If you are Indonesians or living in Indonesia, foodies or not, we believe you would have known Chef Juna or at least, have ever heard about him. I think, being a professional chef in Indonesia is quite different from being a chef in foreign countries, in a sense of gaining appreciation and public acceptance, but Chef Juna seems to have no problem in capturing hearts, thanks to his good looks and mysterious personality we always see on medias.
Before I continue talking about Chef Juna, let’s take a look at his new-born baby, Correlate Jakarta, which has been the topic of many foodies in the last few months.
Correlate is located on lobby floor of Menara Rajawali, Kuningan, with a direct access to the restaurant from its own entrance (without having to go through main lobby). Find the colorful maple leaf signage (very visible even from the street) and you are on right track.
“Correlate” means “have a mutual relationship or connection, in which one thing affects or depends on another”, giving me a slight idea about what the restaurant may offer, but seriously I came with no expectation whatsoever in my mind. Honestly, the news about Correlate sparked my curiosity since few months ago but wasn’t intriguing enough to drag myself for a visit.
First thing first, we were stunned to see how spacey Correlate is! Prior to our visit, I have seen many photos of the restaurant on the internet, but I didn’t expect that it is THAT spacey. The restaurant has a combination of French and Japanese ambience infused into it, they keep the decor minimalist with touch of Zen – the feature of Japanese sliding door accent really had me at the first glance – and stay consistent with Japanese-themed arts on the wall.
The restaurant is divided into 3 main areas: first area you will see upon entering is my personal favorite area which has an access of natural light, big tree in the center, and Japanese pagoda wall mural. This green area is where smokers can enjoy their cigarettes, and enjoying the meals while looking at the busy Kuningan street.
The second area is this darker area including the bar and lounge with sofa and is definitely a great place to unwind after a long day at work, enjoy some drinks, and socialize. If you look at their menu, they have impressive selection of alcoholic as well as non-alcoholic beverages available, and don’t hesitate to ask the staffs if you want to pair your dishes with those drinks.
The third area is the main dining area which allows you to enjoy the Japanese ambience to the fullest while witnessing how your food are cooked, yes, they have open kitchen area for you to watch! It is very fun and somehow entertaining as well because we can see the process live and if you happen to visit when Chef Juna is there, maybe you can get a glimpse of his signature stern kitchen mode with your own eyes. LOL, I wish! XD
Correlate Jakarta offers eclectic cuisine, which means that there are no boundaries as what you can get in this restaurant. In term of food, you can see that there are 2 different menu available everyday: Lunch & Dinner. The lunch menu is of course, more simple yet fulfilling, where you can get carbs-loaded dishes like rice, bread, pasta, etc. For the dinner, the menu is more complicated with “more difficult” ingredients and playful herbs and spices. The menu varies between Western-European and Japanese dishes with Chef Juna’s personal touch.
Rozenpine IDR 57,000
Extract rozen rose, vanilla, pineapple juice, selasih
We must tell you that Correlate is absolutely a perfect place to chill out and have some drinks. Their extensive selection of beverages (especially alcoholic ones) is outstanding, and even if you don’t drink alcohol, you can always opt for the colorful mocktail! We tried Rozenpine, a beautiful blend of tropical flavor with lovely color and sweetness. There is a slight sourness that comes from the pineapple, which gives the whole taste a nice balance, plus the selasih (basil seeds) brings a fun texture!
Squid Karaage Roll IDR 109,000
For starter, we tried this sushi roll served on a dashing square plate partly accentuated with pink maple leaves. Did I tell you that the plating here is gorgeous? With toppings like cucumber, black pepper salmon, and micro chives, the sushi was well-executed with appetizing presentation. The sushi rice was okay, although lacking of vinegar flavor but the texture was good. Actually we have mixed feeling about this, since we assumed that making sushi like this is Chef Juna’s forte – yes, this is good but not as good as it looks. The sushi has so many flavors on one plate with all the components used in it, so we found it rather confusing and “overlapping”. Nevertheless, we definitely would love to try other sushi rolls next time we visit Correlate!
Seared North Pacific Halibut IDR 281,000
Next we had this beautiful Halibut served on top of roasted eggplant and english cucumber, with a side of shrimp and green bean quiche, then drizzled with tarragon – black pepper creme. We must say this was AWESOME! My first bite sent me directly to paradise, the soft and smooth Halibut melted with all the delicious flavors bursting in my mouth. Not only the fish, I think everything else like the roasted eggplant also had been seasoned before so we found them tasty even without the sauce. The quiche was perfectly done, it was soft – almost creamy blend of eggs, surrounding bite-size pieces of shrimp and green bean. It was a great addition to the plate as the delicate fluffy eggs helped enhancing the flavor yet did not distract from overall body of the main dish.
