A farewell is as good an excuse as any for an extravagant luncheon experience at one of Jakarta’s elite 5-star hotels, and thus I found myself invited to the Ritz Carlton‘s Pacific Place Restaurant today.
After a slightly confusing passage from the Pacific Place shopping centre carpark below, skirting the grand building, and through a security check complete with body scan, we eventually emerged from the lift directly into the desserts section of a superb buffet which sprawled across a large swathe of the dining room.
Though not usually a fan of stiff and ostentatious surrounds, the Ritz’s ambience was elegant but warm, and the staff quietly attentive yet not intrusive, approachable but not imposing. We were led to a corner table with a vista that spanned more than 180 degrees over the Jakartan metropolis, set elegantly but simply with a black tablecloth and place settings.
As each person set out to explore the smorgasbord on offer, each returned with a new discovery – each impeccably presented, distinctive, and (in most cases) highly appealing (I’m not a fan of chicken liver brulee, so that was an exception in my opinion!). Asian staples such as beef rendang, steamed rice, and chicken wonton, complemented exotic preparations from every continent – even the eggs benedict with smoked salmon succeeded in elevating a humble café favourite to a new level. Pork on mantau, beef ribs, peking duck, poached salmon… – and all this before we even got to the desserts.
Dessert could have been a meal in itself – I didn’t count, but I imagine there were at least 30 different offerings to select from, including Vanilla Panna Cotta Raspberry Compote alongside 3 or 4 similar ‘sibling’ gourmet desserts; fresh fruits as exotic as dragonfruit, kiwi, and tropical favourites such as melon and pineapple; a dozen ice cream varieties (try the mocha – yum!) and raspberry sorbet, with 20+ toppings for good measure; cakes; fondue… I can’t go on, I feel full just thinking about it!!
And, unusually for Jakarta, all of this was nicely completed by a comprehensive range of wines, juices, sodas, and very satisfactory coffees and teas (including my regular, café latté).
Naturally, dining at the Ritz Carlton is never a cheap occasion – but this is not about “value” – this is a special occasion, where every fine detail is perfect. If you’d like to spoil yourself once in a while, definitely consider a visit to the Ritz Carlton Pacific Place Restaurant.