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This is Sandra Djohan. Bon Appetit! Epilogue Jakarta

Published 30 May 2011   

Text By Erza S.T.
Photos by Ramadhan

In the long history of French bistros and brasseries in Jakarta, a new player called Epilogue has arrived, the brainchild of Chef Sarah Djohan. In just one week after opening, Epilogue received rave word of mouth reviews from many French ex-pats and Francophile food lovers, so, although the location is hidden in the deep jungle of South Jakarta, I decided to go there on day eight of its life to see if these special words were true.

It takes a tremendous effort to get to the restaurant on Cipete Raya Street considering the current fly-over construction on Jalan Antasari, especially if you are coming from the centre of town. However, the effort was truly rewarded. Located in a traditional Javanese joglo house, one might not think that this is a French bistro at all. Entering, however, you will find a strong eclectic blend of Indonesian flavours with European accents, yet it remains very homey. Pictures of the chef with her family in various picture frames, a colonial style marble table, a Javanese bench, a gold baroque mirror and some belle époque style art posters are the elements that make the experience of going to this bistro more like visiting a friend’s home.

“Women in Indonesia can be very proud to know that Chef Sandra actually owns this restaurant and works hard behind the scenes on a daily basis.”

With solid recommendations from my friends, I had quite high expectations and this brought me to meet Chef Sandra Djohan for the very first time. Women in Indonesia can be very proud to know that Chef Sandra actually owns this restaurant and works hard behind the scenes on a daily basis. Not only that, but she also graduated from the prestigious cooking institution Le Cordon Bleu in Paris, where famous French chefs from around the world train. This information raised my expectations of her food even higher.

The menu is simple and interesting, and ranges from traditional classic to fusion selections. Her classic escargot and foie gras were pleasantly enticing but one appetizer that caught me off-guard was the grilled bone marrow served with garlic bread. An incredible delectation that has a rich savoury and rustic taste that is so hard to find. The modest kitchen here also creates an interesting fondue. The fondue bourguignon uses Australian grain-fed tenderloin and arrives with potato gratin, salad and three kinds of sauces, while fondue Gorgonzola is served with a French baguette.

There is also a great list of Australian steak dishes including rib eye, sirloin or the gigantic 500g US OP Rib. It is all premium quality meat, and you can choose to have it served on hot stone or grilled in the kitchen, either with bordelaise or blue cheese sauce.

Chef Sandra’s food is anything but clichéd. I discovered some daring selections where she plays around the taste and creates some interesting fusion dishes using strong Indonesian spices with French cooking methods. Innovation like pan-seared pomfret with bok choy and miso juice accompany with Lombok’s famous sambal plecing, or the to-die-for lamb shank with Manado’s dabu – dabu sauce are just mind blowing. I bet even Julia Child would be proud of her inventions.

From start to finish, we were held spellbound by dish after wondrous dish that culminated at dessert time with a tarte tatin so beautiful that I could feel my waistline expand with every scoop. The Epilogue Addict – chocolate martini with chocolate truffle, by the way, is gorgeous.

Epilogue
Jl. Cipete Raya No. 18-19
Jakarta
Tel: +62 21 7590 2451