At the main entertainment house de Soematra 1910 the meals are promising. The place, a restored 1910 Dutch Colonial architecture in Surabaya (Indonesia), has been converted into an entertainment house. For more information on this, read this blog entry.
The place is not a walk-in restaurant, although that is in the works and will occupy a new annex, separated from the main house; instead, reservations must be made at the latest two-days in advance, at which time the guests must also express his/her preferences for the menu. There are plenty to choose from, beginning with Asian (Indonesian, Chinese, Thai, etc.) to Western (French, Italian, American, Mexican). As of this writing, price starts at IDR 200,000.00 per person for the Asian menu, and IDR 300,000.00 per person for the Western menu. Prices subject to change.
On this day, during the period of soft opening (the Grand Opening is scheduled to be some time in July), I have chosen the French menu, consisting of Salade de crevettes, Soupe à l’oignon, Steak, and a Crème Brulée dessert. Lunch took place at the Indigo Room, one of the two formal dining rooms at de Soematra.
Unlike the traditional French onion soup that is placed in its special dish/bowl, with the broth at the bottom, covered with bread and sealed with cheese, this one came in a more regular soup (or pasta) plate, with only the onion soup in place. Accompanying this plate of soup are two slices of baguette, topped with cheese. One dips both bread in the soup, et voilà, your traditional Soupe à l’oignon. The taste was just perfect.
The main entrée, the Steak, was perfectly done. I was actually not consulted on the steak preference (comme d’habitude, saignant or rare); instead, the steak came medium rare, but the texture and taste were both delightful. If anything, I should not have allowed the waiter to sprinkle extra pepper. Obviously new at his job, the waiter ground too much fresh pepper at once. The motion of the pepper grinder should have been swift and with little rotation.
The saying is that “any restaurant can do a Crème Brulée” and, therefore, this item should have been avoided. But here in Surabaya, this dessert is relatively new, and when done, not everyone could get the taste right. This one, on the other hand, was done well. Not only did it taste delicious, but it was also decorated simply but nicely: Topped with a spoon-shaped cookie that cradled a raspberry.
To close the experience, tea and coffee were served. Today, because of availability of space, we were given the option of having the drinks at either the café proper in the back (or the outdoor terrace seating; thanks but no thanks because of the humidity and the heat), the library, or one of the two sitting areas not too far from the Indigo Room. We opted for the sitting room adjacent to the Indigo Room where we partook the meal.
Architect Hidajat Endramukti of Endramukti Design, responsible for the restoration and renovation of this place, was trained in Delft, Holland. His penchant for Indonesia’s olden days of Dutch colonialism (the culture and tradition, not the oppression) is very evident all around the interior, down to the placement of glass jars filled with schuimpjes or tiny meringues. They were meant to be decorative elements, but the ones here are real meringues, not some simulacra of them made real-looking like those found in Japanese restaurant window display.
de Soematra 1910 is still tinkering with many things during this soft opening, so it is understandable that it will experience some growing pain with regard to the staff. Today, for each plate that was served, there was no announcement of what each dish was. There was no attention to where the restaurant-logo-customed plates were placed. As a comparison, Mariage Frères at Ginza Tokyo would make sure that the logo on the plate is placed at the diner’s 12 o’clock spot.
Linda Lim, Founder and Director of the Autism Treatment Center of Surabaya, a photo by bloompy on Flickr.
I would like to thank the luncheon guest joining us today: The lovely Ms. Linda Lim, the Founder and Director of the Autism Treatment Center of Surabaya.
de Soematra 1910
Jalan Sumatera 75
East Java 60281
Tel: +62 (031) 5010-666
Fax: +62 (031) 5023-666
de Soematra 1910, a set on Flickr.