Two weeks ago, I was invited to another #ZomatoMeetUp event and this time I finally could make it. Although I had been invited to some of Zomato gatherings, this was my first time joining it. The meet up this time was held at Bengawan, Keraton at The Plaza, which is known to provide an authentic five-star dining experience with international lunch buffet, and the specially curated Mexican menu (click HERE for my previous review).
The event was supposed to start at 6 PM but when I arrived at 6 PM sharp, many guests hadn’t arrived yet due to traffic jam, so we had some time to go to the outdoor seating area and the view is indeed beautiful from this 7th floor.
Imagine spending a nice afternoon/evening here with such a view.
Jalapeno plants in the pot? Check.
The indoor seating area is big and spacious, but can be a nightmare for photographers as the lighting is very minimal. Luckily some areas have brighter lighting than the others, so you can always move here and there to get better shots. XD
After all the foodie friends arrived, the event was started by warm greetings from Keraton and Zomato staffs, and we were introduced to Chef Lamberto Valdez Lara, the culinary director of Keraton at The Plaza. Chef Valdez is a Mexican native and works magic in creating authentic Mexican cuisine in Bengawan. I had been here a couple of times and the Mexican cuisine is one of the best in Jakarta in my opinion.
A very fine and dedicated chef, the one and only Chef Lamberto Valdez.
Before the dinner started, Chef Valdez brought us for a quick tour around the kitchen(s), which are located just behind the entrance, and a bigger one in the basement level. I was surprised that we were given the chance for this and honestly I appreciated what he did. The kitchens are very clean and neat, and the one in the basement (main kitchen) is even more organized.
Back to the restaurant. We could enjoy the show of making the guacamole by the side of table, using the selectively imported Hass avocado. The guacamole is finger-licking great, with an awesome level of creaminess. I really love how smooth and buttery it is without being watery at all, and clearly I have found THE BEST guacamole here in Jakarta. Where had I been?
Hass avocado, selectively imported to bring the experience of authentic Guacamole!
A pot is definitely never enough.
After indulging myself with such a rare authenticity, the Sopa Azteca came as the starter.
Sopa Azteca or Tortilla Soup is one of comfort food in Mexican homes. Made from fried tortilla with chicken and tomato broth, the soup has a thicker consistency with colors resembling Mexican flag (red, white, green). According to Chef Valdez, this is a good food to serve when you want to cut the cost, as Mexican people usually use the tortilla leftovers as the ingredients of this soup. The taste is so unforgettably delicious, with so many things going on even in one spoon. <3
Sopa Azteca a.k.a. Tortilla Soup
Tenderloin Sope was the next.
Sope is like a thick tortilla with vegetables and meat toppings, which usually is roughly the size of a fist. The tortilla alike base is called masa (dough) which is made from corn and made into a circle with pinched sides. The masa was thick and tasteless, but it helped neutralizing the rich-flavored tenderloin and veggie inside. The meat was exceptionally good, tender and tasty, it was refreshing paired with the salsa and cilantro.
Following the good sope, we were spoiled with the Snapper Veracruz style, which looked breath-takingly pretty and appetizing at the same time. The grilled snapper is put on top of the fried rice, and garnished with bell peppers, jalapeno stick, and cilantro. Have I told you that one of the reasons why I love Mexican cuisine is that they never leave cilantro in their food? XD
The grilled snapper was perfectly cooked, made it soft and smooth and leaving no smell whatsoever. The fried rice was simple, aromatic, and made my tongue dancing. However, a major disappointment from this dish is that it actually came in fine-dining portion, means it’s too small, LOL!
For the dessert, we had Churros and Chipotle Flan with Cajeta. The churros were great addition to the dessert plate and the size was good. They are short and fluffy, very crunchy and not overly sweet. The Chipotle Flan had a bold flavor, thanks to the chipotle which gave a spicy kick on the bottom. The cajeta (sweetened caramelized milk) was sweet and fragrant, perfectly paired up with the tropical fruits.
After 5 course menu we had that night, I still felt I hadn’t had enough! Seriously, the food served for the dinner were great, and each of them had its own story why they were presented that night. I and Mr. K really had fun and sitting there for more than 3 hours, we were so happy to learn so many things about these food, meeting new foodie friends, and especially meeting such a charismatic, brilliant chef like Chef Lamberto Valdez.
Last but not least, we really hope to go back real soon for a more satisfying orders of Mexican cuisine. Thanks to Zomato and Bengawan for hosting the meetup and also for having us!
Visited on: 28 February 2015
** The Food Escape team are not paid whatsoever for writing this post.
Keraton at The Plaza
Jl. M.H. Thamrin No.15
Central Jakarta 10350
Ph. +62 21 5068 0000
Ph. +62 21 5068 0000