A tie-up between New York–based chef and restaurateur Cédric Vongerichten and his famous father, Jean-Georges, Vong Kitchen at the Alila SCBD Jakarta hotel seats guests in a bistro-style dining room or on the shaded street-side terrace, which comes alive after dark. The Vongerichtens have put the kitchen in the capable hands of chef de cuisine Matthew Byk, who applies modern French techniques to European-American fare with more than a touch of global influences. Ingredients from Indonesia and abroad are parlayed into dishes like squid-ink spaghetti featuring blue crab caught in the waters off Lombok, the next island over from Bali. Locally grown tomatoes and chilies star in the homemade ricotta with roasted pepper, cherry tomato, and a tomato-chili jam for a symphony of sweet and savory flavors. Gloriously fatty bone marrow is complemented by the spice and acidity of harissa; Norwegian salmon fillet, cooked low and slow, comes served in a piquant ratatouille with drops of cilantro oil.
Don’t miss the crispy roasted broccoli dressed in shavings of parmesan cheese and plated on a bed of chunky salsa verde slash pistachio pesto. It’s so addictively good that picky eaters who would ordinarily steer clear of the woody vegetable might just become converts. Sweet tooths have plenty to look forward to as well, whether it’s the chocolate lava cake (a Jean-Georges Vongerichten specialty), flaky Vong cheese rolls with a lemony filling, or a feather-light white chocolate and yuzu pavlova. —James Louie