Have you tried Pastis? No, not the French liqueur, the Mediterranean-come-Italian Kitchen and Bar in Aston at the Kuningan Suites. Although this oasis is considered semi-fine dining, the service, cuisine and décor oozes fine dining.
In Pastis, your derriere is spoilt for where to park. Choose to sit at the elegant bar where a 4.5 litre bottle of Chivas lives, (tempting, I know) in the nonchalant restaurant which accommodates one very long bench-table which encourages mingling, on smaller dining tables which peer out onto a striking tree-lined garden where you can also relax comfortably on lounge chairs under chic sunbrellas. The sight of the white walls, white colonial-style windows and shutters, white kitchen cabinets filled with colourful fruit, the hanging French ceiling fans along with pots, pans and cooking utensils encased in vine leaves and the dark wooden ceiling beams above the restaurant hit you all at once. This place really is charming and you feel as though you are in someone’s kitchen/dining room (a very spacious one I might add) in the Mediterranean.
There is also a self-contained lounge to the left of the restaurant where smoking is permitted, and on weekend evenings, a house-music DJ spins his decks to a hip young crowd. During the day, this lounge feels very bright and cosy as natural light streams in through the large white-paned windows with romantic white colonial shutters. In addition to all this, Pastis has its own wine cellar where you can purchase very fairly priced Italian, Chilean, Argentinian and Australian wines.
So what did we eat at Pastis? I think the question is what didn’t we eat? The smiley Chef James tickled our palettes with a Brie and Apple Salad with Salmon Carpaccio and organic greens, then he indulged us with Homemade Gnocchi Gorgonzola, Spinach Ravioli al Pesto, USDA Beef Tenderloin which was cooked to perfection, Australian Lamb Chops with Mushroom and Thyme sauce, and upon instructions to, “Make room in your belly for dessert,” spoiled us with Vanilla Panna Cotta, Apple Strudel with Italian Vanilla Gelato and a Hot Chocolate Melt. This feast was followed by a very strong blend of Italian and Vietnamese espresso, which left us buzzing for the rest of the afternoon.
“We serve the best possible food at the best possible price,” says GM Raymond Marcel Zuest, and just from glancing at the menu you can see that this is true. A bottle of their house wine is priced at Rp.325,00++, their cheese platter Rp.140,000++ and during their new Acoustic Ladies Night on Wednesdays, a lavish barbeque buffet will only set you back Rp.138,000++ per head. That and free cocktails from 6-8pm for the ladies accompanied by live acoustic music makes this an irresistible spot to relax in on a Wednesday night.
Delicious and unpretentious food, service with a smile, a comfy yet stylish white setting which feels like nowhere else in Jakarta, a place to have a romantic candle-lit dinner in a private garden (any offers, gents?), and Chef James’ smile are a few of the many reasons to make a trip to Pastis. I also mustn’t forget to mention their daily happy hour, which is a staggering four hours long (from 4pm – 8pm) and tempts you with two draught beers for the price of one. Well, I definitely know where I’m going after a hard day at the office, don’t you?