The creme sauce was crazily addictive! Last thing we know, in few minutes, we found ourselves wiping the plate clean to get the most of it, LOL!
US Angus Beef IDR 339,000
Grain-fed Certified Angus Beef Tenderloin Correlate single malt steak sauce served with pommes puree, foie gras torchon, Napa Valley glaze, veggies garden
Here comes the star, woohoo! The US Angus Beef dish is definitely an instant head-turner, thanks to its thick and perfect shape! Before I even start with the comment, can I just mention that the plating rocks? It is simple, less pretentious and definitely straight to the point, probably just like how Chef Juna himself is in person. Because a great steak doesn’t need many other things on its plate, and here in Correlate, the same thought seems to be appreciated as well.
As I mentioned above, the steak was super thick but with juicy pink center, I was made speechless after the first cut. It was impressive that the steak had such a great texture: very tender with balanced moisture and juiciness, that it easily melts in mouth and coats the palate beautifully. I have tried many (self-claimed) good meat in my life, but I am ready to say this is definitely one of the best steaks I have had in the last 10 years. Many restaurants can provide great ingredients like expensive and high-grade meat, but I believe process is the most important thing in serving the best one on plate.
We were deeply impressed by the full-flavored steak, I believe that Chef Juna doesn’t do shortcut when it comes to do his job in kitchen, and that’s what we tasted in this steak. Normally, steak this thick will lose its flavor in the center part, but here we truly enjoyed the well-spread flavor thoroughly. Some might find it too strong, but you can always eat the steak with the pommes puree, the silky creamy potato puree that helps balancing the saltiness of the steak.
Vanilla IDR 79,000
For dessert, we had the Vanilla cake with dark chocolate mousse and banana juice single malt ice cream, complimented with honeycomb and chocolate tuille. This was a very pretty dessert but we found it lacking of wow factor. The cake had this spongy texture resembling Madeleine cake, only less dry than Madeleine which is good. The vanilla cake had only weak flavor so basically the ice cream overpowers everything on the plate, although we must say that it goes really well the chocolate components (and also the cake). However, at the end of the day, we don’t think we want to spend our IDR 79,000 on this. XD
Black Moon IDR 123,000
Watch out, gastromolecular fans! Apparently, Correlate has its own part of the menu dedicated for Molecular dishes, such as this Black Moon, which are actually coffee liqueur softball, served with foam of Irish cream and silver trimit. This is really a fun way to “eat” coffee liqueur to be honest, and I loved how the ball exploded in my mouth giving an “adult” sensation with all the alcohol contents, it was just FUN! Normally I don’t really drink alcohol but if having it can be this fun, why not?
Our first visit to Correlate was simply an eye-opener because I for one, had never thought that Chef Juna can actually cook, not to mention cooking such a great line of meals (sorry, Chef!). People generally judge, and although many people will say that Chef Juna’s good looks is a privilege for him, it’s actually like a double-sided knife, where people can also underestimate his real skills and consider him famous merely because of his looks. Sadly, I was one of those people, and I am glad my perception about him changed totally after one fine visit to Correlate!
It is amazing to find out that despite all his achievement in culinary field, he actually has never had a formal culinary education at all, which means he learned everything by doing. And our 5 minutes chit-chat that day gave us the vibe of someone who is doing his job wholeheartedly because his passion is there! So are you ready to give his creations a try?
Last but not least, Correlate won our hearts as simple as one visit. It was a bad day with heavy traffic jam due to mass demonstration around Kuningan area, but our day was brightened after dining there. It’s true that good food heals body, mind, and soul! XD The food truly lives up to its name, because we think that everything on the plate is correlated one to another, creating a beautiful harmony that compliments each other.
Not only the food, the service here is also top notch! The staffs are very polite yet not intimidating at all, friendly and helpful. There is one particular male staff, I forgot to ask his name but he looks like Vidi Aldiano (XD) who was particularly shining above others as he was very well-informed and knowledgeable when it comes to the menu! I was impressed with this kind of service, where I can actually ask the staff about my food and he can explain! Great master train great student, yes?
We believe Correlate will capture other foodies’ hearts as it did to us, and quoting Chef Juna: “Just come with an open mind”, and yes, you should, and get ready to be impressed! Thanks for having us and wish Correlate a very successful journey ahead!
* All prices are subject to 8% service charge & 10% government tax
** This review is written based on our visit on 10 May 2017.
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