Keto lasagna, tiramisu, gelato, and roast beef certainly come to mind when one hears of the Oma Elly brand. But the Italian cuisine specialists recently opened a reservation-only restaurant, Oma Elly on 56, and we still can’t take our minds off the glorious meal we had the privilege of tasting a week ago.
Before the COVID-19 pandemic, Oma Elly served an open kitchen private dining experience in South Jakarta’s Setiabudi, but that was put on hold amid the public health crisis. Now that social restrictions are more lax, Oma Elly on 56 began taking reservations in mid-October, serving a 6-course Italian menu along with other a la carte options and a selection of wine and spirits.
Oma Elly on 56 is only open for dinner for now, though we sure hope they’d open for lunch service soon. When we said the restaurant elevates the Italian private dining experience, we meant that quite literally; you can have your meal and take in the gorgeous view of the Jakarta skyline from the 56th floor of Regent Jakarta in Gatot Subroto. The restaurant is decorated with a simple industrial look of concrete walls, a touch of greenery, and recycled tomato cans as lampshades, balanced with a number of chandeliers hanging from above.
Though the restaurant Oma Elly has become a major player in Italian cuisine in Indonesia in recent years, few know about the woman who inspired the creation of the brand. The story goes that Oma Elly (which translates to Grandma Elly) was an Italian woman who married an Indonesian man in the ‘50s before settling in the archipelago. She passed on her love of cooking to her children and grandchildren.
One of those grandchildren is Chef Andry Susanto, the brand’s head chef and founder, who served us and other media invitees during a private luncheon last week. Amid oohs and aahs, Andry prepared the first item off the menu that day, called 90° Caprese, in front of diners. The dish consisted of iced cheese, tomato cubes, basil, and extra virgin olive oil, with Chef Andry showing us how he froze the mozzarella with nitrogen.
We were told to whack the iced cheese before taking a bite, which ended up being quite a unique experience: we knew for sure that we were eating mozzarella, though it felt like eating ice cream. It was a pleasant way to work up our appetite as the salty cheese, which turned soft after a moment, blended well with the freshness from tomatoes and the fragrant shredded basil.
Torta came after the appetizer, which was described as “Torta di cacio e pepe and truffle.” Think of it as a savory version of chocolate lava cake; only the cake is made of almond flour and topped with grated truffles, a filling of cheese and truffle sauce, and parmigiana (or parmesan) crumble around the torta. It’s cheesy, truffle-y, and definitely perfect for those who enjoy both. The crumble added extra crunch and flavor dimension to the truffle lava “cake,” which was much appreciated.
Next came Scallop, which is wood-fired fresh scallop on the shell topped with orange-colored creamy sauce and dusted with parsley, served with a small slice of focaccia (flat leavened oven-baked Italian bread) on a bed of black beans. The scallop tasted fresh, and the light creamy sauce enhanced the sweetness of the meat. This dish also looks so photo-worthy that we were not surprised other patrons have uploaded their own snaps of Scallop, as seen on the reposted stories on Oma Elly’s Instagram page.
After Scallop, we were served with another aesthetically pleasing menu, the Foie Gras Mandili Pasta. “Mandili” means handkerchief in Italian, which explains why the dish consisted of only a sheet of pasta. Chef Andry explained that the sauce is made of foie gras that had been torched to separate the meat and fat, which was then emulsified. The pasta is so chewy that you’d know for sure that it is fresh pasta. The sauce, meanwhile, is savory and packs a punch of flavor — it is emulsified foie gras we’re talking about here after all — and the foie gras snow is a welcomed addition to the dish.
Halfway into the course, we were surprised to find ourselves feeling quite full, during which we were served an off-the-menu palate cleanser: a spoonful of melon sorbet, crispy beef prosciutto bits, and olive oil, before the main course.
Parmigiana is a breaded, house-cured USDA short ribs topped with marinara sauce, house-made fior di latte (mozzarella made of cow rather than buffalo milk), porcini, and shaved parmigiana. The beef was cured for seven days, and the texture is more like that of non-factory made corned beef. It was a bit fatty, but it was well-balanced with the fresh and salty taste from the marinara — and how could anyone complain about the cheese?
After Parmigiana, we were served with one of the items from the add-ons lineup, Steak and Egg. This dish consisted of polenta fries, onion purée, bordelaise sauce, and slow-cooked egg yolk. We liked their take on the dish and tried to mix the meat with different sauces in every bite, though we thought that the bordelaise, or the shiraz reduction sauce, quickly dominated our plate and palate as we did so. In addition, the other add-on items include Vongole with yolk cavatelli, crustacean emulsion, hokkigai (surf clam), and sea urchin air; and Atlantic Cod & Caviar.
Just before we got to dessert, we were offered to try the Margherita Pizza and were told that the dish was on the house because Oma Elly’s pet peeve was people leaving her restaurant hungry. Let’s not kid ourselves, how often have we craved for something heartier after a fancy dinner? This pizza certainly hit the spot as it was not too big, and had a soft and bouncy crust that’s a bit crispy on the outside. The fresh basil and tomato sauce with mozzarella will always be a crowd favorite, and we only wished we hadn’t been too full to enjoy another slice.
Our luncheon concluded with desserts. We were served Cookies and Ice Cream with stout-flavored gelato and a freshly baked macadamia and chocolate chip cookie, as well as Oma Elly’s famous tiramisu. The gelato had a soft stout flavor, so don’t worry if you’re not into that kind of beer, and the big cookie — which was everything you’d look for in a cookie — was still warm with a soft inner and crispy outer when it reached our table.
This also became Coconuts Jakarta’s first time trying Oma Elly’s Signature Tiramisu, and now we understand why the dessert is so hyped among many Jakartans. We’re not going to sugarcoat it — this was a truly pleasant closing to our long lunch session, especially when we’re quite the avid coffee drinker.
According to information posted on Oma Elly’s website, the 6-course menu is priced at IDR850K (US$60), with a duration of up to two hours for the whole experience. To secure their seats, customers must pay the fee in advance, with drinks and additional a la carte items being billed on site. Dinner starts from 6pm at the earliest and 8pm the latest, and all patrons must present proof of COVID-19 vaccination to enter.
Oma Elly on 56
Regent Jakarta 56th floor at Mangkuluhur City, Jl. Gatot Subroto No. Kav. 1, Karet Semanggi, South Jakarta
RSVP through Oma Elly’s website, Whatsapp: +62 813-8892-6354, or email: firstname.lastname@example.org