Few weeks ago, we got the opportunity to taste some of new menu from Benedict, the second youngest child of The UNION Group (before Caffé Milano) -both located inside the East Mall of Grand Indonesia Shopping Mall.
A little story about Benedict, this Gourmet Café by Chefs Fernando Sindu and Ivan Wibowo serves hearty all-day breakfast favorites and decadent desserts, inspired by Western, Asian and Mediterranean cuisines. Both chefs have amazing culinary background, started with their first meeting at the Culinary Institute of America in New York. Chef Nando used to work as a Sous Chef at Prasserie 8 1/2 Oceana and La Boqueria in New York. While Chef Ivan’s resume included the legendary Noma in Denmark, which is currently #3 of The World’s Best Restaurants. Impressive, eh?
Entering Benedict, we were greeted with UNION Group’s restaurants style, the bakery in front. Plus, here you can bring back home the homemade Jams & Sauces, convenient!
Compared to other Union Group’s restaurants, Benedict occupies relatively smaller space, but still with their signature characters infused in the whole room. I like the simplicity, the warm and inviting atmosphere, like it’s made for everyone and less pretentious that way. We also spotted some antiques and vintage stuffs that remind us to the old days.
Remember this old phone? I used to have this at home when I was a child. The good ol’ days!
Orange Reviver IDR 50,000
Passion Fruit, Orange, Dragon Fruit, Mint, Lime
This drink was refreshing as well as energizing! The combination of sweet and sour taste was well-balanced and I loved the touch of dragon fruit blocks as edible garnish.
Benedict Gyoza IDR 60,000
With minced chicken, foie gras, cabbage as fillings and ponzu sauce by the side, we thought nothing could go wrong with it. The gyozas were fat and plump, good indication of generous fillings, but flavor-wise, nothing was really special about it. If more Chinese leek/chives are added, we think it would be much better.
Asian Cobb Salad IDR 80,000
Lemongrass chicken, lettuce, avocado, tomato, cucumber, soft-boiled egg, vermicelli, crispy noodles, Nuoc Cham dressing.
My favorite dish that day. A beautiful presented salad with various ingredients and super enjoyable with additional Nuoc Cham dressing, which is a popular Vietnamese dressing: sweet, savory, and spicy. It might not be everyone’s favorite (spicy food haters should avoid this) but I really love the extra kicking sensation in my mouth. The chicken tasted good although we think it was slightly overcooked and had lost its juiciness.
Oxtail Orecchiette IDR 95,000
This ear-shaped pasta was served with roasted eggplant, meat ragout, Grana Padano cheese, and oregano. Kudos to Chef Nando for creating such a bold and impressive dish, everything about it was just perfect. The pasta was well-cooked and had an amazing, chewy texture; while the oxtail was clearly the winner. TOTALLY RECOMMENDED.
Benedict’s Bubur Ayam IDR 70,000
Who says Bubur Ayam is only a street food? Benedict brings this locals’ favorite into another level and with ingredients like aromatic chicken, shredded duck, shaved foie gras, homemade “cakwe”, 63 degree egg, spicy peanut sauce, we pretty much had big expectation on that!
Unfortunately, some food are best enjoyed in the most humble ways, and even with so many awesome ingredients, this couldn’t win a simple cart-style bubur ayam near our house. Sorry, chef! The porridge was lacking of identity, which means we couldn’t find the exact flavor to focus on. There were too many things going on and something was obviously missing. Eating the toppings separately was nice though, but as a complete set of “bubur ayam”, I guess not.
Mushroom Ragout Tagliatelle IDR 85,000
Tagliatelle served with Porcini, chicken pesto, spinach, Grana Padano cheese, oregano. This could be great if it wasn’t THAT overpowered with the fragrance and taste of truffle oil.
The Hangover Cure is Chef Nando’s version of “Indomie”, with Sliced Pork (or Chicken) Confit, Crispy Pork Belly, Pork Lardons, Gyoza, 63-Degree Egg, “Dabu-Dabu” Chili and Bacon Broth.
This is when Indomie goes gourmet and we were so excited to try it! Turned out it was a similar case with the Bubur Ayam above, the toppings were okay to be eaten separately but not as the dish.
Benedict Burrito IDR 85,000
Choice of mushroom/chipotle chicken, braised beans, Mexican rice, lettuce, avocado, Habanero salsa, shoestring fries, side salad.
Another favorite of ours! The burritos were “fully-packed” as you can tell from the photos and we really appreciated fat, thick burritos, LOL. The flavor was exactly what we wanted, complete with awesome authentic spices that made our tongues dancing happily. If you like burrito, this is definitely not too miss when you happen to be in Jakarta!
Japanese Benedict IDR 80,000
Poached eggs, shiitake rice, chicken hamburg, sauteed horenso, dynamite Hollandaise, side salad.
A visit to Benedict is invalid without a Benedict or two. LOL, I just made it, but it’s pretty cool, right? XD The Japanese Benedict is Benedict of The Month and we were really amazed by the perfection. Starting from the shiitake rice on the bottom, it was incredibly good – savory and fragrant, enough to please us right away. The chicken hamburg and poached eggs made great combination, they were very well-seasoned and balanced each others nicely. MUST TRY!
Pan Seared Snapper
Before we start with the snapper, let’s gush on the overly delicious Spanish rice on the bottom! It was soooooo good I literally want to grab this out of my computer screen right now. The rice was cooked until very tender but not mushy, with perfect shape of grain still visible. Taste-wise, it was super tasty and had a mix of flavors infused to it, probably because of slow-cooking process and all.
We wish we could say the same about the snapper but too bad we found it a bit dry and hard. The middle part was okay though, probably because it was thicker and the inside wasn’t fully cooked yet. Other than that, this dish was excellent.
Another new creations added to Benedict’s Beverages menu are the homemade milkshakes which we think are worth trying! Tried the (L-R) Pretzel & Salted Caramel (IDR 50,000), Strawberry Basil (IDR 50,000), Nutella (IDR 50,000) and we love all of them!
Ultimate favorite would be the Salted Caramel one because it was a good combination between sweet and savory. I must say that the drinks reminded me of those milkshakes I had back in the USA in local diners, too good to be missed!
Green Tea Mousse Cake
Didn’t get to try any ice cream that day due to technical problem, but cakes would do, right? The Green Tea Mousse Cake is pretty new on store and judging from the color, we were not convinced at all in the beginning.
Do you see the dark reddish lines among all the greens? Yes, Chef Ivan cleverly put a layer of red beans and it was what made the cake so special in our opinions. We are crazy about green tea but we prefer authentic Japanese green tea with certain, obviously-tasted bitterness. From the color of this cake, we were a bit skeptical about the ingredients, and the flavor also lacked of bitterness that we expected.
If you ask us whether this cake is enjoyable, we will definitely say yes. It’s just a matter of preference and like we told the chef that time, this cake probably suits Indonesians’ preferences better.
It was a good experience dining here at Benedict and we could see that we are expecting to taste more of the great Chefs’ creations in the future. We wanted to thank Chef Nando & Chef Ivan for being awesome and down-to-earth, hopefully what we write here will give both of you positive feedback to improve your already-awesome skills even more. Till’ we meet again, ciao!
*The Food Escape team are not paid whatsoever for writing this post.
** This review is written based on our visit on 4 November 2015.
Grand Indonesia East Mall LG Unit 37-39
Jl. M.H. Thamrin No. 1
Central Jakarta 10310
Ph. +62 21 2358 1238
Mon – Sun 10AM – 10PM