February 10, 2010 / 4:59 AM / 7 years ago

The Apartment makes Jakarta's diners feel at home

3 Min Read

JAKARTA (Reuters Life!) - There is a restaurant in Jakarta that promises patrons they're going to feel at home and things look promising when a pajama-wearing waiter asks if you'd like to dine in the bedroom.

The Apartment, in South Jakarta's Kuningan district, has diners at tables nestled between furniture in seven rooms that you may find in a large flat, as well as a bar.

Most guests ask the waiter for a tour of the rooms which include a kitchen, library and pantry, before they settle on the space they'd like to have their dinner.

The bathroom, complete with a large bathtub, shower head and towels, gets the loudest giggles and its five tables fill up first. The outdoor terrace with bright yellow cushions, padded sofas and bamboo garden is also popular, especially as Jakarta is a city where most restaurants are in cavernous shopping malls.

The owner, Budiman Gani, says the restaurant, which opened eight months ago, was a labor of love that took 11 years to realize.

"I just kept looking at restaurants and thought why do all restaurants have the same chairs, the same decor, the same ambience? Why can't I do something different?" said Gani.

Each room has a different character allowing diners to choose where to eat based on their mood, according to Gani.

Solo diners usually fill the library, lingering over coffee as they read books from the packed shelves. The kitchen seems to be the place for young executives holding business meetings, while the terrace attracts even more youthful diners.

But it's not just the gimmick that attracts patrons.

Jakarta-born and bred IT worker Hansel Gunawan says he comes to the restaurant often, and the drawcard is the cuisine.

"Of course I come here for the homey and relaxing atmosphere but also the food," he said.

Chef Andry Winata, who spent 10 years working in restaurants at Sydney's Bondi Beach, cooks modern European cuisine for the mixed clientele of Indonesians and expatriates.

"There is no rendang or gado-gado here," he said, referring to two famous Indonesian dishes, but said patrons are happy with the range of steaks and pasta, and his signature dishes which include Wagyu beef cheek and osso bucco.

The chef does concede that Indonesian guests often request the much-loved nasi goreng (fried rice) so he added riso fritto, his Italian take on Indonesia's national dish, to the menu.

Expats homesick for a breakfast fry-up and coffee are regular customers, according to Gani, while Friday and Saturday nights sees more visitors downing the signature cocktails of each room.

Gani said the bedroom is the most popular room at night. In fact, he has been so successful at making guests feel at home that "sometimes on a Saturday night people get too cozy on the bed," he says with a wink.

Editing by Sunanda Creagh and Miral Fahmy

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