Bistecca in the Sudirman Central Business District is billed by the Union Group as an Italian-American “chophouse with pedigree”, as Handayani Tanuwijaya discovered
Chianina is a name to which gourmets need little or no introduction. It’s the largest and one of the world’s oldest cattle breeds, having been raised in the Italian regions of Tuscany, Umbria and Lazio for more than 2,000 years. The tallest and heaviest breed of cattle, the famous bistecca alla Fiorentina is produced from its meat.
Priced at Rp 2.2 million per sharing plate, bistecca alla Fiorentina is the signature dish of Bistecca, a new Italian-American style steakhouse and martini bar in the Sudirman Central Business District. The beef is served simply on a large silver plate without any side dishes or sauces - just a half-slice of lemon.
The 79-seater restaurant, which pays “homage to great New York steakhouses of the late 19th and mid-20th century as well as classic ristoranti of Florence” is the latest venture of the Union Group. Its warm gracious and knowledgeable chef is Luca Pezzera, formerly of Scusa at InterContinental MidPlaza Jakarta Hotel, and Bonta and District 10 in Singapore.
“We are the only restaurant in Jakarta serving Chianina,” says Chef Pezzera. “The meat is delivered in chilled condition and has never been frozen. It is dry-aged in a special chiller for 45 days before being flame-grilled over charcoal. The result is a huge slab of charred, succulent meat that requires only a dash of salt or lemon zest and a good bottle of Barolo. Although a side of hand-cut fries and creamy Parmesan spinach certainly doesn’t hurt.”
Bistecca offers other premium steak cuts, from grain-fed Black Angus to Wagyu Marble Score 6, from Australia and the United States. The rest of the menu includes a range of classic Italian-American appetisers, such as jumbo crab cake (Rp 190,000) and Caesar salad served with 24-month-old Parmesan cheese (Rp 110,000). The latter is served “live” at the table. The waiter comes with a large wheel of the cheese and mixes romaine lettuce and garlic croutons inside it. The salad is topped with crispy anchovies. Chef Pezzera’s pastas include goose liver ravioli (Rp 240,000) and black ink tagliolini with jumbo crab meat (Rp 220,000).
Among the dessert choices is baked Alaska (Rp 120,000), “a great throwback to the glorious era of table-side flambés, and a sure way to impress dinner guests”. There is also tiramisu and a selection of renowned American desserts, such as eskimo bar (Rp 90,000), Kentucky Bourbon crème brulee and Granny Smith crumble.
Stirred, not shaken, by Union Group’s Head Mixologist, Kiki Moka, Bistecca’s classic dry martini (Rp 125,000) comes in a chilled glass filled to the rim, together with a small cocktail shaker placed on ice containing the remainder of the martini.
Also on the cocktail list are Bistecca chocolate martini (Rp 125,000), and The Italian Job. The latter combines house-aged grappa, Campari, Aperol, Mancino Secco and a splash of mescal. The wine list, meanwhile, builds on the selection of Italian favourites, such as 2010 Pieve Santa Restituta Brunello di Montalcino, to be found at Union Group’s Caffe Milano at Grand Indonesia.
Union Group describes its concept for Bistecca as “a chophouse with pedigree”. The restaurant’s striking design, by Wendy Djuhara of Djuhara + Djuhara, “pays tribute to the clean and simple lines of Italian post-war architecture. The dining room is adorned with quintessential Italian elements such as classic arched ceilings”.
The restaurant has a smart-casual ambience. The space is filled with vintage-design furniture, such as chandeliers, cabinets, a piano, paintings and carpets. The lighting is kept low for a sense of intimacy and elegance. In the daytime, the tables are adorned with fresh red roses, while later on they feature the warmth of white candles. The “predominant use of wood and bookshelves lining one wall, together with the white-shirted and suited wait staff, definitely predate any hipster restaurant-design trends”.
Lot 18 Parc Place, 18 Parc Place Tower C, Jl. Jend. Sudirman Kav. 52-53, Jakarta 12190
Tel: (62-21) 515 1660
Open from 11 am to 1 am
Published in Prestige October 2016