I remember when my parents often said ‘don’t play with your food’. Well, this restaurant is all about chef Adrian Ishak play around with his food (on your face, parents) ! his kitchen, with all the equipment that looks like chemistry lab, magically transform many Indonesian cuisine into something that you wouldn’t probably believe.. is edible, such as pencil that taste like chicken, black spoon that taste like shrimp crackers, lit candle that taste like fried banana. Molecular Gastronomy is a subdiscipline of food science that seeks to investigate the physical and chemical transformations of ingredients that occur in cooking. The whole theme of the restaurant is ‘Fun Dining’ and ‘What you see is NOT what you get’. And how about the taste? follow on..
Address: Jl. Gunawarman No.42 Kby. Baru Kota Jakarta Selatan, Daerah Khusus Ibukota Jakarta 12110 (map)
Phone: (021) 33061000 (reservation required before 3pm of the arrival date)
Website: namaazdining.com (you can also reserve online)
Entry Time: between 6.30 pm to 8.00 pm
Dress Code: None
Price per Pax: IDR 1,250,000 (pay in advance upon booking)
Special Occassion: Tell them in advance if you are having a birthday or wedding anniversary
Other: 17 course dining! make sure you come empty-stomach.
I reserved the 6.30pm entry time but i came 20 minute late due to traffic. If you are not familiar with Senopati area, i suggest you to use Waze or Google map for navigation, as many streets in Senopati are one way only, skipping one turn makes you take another round route to reach the place.
The restaurant looks like a residential house with small parking area. Upon parking the car, the security guard lead me to the entrance in where the waitress warmly welcome with smile and show me my table.
The whole ambience of the restaurant feels simple, homey, with not to dim yellowish lighting. My table are only covered with black tablecloths and a glass of mineral water (they don’t serve any beverages), the mineral water helps to neutralise your palette between courses.
After seated, the chef himself came and greet, introduced himself and explained the concept of ‘Fun Dining’ and ‘What you see is NOT what you get’. He also explained that current season is ‘All Favourites’, which means they are serving most favourite choices from last year season. Soon after he left, the waitress start serving all the 17 courses, in span of 2 hours 30 minutes. And every courses hold a surprise.. and i keep the surprises by not spoiling to you what each food actually taste like.
For a start, i was given what looks like a medicine tablet with small tube of water and a 15cm colourful ruler with all 17 courses title written on it. The magic starts now..
So small tablet is actually a wet towel to wash your hand! there goes the first and last spoiler of the entire post.. read on.
1st course name: Tartar
What it looks like: two slices of raw beef and raw eggs
its sweet and the egg is really.. mouth blowing
2nd Course name: Kertas
What it looks like: Pencil sharpener, a wooden pencil, and paper
The way to eat this is by pouring the shredded pencils into the paper and folding the pencil with the paper. Dip the pencil into the sauce on top of the pencil sharpener. Its a savoury appetizer!
3rd Course Name: Cabe2an
What it looks like: a small canapé with fresh chilli on top
It taste spicy, but apparently not because of the chilli!
4th Course Name: Pempek (Traditional Palembang Fish Cake)
What it looks like: Poached half-boiled Egg in a Jar
well.. the course name kinda spoil the fun. Yes it taste like Pempek, but the texture is still very surprising.
5th Course Name: Donat
What it looks like: 2 piece of small donut, a tea jar and a tea cup with tea bag
The tea bag is edible! and it makes perfect combination with the donut and the soup inside the tea jar! brillian!
6th Course Name: Sendok
What it looks like: a white escargot with its innards and meat pulled to a black spoon
use the small wooden stick to pull out the remaining of the escargot inside, and eat it together with the spoon. Don’t worry, its not real escargot meat
7th Course Name: Ada Udang di Balik Batu (“a shrimp behind stone”, a famous Indonesian proverbs)
what it looks like: a fresh shrimp on top of black powder and a small stone
The stone won’t break your teeth and that black powder has very strong salty flavour.
8th Course Name: Rujak
What it looks like: a cylinder ice filled with.. white orange pulp?
again the course name revealed what the dishes is. Its a cold rujak which is very refreshing. To eat this, break the ice and mix well the contents. Only the ice cube that is too thick making the dishes gets very cold.
9th Course Name: Rokok (cigarette), the staff also call it ‘dragon breath’
What it looks like: Cigarettes on ashtray
Its a rendition of traditional childhood snack, Permen Rokok. So the cigarette is made frozen with liquid nitrogen upon served and i supposed to eat it all together. i did it and i breath like dragon :p. the smaller cigarette taste sweet and the ashes taste savoury
10th Course Name: Areng
What it looks like: a burnt paper with some text typed on it, and burnt charcoal
I can’t help but laugh at what reads like an obscene paragraph on the burnt paper. The paper is edible and so does the charcoal. The charcoal has a very nice texture and strong flavour of my favourite meat. genious
11th Course Name: Paha
what it looks like: Chicken Drumstick with seasoned rice
Well, its not chicken. And this course is the most disappointing as it taste rather bland and lacking seasoning.
12th Course Name: Rendang
what it looks like: cured beef steak with shredded beef (or beef floss) on top. served with white sauce and thin sliced of green veggies
Namaaz should stop naming the course after what the dishes taste like to keep the surprise. This course is rendition of Beef Rendang, Well.. i prefer the old fashioned Beef Rendang than this.
13th Course Name: Kelapa
What it looks like: a vanilla ice cream and a ball of jelly
this is the first dessert entry. the jelly ball has many things on it, everything taste sweet
14th Course Name: Soap / Pencuci Mulut (also means Desert in English)
What it looks like: A brown soap, with its bubble
This is one of my favourite! not only it looks beautiful, the moment i munch the soap, i’m craving for more!
15th Course Name: Tete (Boobs in English)
What it looks like: Kue Tete?
The dishes is prepped on my table by the waitress and its funny that she ask ‘cubit tete nya’. I did as she told, and its surprising how solid the texture is.
16th Course Name: Tea
what it looks like: a glass of tea
imagine ‘warm ice tea’ (es teh hangat)
17th Course Name: Chocolate
what it looks like: a chocolate ball with sugar coating
before they serve this last course, the Chef Adrian Ishak came to my table, said thanks, asked for our opinion and also told us that they will change the theme on April (this is how they renew the menu and keep the customer coming back), he then handed me a raincoat. After wearing the raincoat, the waitress came and served the chocolate and pour some dry ice into it, what happen next? it got messy everywhere! hiding your phone behind the table is a very good idea at this point
So that’s all the 17 courses. it was very fullfiling and i started to feel full on 11th / 12th course. Every courses is fun to eat, surprising and very often it makes you wonder how they hell the chef made something like this. But, if we put aside all the beautiful form of the food, the unique creation, the fun factor and etc, how does it really taste? i have mixed opinion for this. Reminding the fact that every food here is a rendition of Indonesian Dishes, Indonesian Street Snack and Indonesian Dessert, i cant help but to compare Namaaz’s food taste against what taste its trying to achieve. 1st, 4th, 7th, 8th, 9th, 10th, 14th and 17th are the winner here. While the rest.. made me question ‘would i pay that amount of money to taste something that taste similar, if not worse, than normal indonesian restaurant or street food?’. But hey, the fun part had to cover the lack of taste here. In summary, almost all the dessert and appetiser taste good (again, despite how they look), but almost all main courses are lacking in seasoning or not strongly flavoured for Indonesian taste.
Is it worth it then? ABSOLUTELY. will i come back? only if they change the whole menu. For me, dining at Namaaz is like watching a good piece of action movie. You know all the act already, you will only come back and watch for their next film.