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Otel Lobby Jakarta: Some Eat to Remember, Some Drink to Forget

Published 06 February 2012   

Within its first few months of opening, Otel Lobby has quickly become the “it” place. Thankfully, not just for the style, but mostly for the food.

Text by Ve Handojo
Photos by Ramadhan

How would I even begin to describe Otel Lobby? The cool vintage Louis Vuitton suitcases piled high in the reception area? The designer sofas and armchairs in the lounge room ? The classic black-and-white movies projected on the wall? The chandelier made of ping pong balls hanging above the long table? I can’t stop making the list, really. And I haven’t even started on the food yet.

My strawberry and watermelon salad came with parmesan espuma foam – a simple appetizer to set my taste buds for the many flavours to come. What followed was the crunchiest prawn tempura I have ever tasted and came with a pineapple sorbet topping and a portion of braised pineapple salad. Being a monster eater, I took one of the mains as my first entrée. It happened to be the slow-poached salmon resting on a bed of couscous and avocado-orange and dressed with cilantro jus. The salty and crispy skin was a joy, while the salmon itself had a perfect tenderness and an unbelievably smooth texture. Fish lovers should also try their roasted barramundi. In just a few short weeks after the opening, the dish has quickly become the talk of the town. As for me, my lunch proceeded to my favourite red meat, Beef Wellington. Wrapped in puff pastry and served on fine china, the tenderloin steak with mushroom duxelle was a gracious treat. They said you haven’t been to Otel Lobby until you have finished the Beef Wellington. This is so true.

The spacious interior of Otel Lobby feels intimate and homely.

If you are feeling slightly oriental, order the duck confit al dente noodle – plenty of finely roasted duck breast, showered with duck broth. The bar snacks are also winners. The bouncy buns that come with either chicken, beef, or duck are the softest ever, and don’t miss the croquettes.

Otel Lobby’s menu is quite limited, simple, and clear. The portions are generous but will not overstuff. The water comes for free. I repeat, the water comes for free! In Jakarta, free water in a posh restaurant is a miracle! It’s not that I want to save money. It’s just I want to save money for cocktails.

“the water comes for free! In Jakarta, free water in a posh restaurant is a miracle! ”

Ben Browning, the mixologist, has a Midas touch. Everything he touches turns into something to delightfully knock you out. He knows how to play with the rich and spicy flavours as well. The ultimate fix for me is Kudus Cocktail – whiskey, dark rum, clove, and bitters. This masculine drink has an elegant aroma, and a Bruce Lee kick. If you’re a lady, or feeling lady-like, go for the Burning Mandarin – a mix of mandarin vodka, lemon, orange, cranberry and chilli. Poisoned Rose tastes very smooth with its silky texture but after one glass, you’ll think everybody is beautiful. Are you familiar with Indonesian rujak? Imagine it becoming an alcoholic beverage, and you’ll get Celery Superstar.

As a hotel without any rooms, Otel Lobby is great for long leisurely lunches. When the magic hour comes, golden rays of dusk will light up the bar. Happy Hours start from 4pm to 7pm – buy one get one free for all cocktails and bar snacks. The lobby is also where to gather with friends for dinner. If Otel Lobby ever changes their mind to become a boutique hotel, I’d be a long staying guest for sure.

Otel Lobby
Annex Building of Bakrie Tower
Jl. Epicentrum Tengah, Kuningan
Jakarta
Tel: +62 21 2994 1324
www.otellobby.com