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Thursday, October 8, 2009

Restaurant Review: Capocaccia, Pacific Place, Jakarta

Oct. 08 (Jakarta Globe) When I started reviewing restaurants for this paper, I asked many friends for recommendations, and the name Capocaccia kept coming up. Having finally sampled its food, ambience and service, I can understand why.

A colleague and I took a short stroll from our Plaza Semanggi office to Capocaccia at Pacific Place and arrived suitably hungry. The restaurant bills itself as a gourmet panini bar and I was very much looking forward to some European-style delicatessen treats.

After a busy day, we were both ready for a cocktail so ordered the Martini Assoluto for Wendy and a mojito for myself, with mineral water alongside. The martini was visually stunning, with orange, strawberries, kiwi, grapes and apple all visible in the glass, but lacked in the way of taste. My mojito, though not as pretty, was a well-mixed classic, though perhaps a little sweet (and Indonesians do seem to prefer more sweetness in food and drink).

The menu itself was full of products I constantly search the city’s stores for, not all of which I have managed to find. Buffalo mozzarella, arugula, Culatello (Parma ham), Bresaola (spiced cured beef), smoked tuna, swordfish and salmon — the list goes on. Restaurant manager Nugi Adhiat Nugraha told us almost all the products, especially the meats, were sourced from Europe.

We began with a Bresaola salad of spiced cured beef, arugula, mushroom, corn and shaved parmigiano, served with char-grilled panini. Nugi explained that the dish was intended to be eaten with the fingers and demonstrated pouring oil and balsamic vinegar on our plates first to dip the salad ingredients in. I was surprised to see corn kernels as an ingredient and wondered how easy they would be to eat by hand with any sense of delicacy, but found it easy enough to do if I used a piece of beef as a wrapper. I’m a huge fan of bread with balsamic and good olive oil anyway, so the addition of the tasty meat, cheese and vegetables added to my pleasure in this dish.

Capocaccia is best known for its sandwiches so we opted for a Caleno, with raw ham, deer milk cheese, arugula, tomato and truffle oil; and a Rosolino, with turkey breast, arugula, tomato and tartare sauce. Both were served on fresh bread rolls baked on the premises and with a satisfyingly crisp crust, and with a copious amount of the main ingredients. The cheese in the former was rich and creamy and the truffle oil gave an earthy flavor.

We were pleased to have chosen a salad to begin as bread, even when it is this good, is very filling and neither of us had room left for dessert. Had we managed it, though, Capocaccia offers the Italian classics of Panna Cotta, Tiramisu and Tartalino, along with fresh fruit salad, with or without ice cream.

The interior of the restaurant has two levels with a long and well-stocked bar on the ground floor, in addition to tables outdoors for those who, like us, enjoy watching Jakarta’s passing parade. We dined early in the evening and the music being played was mellow jazz selections, but Capocaccia also features DJs on Wednesday and Friday nights. The kitchen closes at 11 p.m. on weekdays and at midnight on weekends but the bar stays open late.

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