Photography: Vong Kitchen
Word about town is that Vong Kitchen is rolling out a new brunch menu. Naturally, we’re down to check it out.
My walk-in attempt at landing a table at Vong Kitchen for the Sunday brunch service failed, but it was worth a try. We walked in early without a booking sometime on a Sunday noon and were told kindly and firmly that the dining floor is fully booked. Would we care to wait at the bar and for a table to finish up? We would. A drink sounds excellent, and the waiting area of the restaurant is none too shabby.
Past the reception is the restaurant’s bar, a cosy room with an elliptical marble-topped bar occupying its centre. There’s the rows of dapper navy blue bar stools arranged around the bar counter, as well as the grey plush stretch sofas and tan ottomans offering seatings for tipsy patrons. Normally, I’d pull up a bar stool and engage the barman in a round or two of bar talk over a few rounds of cocktails. But it’s hardly noon, though it is a Sunday. But again, there’s my dining companions.
We settled for the sun-dappled half of the bar’s sitting area and a round of coffees. I wasn’t impressed with the coffee. My flat white, was literally, flat and flavourless. It was nothing to write home about (ha!), but to be fair, Vong Kitchen is first and foremost a restaurant. Coffee isn’t exactly the top of their priority list, I assume. It was past noon, so I deemed it socially acceptable at least to order the Old Fashioned. It’s a classic cocktail, a safe choice so to say – big on citrusy notes with the satisfying smoky tang of good old American bourbon.
A group (finally!) vacated their seats and we were shown to our table. The dining room of Vong Kitchen continues in much of the same vein of contemporary upscale establishments. Clean minimalist lines, tones of dark brown, slate grey and black, and suave polished interiors. Half the dining room opens up to a lofted ceiling, with hanging circular lamps casting warm, muted light down on the diners. The kitchen running alongside the dining room is visible through horizontal open slits, where diners can watch rounds of pizza and trays of bread being fed to the restaurant’s massive ovens, a flurry of sautéing, frying and boiling at the cooking stations and food being plated obsessively before flying off the counter to the dining floor. Lattices of glass windows and French doors occupy the other side of the dining room, through which the outdoor patio dining area is located.
Vong Kitchen has added on to its repertoire of brunch items recently, considering the limited (albeit very good) brunch items that the restaurant offers. Items like the creamy burrata, slow cooked Tasmanian trout, steak and eggs and smoked salmon tower stayed, while additional breakfast staples such as the eggs benedict, avocado toast and omelette were added. The best news of the bunch, though, is that the kitchen will now offer the signature Jean-Georges Vongerichten’s truffle pizza for brunch service!
The creamy burrata is good, the silky and rich handmade cheese drizzled with fine quality olive oil goes perfectly with the complimentary (and very good) crusty bread rolls. The lemon jam is nice, though a little too sweet for my palate.
An interesting new item on the menu is the duck fried rice, a decidedly Chinese inspired dish. The restaurant chose to utilise Basmati rice for the dish, which sounds interesting but falls squarely in the it’s alright category for me. It came topped with a fried egg and garnished simply with coriander, spring onion and chilli slices. If there’s one dish on the brunch menu for which it’s appropriate for the use of the sambal bule (the restaurant’s own rendition of an Indonesian-inspired chilli sauce), this dish is probably your best bet.
The last time I’ve had brunch here, I went for the slow cooked Tasmanian trout, which was excellent. This time round, I opted for the avocado toast in my ongoing search for an acceptable version of the dish made and perfected in Australia. The side of garden salad is fresh and dressed simply with olive oil. A hunk of crusty Ciabatta bread is topped with creamed avocado, soft-boiled eggs, halved cherry tomatoes, radish slices and garnished with micro greens and lashes of dressing. The seared surface of the ciabatta bread is a nice touch, imparting a lovely smoky taste to the dish. The creamed avocado and perfectly soft-boiled eggs go well together, I’m pretty happy with my choice.
For desserts, there are the sweet brunch items such as the buttermilk pancakes, crispy French toast and Belgian waffles or you can opt for the restaurant’s very dark and decadent molten chocolate cake. I went for another round of Old Fashioned; in my defence, it’s the weekend.
Jalan Jendral Sudirman Kav. 52, Alila SCBD
Jakarta 12190, Indonesia
T: (+62) 8177 6688 066
Prices $$ (fair)
Cuisine Contemporary American
Minus We aren’t exactly convinced by the duck fried rice
Plus The truffle pizza is excellent, as always