The first time I saw the interior of this restaurant from a magazine, I was excited because the design beckoned me to come closer, except that one can only see so much details in the page of a magazine. I promised myself that on the next trip to Jakarta, I would definitely drop in to taste the meal and soak in the ambience. Before that trip, however, per chance I was browsing through an interior design book at the Shinjuku Kinokuniya bookstore when, to my surprise, I saw the pictures of the Dragonfly restaurant. Upon closer examination, however, I realized that they were not of Dragonfly’s; instead, it was of a bar in Australia called the LOFT, which opened since July 2003 and was designed by Dale Jones Evans. The design concept was exactly the same: a spitting image of one another. Representative from the LOFT said that there was no connection between the two bars. The Dragonfly was designed by a Jakarta firm called “a2jdesign” (Ary Ade Julius, three partners design team of Bambang Ary Juwono, M. Ijus Julius Susanto, and A. Adelinah Chandrarahardja). Out of the three, Mr. Susanto was one who had worked for the Australia-based architectural firm Denton Corker Marshall. There lies the Australian connection. But so much about the design. Somehow I find it hard to believe that the Loft had copied Dragonfly, which can only mean that . . .

The food at the Dragonfly was mediocre at best. There was nothing that jumped out of the plate. We ordered plenty appetizers with which to start: The Dragonfly Baked Canadian Scallops with Thai Basil, Crunchy Golden Baby Squids (if anything, this one was good), and the Nude Green Papaya Salad (neither fresh nor biting as usually somtum or green papaya salads are). The main entrées included the Heavenly Caramelized New Zealand Oxtails with Chili Vinegar; Crispy Seabass in Passionfruit, Mango and Chili salsa; and Grilled Tiger Prawn on a Bed of Garlic Noodle. The names sound more exciting than the taste. If anything, the waiters annoyed us with their constant want to take away the one menu that we wanted to keep with us in the case we wanted to order more.

There are three rows of tables: on the one side, it was a long communal table, something that started to get trendy in New York a few years back. The middle aisle was more traditional: tables that seat 2-4 people. Then there was a low barrier before one could see another row of tables, hidden on the other side of it, at which I failed to have a peek. The back wall was decorated with what looked like undulating red petals, making the room appear sumptuous and conducive to whetting one’s appetite (good psychology!).

The adjoining lounge featured plenty of sofa seats and crisscrossing lean tables, with a floor to ceiling wooden panels with pierced and lit designs. Go to the website to get more details of the interior design.

Graha BIP
Jalan Jendral Gatot Subroto 23
Jakarta, Indonesia
+62 (021) 520-6789

The restaurant has a sister called Blowfish, a Japanese restaurant, which I have not yet attended.


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