Last week, we were invited to an Exclusive Chef Table Dinner event held at Scusa Italian Restaurant, which is located on the 2nd floor of five-star Hotel InterContinental Jakarta MidPlaza.
Talking about Scusa itself, I always consider it as one of the best Italian restaurants in Jakarta. I remember I had only been there once, very long time ago, when the Executive Chef Luca Pezzera (now in recently-opened Caffé Milano Grand Indonesia) still managed this restaurant. I had a tremendous experience with Scusa back then, but hadn’t had proper chance to come back for another magnificent dinner until last week.
The purpose of this event is actually to try some delicious creations from the new Executive Chef Gianluca Visciglia, who has joined InterContinental Jakarta since January 2015. Chef Gianluca comes from Milan, Italy, and had been in charge of many prestigious restaurants including Shangri-la Boracay Resort & Spa in Boracay (Philippines) and Shangri-la Barr Al Jissah Resort & Spa in Muscat (Sultanate of Oman) before joining InterContinental Jakarta.
Beside Scusa, Chef Gianluca has taken charge of culinary services for ALL restaurants outlets in InterContinental Jakarta. Amazing!
As usual, before we proceed to the real food talk, let’s enjoy the beauty and elegance of Scusa in still images. <33
Our table is the one in front of the open kitchen, actually the side where the lighting was very minimal and considered very dark. However, I really love the atmosphere and intimate feeling in Scusa, it’s elegant yet playful at the same time.
The first thing to be served was the orange yellow drink with fresh lychee and lime slice garnish. I don’t remember if the drink has name but it was a kind of tropical fruit blends with balanced sweetness and sourness that makes you craving for more. It was the savior of the day because our dinner started almost 1.5 hours late from the scheduled time as one of the media guests got stuck in the traffic jam.
And here is the one and only, Chef Gianluca Visciglia, everyone!
Before the dinner started, as usual, complimentary breads were served. The bread, looking so pretty and fluffy, was chewy and addictive to eat. If I am not wrong, I spotted some candied fruits inside the bread, which gave an additional sweet taste. The cheese sticks were also good! <33
After the bread, salad platter consisting of mozzarella cheese, rucola leaves, and cherry tomatoes were served with sprinkles of olive oil and vinegar. Italian food is always very classy in presentation, the balance of colors and simplicity always win my heart right away.
Without further ado, let’s continue with the signature 5-course menu!
Antipasto Misto Di Pesce
Mix Seafood Appetizers Platter
The first menu comes in square plate with 4 round holes, so beautiful. The mix seafood appetizers platter is a great way to introduce many appetizers without making the guests sick before moving into the heavier dishes. Presentation-wise, this was superb.
Fish Carpaccio With Rosemary
The thinly-sliced fish didn’t only look beautiful but it also tasted very good and fresh. I totally love the texture: soft and smooth, eating it was effortless yet the taste was strong and flavorful inside my mouth.
Octopus Terrine with Citrus
The octopus terrine was amazingly good. The terrine had a jelly-alike texture with mixed flavors dominated by tangy citrus fragrance and taste. I swear the octopus had this not-so-usual natural sweetness which came out from the meat with the juice.
Tuna Tartare with Fennel Sauce
I always love raw fish dishes especially when it looks (and tastes) fresh, for sure! This Tuna Tartare wasn’t an exception, it was very fresh and glistening beautifully from reflection of the lights. This must be good, I thought.
At the first glance, it looked small and dainty, but as I started digging, I was surprised that the tuna was stacked into one almost solid creative cup shape with the sauce in the center. The tuna was very fresh, almost crunchy, and there was no smell at all. The sauce was milky and creamy, complimented the freshness of the raw fish and enhanced the flavors to another level.
Seared Scallops with Orange-Mustard Sauce
Although I like 3 of the appetizers above, this one was easily my favorite among the four.
The scallops were HEAVENLY delicious! They were cooked into perfection, resulting in a soft yet chewy texture that was combined with amazing flavors from the sauce. I couldn’t say any bad thing about this particular dish as I was totally impressed by the goodness. This is simply a brilliance!
Cappuccino Di Castagne Con Praline di Foie Gras in Crosta di Pistacchi e Croissant Tiepido
Chestnuts cappuccino, pistachio crusted foie gras praline and warm croissant.
The second dish was another creative dish which the presentation wow-ed me at the beginning. I started with the cute tiny croissant, a nice version of croissant with texture more like bread, less flaky and soft. The chestnut cappuccino surprisingly was savory, with hints of cappuccino but eaten as soup. Again, I was impressed as it was somehow new to me.
