central Jakarta.
And we proceeded, through all ten plates. There was a boiled egg broken, in front of us, into a dish of sunchoke, puffed grains, mushroom and cassava. One of my favourites was the foie gras creation, with banana taco, but I also enjoyed table tennis ball-sized balls, green (filled with chicken liver parfait) which we put inside black balls, namely truffled brioche. It was not only maximum taste, throughout, but oodles of fun, which happened continually during my stay. In the main the Hirsch Bedner-designed hotel features lots of dark wood but the day-time only Peacock Lounge is a whimsical confection of palest pastels, white wicker chairs and a ceiling high arrangement of tea tins. There are also several leased-out restaurants, offering Chinese, Indonesian new-look, and Japanese food, and a jazz hang-out, and if you must have more, head down via shiny marble subterranean walkways to the mall, which has dozens of little restaurants plus a Harrods-like food hall, and Sogo and Marks & Spencer department stores.
All this has been planned and constructed, beautifully, by Kajima, who with Japanese thoroughness have also added residential blocks, with gyms and pools, and office blocks filled with the likes of Google. All buildings are joined by those underground walkways, which is really good for all concerned. I had two fabulous breakfasts in this luxury hotel, one in the 21st floor Fairmont Gold club lounge – more great views! – and one in the all-day Spectrum, which despite being on the second floor seems always to be busy with locals. After all this eating, not surprisingly, I had to rush back up to the fourth floor Technogym, which was also where I headed when I arrived, at midnight, and, guess what, there was still an attendant on duty (does someone stay all night as the gym is 24/7, though the lovely outdoor pool on the terrace next to it only opens at six?).