Christmas is right around the corner and it is no surprise my friends and I decided to celebrate it a little bit earlier with nice dinner at Kitchenette. Located in the middle of giant artificial park complete with small pond to give the restaurant a Zen-like atmosphere, Kitchenette is just fabulous. It is a perfect Gourmet restaurant for youngsters. The atmosphere is chic without overused acoustic music or overly loud electro beats that are just too much, even for 18-year-old smartphone-wielding group of teens.
I instantly fall in love with crystal clear rooftops with plastic plants hanging around, providing good lighting for my Instagram feed or/and my blog. It can be a little bit hot during the day though, so be careful with timing. The back of the restaurant is not bad, even though its quite gloomy with small yellowish lamps as the only source of lighting and 3 giant window panes providing good, but limited, natural lighting.
After deciding where we want to seat (at the back of the restaurant, near the kitchen), the staffs hand us three pieces of brown cartons which turn out to be menu ‘books’. Each carton has elegant typography describing Kitchenette’s signature dishes, but they show no clear pictures whatsoever. We end up stumbling around, trying to guess what the dish looks like. Even though it is not a really big deal, it can be quite annoying sometimes. I think it is time to change into a real menu books, Kitchenette!
It is no wonder, most of us ending up ordering pasta, since it is the most basic (read. easiest) dish both in Italian and Western restaurant. And Kitchenette is a combination of both (to be fair, Kitchenette also serves some classic Asian dishes like Fried Rice with Chicken Satay), so it should be easy numbers for the chefs who are hiding in a well-decorated kitchen, only visible through tiny window across our table.
Before I start the bashing, I need to give praise for the staffs’ (and chefs) speed. Our dishes come one by one with acceptable waiting time, even though the restaurant is half-packed with another group of teens wearing ripped shorts and deer hair bands. Hmm, maybe I also need to give the staffs my praises for handling those
sluts under-dressed teens with grace and patience. That’s the real Christmas spirit, I say!
The first dish to come and grace our table is one plate full of green coloured pasta with tiny sprinkle of Parmesan cheese. I can see that the pasta is mixed perfectly with the sauce, but the presentation is too simple, even uninspiring at some levels. The pasta is nicely cooked, maintaining the solidity and chewiness of the dough, though I wish for it to be a bit softer. The sauce -the pesto- tastes soft with strong smell of basil (or arugula? Or pine nut? I am not really sure here).
There is no sign of chicken or beef or fish or anything that come close to meat. I believe somewhere in the world, vegetarians are screaming in victory while reading this part. Well, it is not bad. It just feels strange not to encounter any meat in a bowl of pasta. Like I just said before, the sauce -or pesto tastes elegant and soft, but it doesn’t have enough impact to impress me. And, yeah…. its a bit dry, more olive oil in the future, perhaps.
In short, this greenish pesto is a lovely opening number. I just don’t see it as a main course. Maybe it is because of the absence of meat or the hardness of the pasta or the less-than-impressive pesto. I don’t know. Maybe with a little work, it can be a true champion.
Spaghetti Aglio Olio
The next meal is an all time favorite Aglio Olio. Since the basic principle of Aglio pasta is to simplify the sauce to bring out the real taste of freshly made pasta, Kitchenette in some ways… failed. Kitchenette Aglio Olio tastes exactly like seafood pasta. The strong smell of olive oil mixed with prawns and squids are enough to convince me that this is not a typical Aglio Olio. It’s not bad though. I kind of like the strong taste of seafood; it gives an impact that Spaghetti Pesto lacks.
The pasta itself is firm, nicely cooked with olive oil dripping down deliciously, and the texture is just good -smooth and savory. I prefer the pasta to be (again) softer, but this one that I have -right here right now- is not bad.
Kitchenette Spaghetti Aglio Olio is a worthy main dish. Ignore the supposed-to-be-original Aglio Olio somewhere in Italy, and you will be more than satisfied with this dish.
Remember the line where I told you that Kitchenette also serves Asian-inspired dishes? Well, here is the strong proof. Chicken Teriyaki. Fried chicken breast with teriyaki sauce. Even though the presentation is not as interesting or beautiful as other Western options in the menu, Chicken Teriyaki steals my heart with its soft and juicy chicken and heavily flavored mushrooms.
Now, here’s the only problem; shouldn’t chicken teriyaki uses…well, teriyaki sauce in it’s chicken? Kitchenette Chicken Teriyaki gives too much attention to the mushrooms, making them look like burned out cooper and taste very very salty. The chicken, on the other hand, tastes rather plain to balance the dish. I think it would be more practical to just put the damn teriyaki sauce in a separate plate, so we can just pour it ourselves on whatever we want.
Other than that, this is a really great dish, especially for those who think pasta is not fulfilling.
I love Italian meatballs! And Kitchenette’s own version is no exception. No to be biased or something, but my Bucatini Meatball is excellent. The bucatini (a larger version of spaghetti) feels smooth, soft, and chewy. It tastes similar with Japanese udon, although there is that unmistakable firmness that only pasta family has. The tomato sauce is just gorgeous. Fresh, warm, thick, and there are few dried slices of red chili to amplify the impact. Oh boy, what a unique balance….
Anyway, back to the meatballs. The meatballs… oh, where do I have to start? My fork sinks deep into layers of minced beefs and herbs. My knife has a bit trouble cutting the meatballs because they’re just so thick and look very hard to chew. Fortunately, my mouth will disagree with that, the moment those gorgeous meatball touches my tongue, the signature taste of minced beef kicks in continued with slight smell of herbs similar to Spaghetti Pesto. Mamma-Mia!
However, after a few bites, I have a feeling that these meatballs are too dry. Kitchenette should be able to find a way to preserve the juiciness of minced beef, instead of blindly toss it into fire, which means this dish can be even more delicious! The thought alone sends shivers of excitement down my spine.
This might be a new menu, but Kitchenette MUST put this bad boy in recommended list! Or maybe don’t, so I can be the only one that recognize the great potential of this dish -and salvage every last bit of it.
I usually don’t write about drink unless it is something unique or special or extremely delicious. Kitchenette Lemon Tea is none of those, but it is sure leave an impact in my tongue because it tastes goddamn sour! I can see the tea and the sugar, but why for heaven’s sake can I only taste the lemon? Extremely sour lemon with bitter aftertaste!
Do me a favor and don’t ever EVER order this drink. You’ve been warned, my friend.
And that’s it. We sip down our teas, I try to hold back my Scream-face because of that cursed lemon tea, and one of the waitresses appear out of nowhere to clean our tables efficiently. This is quite awkward since we planned to chat for awhile before heading back. It looks like the staffs are eager to tell that our time is up. To be fair, we do take our time finishing our dishes and the restaurant is beginning to get crowded. Well, its near Christmas after all.
The bill comes and we get 10-20 percent discounts with our student cards. Not a bad deal, it doesn’t really affect the already expensive price tags though.
Now, for the conclusion; do I have a good time? Well, apart for the lemon tea and the staffs hurrying us to finish our dinner, I got to say I do have a good time. The foods are great (those meatballs alone deserve my precious time), the ambience is chic, and the chefs definitely put more efforts in the kitchen than the likes of Washoku or é Birra. And I haven’t even tried their infamous cake-in-a-jar or galete yet. I already make a plan in my head go back after Christmas just to try their dessert menus.
Okay, okay, and their meatballs!
Kitchenette Central Park
- Address: Central Park Mall, Letjen S. Parman Street, West Jakarta
- Hours: 10.00 am-11.00 pm
- Phone: (021) 29200260