Jakarta Sunday Chill-out: Trying out William’s Casual Dining in SCBD

Given last Saturday’s fainting situation, I decided to have a steady Sunday – for real. Arshad and I decided to road-test a new restaurant in SCBD: William’s Casual Dining.

I discovered William’s Casual Dining through an Instragram ad (what do you know, IG ads actually work!). I figured, hey, the food looks interesting and they’re website is beautifully done. No harm in trying something new to celebrate my 2nd year anniversary in Jakartown.

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Arshad and I at William’s for Sunday lunch

Situated at the heart of Jakarta’s Central Business District (SCBD), William’s is a laidback restaurant serving Western and Asian cuisines.

The ambience was true to their claim: casual dining. The seats were comfortable and there were booths for couples who wanted to go on dates and long tables for friends and family.

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William’s truffle fries paired with chardonnay

I was famished so we ordered glasses of wine first. Chardonnay for me and Pinot Noir for the mister. For Rp110k per glass, I’m not complaining! Their wine selection, although limited, is not bad either.

I paired my chardonnay with the usual starters of truffle fries. I just love the aroma of truffle oil combined with my fries, although I try to eat this sparingly aka special occasions only, since I veer away from anything deep-fried. At Rp45k, it’s reasonably priced without sacrificing the truffle oil punch.

The watermelon salad we chose to share was interesting. It was a blend of cured watermelon, vanilla mascarpone, balsamic caviar, cashew crumbs, dill and lemon fluid.

The watermelon was fresh and the vanilla mascarpone had a hint of sweetness that wasn’t overpowering. Overall, the salad was refreshing and light. It’s something I wouldn’t mind ordering again.

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Watermelon salad from William’s Casual Dining: refreshing and uniquely interesting

For our mains, I decided to go for the roast baked barramundi with smoked mash potato, cauliflower, baby carrots, chilli oil and potato glass. Since it’s a pescatarian dish, I paired it with another glass of chardonnay.

The fish was fresh and nicely cooked, with the vegetables on the side crunchy when you take a bite of them. The mashed potato had an interesting consistency and viscosity to it, which I actually liked.

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Roast baked barramundi with smoked mash potato, cauliflower, baby carrots, chilli oil and potato glass

Arshad, on the other hand, ordered the creamy mushroom spaghetti, which, according to its menu, is “as simple as its title,” and I couldn’t agree more. It was that: a pleasant, comfort pasta of cream and mushroom, with a very light hint of sweetness to it.

Arshad felt like it could still be creamier, as that is his preference for creamy pasta. I prefer it light this way and I wouldn’t want it any other way. I can order this for myself next time!
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Overall, the food was both good and interesting. In terms of price points, I think William’s Casual Dining is reasonable, considering the freshness and the quality of the ingredients.

In terms of areas of improvement, the waiting time for the food tops the chart for me. The restaurant was almost packed for Sunday lunch, I don’t think the kitchen was ready for the deluge of orders. My truffle fries took more than 15 minutes before it came out (yes, I timed it). The main course took around half an hour.

Under normal circumstances, I would have bitched about it, but since I was trying to be zen that day, I patiently waited.  In fact, we wanted to try the Dragon’s Nest for dessert but we were told it’s going to take another 15 minutes or so for it, so we decided to just head out to another dessert place.

The wait staff could also be trained more, since they did not immediately give us out our plates and utensils. The salad came out without the plates and utensils and we were staring at it for quite a while, before the staff took the hint.

It’s a relatively new restaurant so admittedly, I’m more forgiving. The food made up for the delays but I do hope they improve the time spent waiting and they train their staff to be more attentive to the customers.

Plus, fine, they have good online presence and they have good Instagram ads, if I may say. I’m a sucker for beautifully orchestrated web sites and deliberate efforts on social media, so hats off to William’s on this.

Will I come back? Sure – just to give it another shot, perhaps on a less busy time or day. I’m keen to try their octopus crackers, arancini and king prawn aglio olio. Hopefully, I can also get my hands on the Dragon’s Nest already!

