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Café Gran Vía: The World on a Plate

Café Gran Vía: The World on a Plate
Café Gran Vía: The World on a Plate

A sizzling, globe-trotting dining by Gran Meliá Jakarta

The heart of the Sudirman Central Business District (SCBD) may seem a long way from Mediterranean waves kissing the Spanish shoreline. Nonetheless, inside the five-starred Gran Meliá Jakarta, the buffet restaurant Café Gran Vía offers an all-day menu inspired by recipes drawn from the four corners of the world.

Café Gran Vía sits on the floor above the hotel’s dazzling lobby with its soaring ceiling. This floor is home to a number of restaurants, from the Japanese eatery Yoshi Izakaya to the Chinese tavern Tien Chao. There is also a bar that can make for a good spot for either an aperitif or post-meal digestif.

Despite the name of the café, the large space that Café Gran Vía occupies is more of a restaurant than a café. It is decorated with unvarnished, carved, wooden panels. That, and a light-colour scheme in the seating area, give it a fairly relaxing feeling. The size of the single room where the seats are all clustered means that it can be clamorous, though it depends on how busy it is – and how voluminous the diners are! During my recent visit, a nearby table of friends was raucously amusing each other with stories, all while enjoying the food alongside their company.

The Food Buffet
The Food Buffet

The expansive food buffet space is organised, broadly speaking, by geography. On top of that, there is an area that specifically serves bread, seasonal fruits, a salad bar, and another bar offering a range of desserts. A manned station dishes up different flavours of ice cream and, for a premium, coffee and beer.

The meal areas are clearly labelled. The global cuisines include food from Meliá Hotels’ home country of Spain alongside Italian, American, Indian, Arabic mezze, Chinese, and Japanese cuisines — as well as local cookery such as mie tek tek. There is a dedicated assortment of vegetarian dishes, to boot. With such a broad selection of dishes, having a meal here allows you to eat your way around much of the world and experience a wide range of different gastronomies.

There are multiple options within each of these meal areas. The Indian selection, for example, comprises meat and vegetarian curries alongside a variety of breads which include naan and roti. There are also smaller bites and desserts. Meanwhile, the Japanese selection offers noodle dishes as well as sushi and sashimi. 

Café Gran VíaFrom the Italian section, I enjoyed brisket with mushroom sauce and potatoes au gratin. The tasty, tender meat was carved to order. Some of the stations are manned while others are not, although the café’s busy staff are present to keep the large and wide-ranging buffet adequately stocked with dishes.

While there are staples, the selection is not static across the week and there are several themed evenings, the latter of which come at a slightly higher price. On Fridays at dinnertime, for instance, carved meat and meatloaf are at the fore. Moreover, Tuesday evenings feature cita rasa Nusantara as the centrepiece. Additionally, Sunday lunchtimes present a so-called ‘Folkz brunch’.

With such a wide selection, how good is the food quality, then? This is a broad-based hotel buffet that is offered daily, so I do not think it would be reasonable to expect the sort of haute cuisine one might get from ordering a la carte in a high-end restaurant of the grandest level. Having said that, though, I felt that the dishes I had during my visit were tasty, well-prepared and filling. The dishes did not taste as if they had been sitting out for too long and I enjoyed the flavour of everything I ate. The beef, in particular, was a standout, though other dishes were also enjoyable, namely the lentil curry and the hummus. 

When it comes to a luxury hotel’s buffet, many people’s minds – and diaries – automatically turn to the weekend. Café Gran Vía is open daily, from 6 a.m. to 10 p.m. Hence, as it ticks the weekend brunch box, it further offers diners the option of a buffet that draws on culinary traditions from the four corners of the globe — for either lunch, dinner or a leisurely feast between normal meal times. My visit, at the time, concentrated on the buffet, though there was also an a la carte menu that was made available for the diners.

Ultimately, Café Gran Vía is a family-friendly venue with a relaxed vibe and, given its location inside a five-star hotel, a fairly casual atmosphere. Instead of being my first choice for an important business meeting or intimate dinner, Café Gran Vía would be ideal as the scrumptious oasis for an informal family gathering, for catching up with friends or, simply, for a change of scenery on a day when a big appetite coincides with a desire for a variety of food.

Café Gran Vía

  • Lunch buffet is Rp350K++ per person; dinner buffet is Rp395K++; dinner on Tuesday and Friday is Rp415K++; free-flow alcoholic beverage package is Rp339K++; there is a 20% discount for booking with Chope or paying with BCA, BNI, BRI, HSBC, OCBC and/or Melia Rewards (terms and conditions apply).
  • Phone: (021) 526-8080 (Landline); +62 811 889 0712 (WhatsApp)
  • Website: https://www.melia.com/in/hotels/indonesia/jakarta/gran-melia-jakarta
  • Instagram: @granmelia_jkt

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