Clas­sic Kun­stkring

Maxx-M - - FOOD REVIEW - Text by Umesh Bhagchan­dani | Pho­tos cour­tesy of Kun­stkring Paleis Kun­stkring Paleis Jl. Teuku Umar No. 1 Men­teng Jakarta - In­done­sia Phone. +62 21 390 0899 www.tuguho­tels.com

You can’t miss the colo­nial-style Kun­stkring Paleis, lo­cated on Jl. Teuku Umar in Men­teng, Cen­tral Jakarta. The his­tor­i­cal build­ing, which cel­e­brated its 100th an­niver­sary last year, was formerly the Fine Arts Cir­cle dur­ing the Dutch colo­nial pe­riod in the 1900s, show­cas­ing mas­ter­pieces from artists such as Van Gogh and Pi­casso. That colo­nial-style artistry and lux­ury is still very much alive in the ar­chi­tec­ture and de­sign of Kun­stkring Paleis. Tugu Group (the team be­hind Lara Djong­grang, Da­pur Babah and Shang­hai Blue) took over the build­ing and trans­formed it into a stylish restau­rant, lounge and café. There is also an art ex­hi­bi­tion space on the sec­ond floor, as well as pri­vate din­ing rooms. Guests are greeted by the Dipone­goro Room’s ex­otic en­trance of dark wood pan­elling and Ja­vanese par­ti­tions. This is the main din­ing area, dec­o­rated with red and white drapes, wood floor­ing and stun­ning golden chan­de­liers. A large paint­ing de­pict­ing the cap­ture of Prince Dipone­goro domi­nates the back wall. As you take your seat, you will hear old jazz songs play­ing in the back­ground. Over­all, the style and at­mos­phere strikes a stun­ning bal­ance be­tween the Old and New Worlds.

Kun­stkring Paleis of­fers a menu that mixes au­then­tic In­done­sian fare and Western dishes. Start with the de­lec­ta­ble Chicken Curry Puff ap­pe­tizer served in white dessert spoons. If you are din­ing in a large group, opt for the clas­sic Betawi Grand Ri­jsttafel (roughly trans­lated as “rice ta­ble”), which fea­tures 13 dif­fer­ent tra­di­tional dishes car­ried out by wait­ers in piku­lan-piku­lan Betawi style, re­cre­at­ing the tra­di­tional Dutch colo­nial way of fet­ing guests. The Grand Ri­jsttafel in­cludes kare­dok Betawi (un­cooked veg­eta­bles served with peanut dress­ing), be­bek opor (roasted ten­der duck in spicy co­conut curry) and the sweet and spicy se­mur li­dah sapi Betawi (stewed ox tongue flavoured with cloves, nut­meg and sweet soy sauce). An­other crowd-pleaser is the roasted lob­ster in tomato co­gnac sauce served with saf­fron pi­laf. It is heavy and worth it! A tan­ta­liz­ing mix of Dutch and In­done­sian sweets makes it dif­fi­cult to de­cide on just one dessert at Kun­stkring Paleis. The new­est ad­di­tion to the menu is the tra­di­tional Dutch ap­pel-flap­pen, a crispy ap­ple pan­cake with cin­na­mon and vanilla ice cream on the side. There is also the pisang goreng radja, which is crispy ba­nana frit­ters with palm sugar and young co­conut, an­other rea­son to love In­done­sian sweet treats. With its rich his­tory, royal am­bi­ence and ex­ten­sive menu, Kun­stkring Paleis is the venue to ex­plore In­done­sian tastes and tra­di­tions. Just ask Vic­to­ria Beck­ham and Ukraine’s Pres­i­dent Petro Poroshenko, who dined here dur­ing their vis­its last year.

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