Here are the contact details of William’s:

Phone: +621 21889061 ext: 858

Reservation table recommended

Opening hours: 10am – 11pm; daily

Address: Jl. Tulodong Atas No. 28, SCBD , Jakarta

Budget: Rp455,000 for 2 people (average)
VAT & service charges extra
Cash and Cards accepted
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Fujin Teppanyaki and Japanese Whisky in Senopati: number 1 on my list of restos in Jakarta

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The Arshads at Fujin : I love sitting at the bar while eating, drinking and watching bartenders concoct my favorite whisky-based cocktails

One of my most favorite things to do in Jakartown is to hunt for good restaurants in the city. Luckily, there is no shortage of them.

Most of my friends would rather meet me in Bali because, well, it’s the most popular place in Indonesia. I always ask them to come and visit Jakarta and I will be more than glad to host them. However, Bali always wins.

Jakarta seems to be an acquired taste, what with the traffic and its inevitable comparison to Bali, at least for foreigners. For those who discover the city, they’d soon happily find out that apart from art and culture, Jakarta boasts of a plenitude of restaurants specializing in different kinds of cuisine.

One time, when Arshad and I were chatting over lunch, we were debating about our ranking of our favorite restaurants here in Jakarta. We came to a similar conclusion when it comes to our number one: Fujin Teppanyaki and Japanese Whisky in Senopati.

Why Fujin? For everything that I want in a restaurant-bar, Fujin checks out:

  1.  Great alcohol – Japanese whisky! 
  2.  Good food
  3. Awesome customer service 
  4. Bar area where I can comfortably eat and drink 
  5. Cozy ambience

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Ume crush (left) and Black Nikka (right) with edamame with black truffle oil

We’ve been to Fujin so many times that we’ve also managed to try a lot of the food on the menu.

While waiting for our main course, I normally like to start with edamame with black truffle oil and some crunchy fried garlic on top. I pair it with Ume Crush, my go-to high ball cocktail: whisky based with choya classic, ume fruit, toppped with ginger ale. I eat the ume fruit after downing the glass! 😀

Arshad, on the other hand, favors the Horse Neck more: whisky with fresh lemon juice topped with ginger ale. Honestly, I don’t mind having both. They’re refreshing and light.

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Horse Neck and Ume Crush: our favorite high ball from Fujin

Apparently, high ball was created after the end of World War II during the economic recovery of Japan. Whisky based with soda water is bang for the buck if you want to save money and if you want your whisky to go a long way. Eventually, high ball became an art from to the Japanese. It’s a refreshing drink best paired with appetizers as the subtle alcohol and light flavor open up the palate before the main course.

The average high ball in Fujin is priced around Rp90k, with Rp130k as the most expensive. Not bad, if you ask me.

When we are with friends or we are up for some celebration, the lineup of Japanese whisky in Fujin is something to look forward to! Ever since I got introduced to whiskey, I did favor the Japanese ones and Fujin allowed me to sample several of them. I normally default to Yamazaki and Hibiki, but thanks to Fujin, I got to sample more variety and got introduced to Suntory whisky, Black Nikka and Nikka Coffee Grain, which are also now ensconced comfortably in our whisky library at home.

 

Okay, now I have to talk about the food. Although the creature of habit in me defaults to my usual favorites, I managed to try a lot in the menu, considering our frequency of visit.

For salad and appetizers, I recommend the Japanese mushroom salad (Rp65k) with grilled enoki, shimeji and shiitake mushrooms served on mixed salad and vegetable dressing paired with salmon carpaccio (Rp90k), which are fresh salmon slices with onions and garlic soy dressing. Salmon carpaccio is part of the Japanese tapas menu and there’s a long list of them that I admittedly have not tried. More reasons to visit again!

In another one of our high ball sessions, we also ordered the mentaiko potato cheese pizza (Rp75k for small, Rp150k for large), again part of the tapas menu. It’s a bed of savory crepes topped with shrimp, mentaiko, potato and melted mozzarella cheese. It was okay but I wasn’t a big fan of the potatoes – they were too big and chunky for my liking – but this is a matter of preference.

