I dreamed about eating a huge plate of pizza last night. It tasted like Pizza Margherita with bold red tomato sauce as base, melting buffalo cheese (!) and some kind of olive leaves, but they tasted really fresh, sweet, and kinda like meat instead of leaves for some strange reasons. The dough was sticky, crispy, thin, chewy, gummy, and danced in my mouth like crazy Vegas showgirls. I woke up in my bed literally panting for relieve. That’s why I abandon my food schedule and show up in front of Pizza é Birra, one of the hippest pizzerias in the city.
É Birra has been sparking controversies among food writers, bloggers, and even basic food lovers. Some call it a ‘total disappointment’, both in presentation and taste (my sister is one of them). Others claim é Birra has given a tad of fresh air in boring Indonesia’s pizza world, which is dominated by two giant franchises; Pizza Hut and Dominos. I, for one, don’t give a single shit and keep on daydreaming about thin chewy dough and buffalo cheese.
Calling é Birra beautiful is an understatement, the restaurant is a pure definition of modern urban interior. Standing proudly in the middle of giant fish pond in form of white modern gazebo, é Birra craves for anyone’s attention. Half of the gazebo is used for Kitchennete, a spanish-western-asian fusion restaurant specializing in dessert bar (we are going to talk about that later). Even though relying on outdoor beauty, é Birra also provides indoor section with crazy flag decoration from all over the world, World Cup screening in flat screen TV, and warm romantic lights.
After flipping it’s menu book back and forth, I know why everyone thinks é Birra is a quirky kid in pizza world. It’s selection of pizzas is wonderfully long and detailed. From Indian-inspired pizza (with tandoori chicken) to classic American cheeseburger (with cheese coming out from giant meatballs). With strange names and colorful photos, I have a hard time choosing the one that looks the most similar with my dream pizza. I end up with one of its classics, Meet Me in Heaven Pizza. A bit ironic.
Had been disappointed by it’s pizza, my sister chooses to go with classic Roasted Chicken with potato wedges and fresh salad. I really have a good feeling about it’s starter menus, like buffalo wings whatsoever, but I try to focus on it’s pizza (okay, and chicken) this time.
Funny thing about é Birra is the toilet. You need to go out from the gazebo and enter a poorly lit dark room the staffs called ‘toilet’. To make things even more embarrassing, girls and boys have to share that dark room together. Remember, we are in Indonesia, which can be quite awkward. The best thing is you have to enter a certain password before you can enter. Yes, password. How absurd is that?? I have a good time laughing my ass off trying to guess the password (7788#, if you are wondering), while holding the urge to photobomb a bunch of giggly teen girls in front of the mirror.
Toilet drama apart, the foods take quite time to prepare. I almost started the ‘where’s my food’ conversation before The Grilled Chicken finally comes, smelling good with touch of rosemary, lemon, garlic, and olive oil. But it looks a bit… small. A piece of grilled chicken fillet, 4 potato wedges (round), and a handful of salad without dressing or sauce at all. I notice right away that the Grilled Chicken is not really warm, which is disappointing given the fact that we already wait quite long.
I like the way é Birra cuts it’s potato wedges. There is a little trace of skin left in the potatoes, but it gives a nice crispy sensation. I am not crazy about the texture though. Instead of melting in my mouth, the potatoes disintegrate into tiny hard pieces that I have to chew again and again and again before finally sure that I am not going to hurt my own throat or choked. Without the help of tartar sauce or simple mayo, the potatoes taste bland and a bit sour probably because of the lemons that my sister poured earlier. Such an unfortunate thing.
The chicken looks tempting though. Oily, crispy and glistening with olive oil and fat. On my first bite, I instantly love the solidity of the chicken, the slimy sensation of the fat/olive oil, and even though the skin is not really crispy (too wet, maybe because of the fat/olive oil), it still feels quite nice inside my mouth. However, the lack of taste drags down the textural advantage. I can feel strong rosemary scent with garlic and lemon, which is nice since there’s nothing else in the chicken worth writing for. Don’t get me wrong, this is a really nice piece of grilled chicken. But considering the price, the presentation and all, I expect something more. Way more. I have a strong feeling that if é Birra puts a little more effort, this dish can blows everyone’s mind.
Move on to my pizza, which is not yet ready. Geez… another visit to the toilet to cheer up my mood.
When I am back, the Meet Me in Heaven Pizza is already waiting. And it looks quite… nice. No, I don’t know why I feel nothing when I see this pizza. Usually I would jump out with excitement, imagining hot cheese and beefs running down my throat. This time, uh-huh, nothing. When I scoop the pizza, I realize that the cheese is not sticking to other slices, which is a definite sign that this pizza is (again) not freaking hot. Annoyed by this fact, I abandon my knife and brutally bite my pizza.
I can feel the dough right away, thick and solid, but it crumbles easily in my mouth. It’s a strange texture, I expect the dough to be more chewy because the description in the menu says this is a ‘classic’ pizza, not a thin crust. However, my pizza feels neither thin and crispy nor thick and chewy. In fact, this is a combination between both of them. More like digging into crackers. Really big crackers.
The toppings are nice, I can taste the cheese, green pepper, garlic, pieces of chickens, Italian sausages and pepperoni. Not bad. But again, I hope there are more surprises and harder kicks onto my taste buds. To be honest, I almost forget about the chili because it seems that é Birra really likes to play hide and seek with this bad boy. Hidden beneath my pepperoni is happily crushed red chili. No need to be afraid because, even though I can see the seeds popping out from the skins, the chili tastes like nothing at all. Not spicy, not hot, not warm, nothing. I can’t even feel it’s texture. Strange.
That’s it. The bill comes out, we pay with small discount by using our student cards and we leave with poker faces. I am not getting my dream pizza for sure. It’s okay, but é Birra falls really flat even compared to it’s cheaper, more commercial, less beautiful competitors (leave alone my dreamy perfect pizza). Everything that we eat feels flat, bland, and standard. Yes, there are a few nice moments (like the beautifully cut Italian sausages and pepperoni), but they’re far from enough.
To sum everything’s up: É Birra is just another standard restaurant with expensive price. That’s all. If it wants to be the ‘fresh air of Indonesia’s modern pizza world’, it needs to step up it’s game real high. More spices, more cheese, higher temperature, more beautiful executions. When it finally able to check all the boxes above, I will be glad to come back again.
Okay, one more visit to the ‘toilet’!
Contact : (021) 29200262