Even though Jakarta is the largest city in Southeast Asia, the food of our neighbors in the region, especially Thailand and Vietnam, remains woefully underrepresented. Will Meyrick, the man behind Bali’s much celebrated Sarong and Mama San restaurants, surely gave the capital’s F&B scene a major kick in the arse when he opened up E&O last year, showing that a bule was capable of crafting more authentic and delicious Southeast Asian fare than you could find almost anywhere else in the city.
While E&O is excellent (if not quite reaching the gustatory heights of its Balinese counterparts), the fact that its pricey and often booked out on weekends make it hard to justify frequent visits. Fortunately H5 (yeah, we’re not going to repeat its ridiculous full name) has stepped up to the plate, offering lovers of pan-Asian street food a delicious alternative.
Meet Mr. Phat
Located amongst a clutch of new restaurants on Grand Indonesia’s fifth floor, H5 offers a great selection of Thai and Vietnamese dishes that are consistently well rendered and reasonably priced. Though some dishes are less authentic than others, (such as the Mr. Phat (Rp. 50k), a crisp roti topped with pulled pork or beef, Asian slaw and a fried egg) if it tastes great, who really care?
While almost everything we’ve ordered on our multiple visits has been quite good, including the homey mixed rice plates and the fantastically fatty crispy pork knuckle (199k, serves 3-4) we’ll give a special shout out to the banh mi, which you can order with chicken, beef or pork (Rp. 45.5k, 49k and 48k, respectively). Served on French bread with just the right crunch-to-chew ratio and topped with crisp veggies and a bit of the requisite pate (usually missing from other local banh mi purveyors), the only thing wrong with H5’s version of the iconic Vietnamese sandwich is that it’s not quite big enough and you’ll want to order another immediately.
Howdy Hello Hola Hey Ho!
Grand Indonesia – West Mall, Jakarta,