The age tofu mentaiko salad (Rp65k) is also a good choice, which I alternate with the Japanese mushroom salad. With fried tofu and seaweed, it has the same base of mixed salad with mentaiko dressing.

My comfort food in Fujin is the seafood okonomiyaki : Japanese savory pancake with seafood, topped with a drizzle of mayonnaise and bonito flakes. At Rp95k, this one alone with my edamame appetizer fills me up already.

Arshad has also come up with his favorite lunch-dinner combination: medium rare Meltique Saikoro steak (Rp260k) which are beef cube steak with assorted vegetables and mushrooms on top flavored with Fujin’s signature sauce and Teppanyaki garlic rice (Rp35k for small, Rp60k for large), which is a simple Teppan-fried rice with garlic chips and butter sho-yu.

Although I don’t eat a lot of rice, the Teppan-fried rice is so garlicky and flavorful that I actually steal some of it from Arshad, paired with my mushrooms and vegetables.

The salmon teriyaki with mushrooms (Rp140k) and creamy mentaiko angel hair pasta with foie gras (Rp195k) are also to-die-for, although I’ve stopped eating poultry a long time ago so I content myself with the angel hair pasta.

A few months ago, we got an invitation from Fujin to a Sunday brunch event, wherein they partnered with Common Ground coffee to offer a one-time brunch menu. Apart from the reliable goodness of Common Ground coffee, Fujin concocted several brunch cokctails and created a special brunch menu for the occasion.

Arshad ordered the fried chicken with waffles and I ordered breakfast toast with salmon and salad, both of which were absolutely amazing!

I definitely hope Fujin will host another one of its Sunday brunches as I do want to try more the food (and drinks!) on their brunch menu.

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As pathetic as it may sound, despite the long list of food that we tasted in Fujin, we’ve only managed to try one dessert: matcha creme brulee (Rp55k). Solid glazed sugar on top meets creamy green tea creme brulee inside when you crack it. So yes, definitely coming back for more.

Aside from the food and alcohol, what sets Fujin apart is the customer service. All the waiters and bartenders are friendly and accommodating. It’s been a habit of mine to sit on bar stools and eat at the bar because I love watching bartenders mix and prepare the drinks. The bartenders engage us with the usual banter (in Bahasa!) but at the same time, they’re very attentive with what the customers need: additional napkins, hand towels, chili powder, what have you.

Arshad and I actually concurred that it’s one of the main reasons why we keep on coming back: good, personalized customer service.

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The bartender at Fujin preparing my brunch cocktail. Check out our personalized reservation card on the right side!

Considering that Fujin is our number one restaurant, it definitely deserves a 5-star rating. It’s one of the places that we highly recommend to friends and visitors in Jakarta. At the same time, it’s where we bring our guests whenever they visit us in the city.

Fujin location and contact details:

Address: No., Jl. Gunawarman No.21, RT.4/RW.3, Selong, Kby. Baru, DKI Jakarta, Daerah Khusus Ibukota Jakarta 12110

 

On another level: Altitude at The Plaza Brunch

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One giddy, happy Bella at The Altitude buffet brunch

One glorious, fine Sunday morning, I posted my favorite view of Jakarta. I was also in one of my favorite brunch places that time at Altitude, The Plaza, where three powerhouse international chefs came together to offer a rare brunch buffet.

The buffet itself is a rare occasion worth celebrating, since this buffet triad happens only once or twice a year!

Arshad and I are both fans of Salt Grill by Luke Mangan. We celebrate most of our life milestones here: my birthday, our anniversary, promotions, etc. Last year, we even won gift certificates from The Altitude, so naturally, he is part of the mailing list.

When the email came in about the buffet brunch with the 3 restaurants combined, it was a hands down “Yes, we are definitely going!.” We decided to celebrate Arshad’s birthday, albeit a belated one, at The Altitude to feast on this rare and sought-after buffet.

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Celebrating Arshad’s birthday at The Altitude’s buffet brunch

At Rp500k net for the food, I say it’s definitely worth it, what with the quality and vast choices. Free-flowing sparkling wine, red wine, beer and cocktails can be had for an additional Rp490k. I don’t think it’s a surprise what we opted for!