Honestly, I wasn’t even too excited about this menu since I am never really a fan of foie gras (duck liver). I won’t say that the reason is because of the animal-care stuffs, although yes, I admit it is ONE of the reasons as I have ever watched a viral video showing how the ducks were fed until their livers grow with fat and it’s totally gross and un-human, IMHO! I can eat it but prefer not to, because I believe there are still so many other delicious food to enjoy beside the duck liver.
Well, in this case, the foie gras was served like a lollipop, complete with its stick, and nicely enough, it’s covered with pistachio crusts. It tasted like.. foie gras, and like I said before, I never really liked the taste. For livers, I think I will just stick to much cheaper, easier-found chicken livers, so yeah. Nevertheless, I still enjoyed the pistachio crusts because it drifted my mind away from the sickening foie gras.
Spaghetti al Granchio Con Pomodorini e Basilico
Spaghetti tossed with crab in fresh tomato cherry sauce and basil.
The third menu definitely made everyone grabbing their cameras and taking one or two shots. The spaghetti was served as the “body” of alive-looking crabs: the head basically just empty shell but the claws actually still had some meat and edible if you want to get your hands dirty.
Beside the mesmerizing presentation, the spaghetti was perfectly cooked, mixed with lots of tasty crab meat. Trust me, the crab meat literally was everywhere and I had never seen something like that before. What a generous serving!
And I must state that normally I avoid red sauce pasta because I get sick of it quicker than white sauce. But this one was mild yet tasty and made me addicted. I even whined a bit to Mr. K that my serving portion was slightly less than his, and he let me taking some from his plate eventually, LOL. XD Yes, it was THAT good!
Filetto di Vitello in Crosta di Porcini con Pure di Patate e Mele, Carote Saltate alla Viniglia ed Una Salsa Al Tartufo Nero
Porcini mushroom crusted veal tenderloin apple and potato mashed, black truffle sauce and sautéed vanilla carrots.
The main that day was a veal tenderloin which was topped with Porcini mushroom, a deadly combination that makes me drooling uncontrollably. The veal tenderloin was super thick and had the most beautiful texture when cut, showing the reddish brown color of the meat. It was soft, tender, and juicy, consistently good until the last cut.
The apple and potato mashed was not my favorite though as it had a rather unpleasant smell which reminded me of blue cheese. It could be from the black truffle oil in the sauce and also Parmesan cheese which was also used as one of the ingredients. I found some of my vanilla carrots a bit undercooked, although I like crunchy raw carrots, I prefer a soft, boiled ones for my steak company.
Panna Cotta al Caffe e Amaretto con Composta di Amarene
Espresso panna cotta flavored with amaretto liquor, amarena cherry compote.
Our last menu was a beautiful panna cotta dessert which was covered with glassy sweet candy. The panna cotta was soft and smooth, with aromatic espresso flavor. Perfectly combined with sweet amaretto liquor and hint of sourness from amarena cherry compote, I couldn’t ask for better ones.
I would say the glass-like texture of sticky candy on top was the highlight of this dessert. It was beautiful to see and fun to eat. Crack it first and see how the candies fell down to the panna cotta, giving additional sweetness and nice texture when eaten together.
Pair it with coffee and your life will become thousand times better!
The dinner lasted for almost 2 and half hours and my tummy screamed of happiness. Once again, I have confirmed that Scusa is indeed
one of the best Italian restaurant in Jakarta. It was “only” 5-course menu, but I felt like I was taken somewhere across the globe to experience the real Italian cuisine. Everything was very well-prepared, and I was deeply impressed that every menu has its own uniqueness and originality which come from creative ideas of Chef Gianluca and team.
Scusa is probably not an Italian restaurant we can visit everyday, but every once in a while, treat yourselves a great meal, and for sure, you pay for quality and it’s worth every cents you spend.
Last but not least, thank you for having us, and hope to see you again soon, Chef Gianluca!
*The Food Escape team are not paid whatsoever for writing this post.
SCUSA ITALIAN RESTAURANT
InterContinental Jakarta MidPlaza 2F
Jl. Jenderal Sudirman Kav. 10-11
Phone. +62 21 251 0888
Mon-Fri 11.30AM – 2.30PM, 6PM – 12AM
Sat 6PM – 12AM
Sun 11.30AM – 3PM, 6PM – 12AM