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Sunday Super Brunch at Altitude, The Plaza

As usual, I started my feast with salad and cheese, both of which came from The Salt Grill. Like I said in my previous post on brunch buffets, I rate restaurants based on how good their salad bar and cheese selection are, being the pescatarian that I am. As expected, my favorite restaurant did not disappoint.

Aside from these, Salt Grill was in charge of the carvery, where Arshad feasted on steak Arshad with his plate of meat from Salt Grill_wmand lamb. He said it was good, but since I don’t eat meat, I will have to take his word for it.

Salt Grill is well known for its no-nonsense grilled meat and steak, where it’s the quality of the meat that matters and the sauces are meant to enhance the flavor, not overpower the meat. For the meatlovers, this is definitely a highly recommended restaurant. They also offer salmon and barramundi for those who prefer fish and the restaurant does not take vegetarians for granted, either. That’s why for my husband and I, we get the best of both worlds at Luke Mangan’s The Salt Grill.

After the salad and cheese, my next go-to station is the sashimi and rolls, and Enmaru’s Executive Chef Takashi Tomie made sure that the diners had a fresh selection. Arshad even witnessed how Chef Takashi sliced and served a gigantic yellow fin tuna. The sashimi selection was very fresh and the salmon sashimi melts in your mouth!

Not to be ignored are the freshly-made rolls, but since I’m cutting the carbs down, it was best for me to stick to the mouth-watering sashimi.

Gaia by Oro Ristorante, on the other hand, offered the freshest seafood buffet alongside pastas, risotto and cheese. I was pleasantly surprised that they had freshly made burrata on the buffet spread and I gladly paired it up with my truffle risotto prepared inside a gigantic grana padano wheel.

I only went back to the Gaia buffet for the burrata but when I caught a whiff of the decadent truffle oil, I had to do a double take and ask for it! What was I saying about rice and carbs again? Yep, ignore that. Totally.

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freshly made burrata and truffle risotto from Gaia by Oro Ristorante

For the seafood spread, the oysters were very fresh. We thought they were air flown from Australia but we were surprised that they came from the nearby islands of Pulau Seribu. At the same time, the octopus which was flavored with Italian herbs and spices was also something to be had.

For the sweet tooth, desserts are a aplenty. again, the Gaia spread was impressive, with all the pastries, cakes, different varieties of pana cotta and fresh fruits.

I’m not a dessert person, but the ice cream teppan from The Salt Grill was irresistible, so much so that I had two servings. Yep, you read that right. Two. I had fun watching how they made the ice cream teppan and they had the magic ingredient that I can NEVER say no to: honeycomb. Vanila ice cream + generous amounts of crushed honeycomb = BLISS for Bella. Honeycomb reminds me of my childhood and Violet Crumble, my favorite chocolate bar.

In summary, the Sunday Super Brunch was a great experience and this has now become my favorite Sunday brunch place here in Jakarta.

Three great restaurants, quality selection of wine and a spectacular view of Jakarta rolled into one make up a wonderful Sunday experience in my beloved second city. Will I go back for another round should they do this again? Definitely! Never mind the hours in the gym that I had to spend afterwards! Everything was all worth it!

Altitude will have another event on the 5th of May. Though it’s not a joint buffet, the restaurant triad promises a night of sumptuous dinner, alcohol and entertainment to celebrate their anniversary. Too bad I won’t be in Jakarta at this time, but if you want to go, see the contact details of Altitude The Plaza below.

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Altitude The Plaza’s Anniversary Dinner

Altitude The Plaza, 46th floor

Jl. M.H. Thamrin, Kavling 28 – 30
Jakarta 10350
Ph: (62-21) 2992 2448
Direct No.: 085939922799
Fax: (62-22) 2992 2447
E-mail: info@altitude.co.id
Follow them on :
Facebook : Altitude The Plaza
Instagram : @altitudetheplaza

 

The experience is definitely 5 stars for me, with a lot of repeats in the future!

PS: This is not a paid promotion from any of the restaurants. I’m a real, raving fan of the restaurant triad. =)

5-out-of-5