We'd caught a late flight into Jakarta, and didn't want to venture beyond the hotel's annexed mall that late at night. So it was serendipitous that we ended up at The Playground for dinner. It was just about the only place that was still open that wasn't a smoking area-only bar.
The Playground, a restaurant cum sports bar, opens till 2am on weekends, and serves up Indonesian-western fusion fare. We loved the whimsical playground concept, guaranteed to bring out the child in every adult. There were swings for seats, harnessed by ropes from the ceiling. And there were spinning teacup-like tables, which were awesome fun to spin around in.
The fusion fare was fair but forgettable. The Playground really shone in the traditional Indonesian dishes. I'd definitely recommend it as a must-try if you're staying at the Grand Hyatt and the midnight munchies hit.
The Ayam Bakar Krengsengan (Rg85,000), grilled chicken blanketed in a thick kickass sambal, was fantastic. The chicken was moist and succulent, and the sambal was as spicy as it was sweet.
This was served alongside rice, tempe and crackers. Loved the tempe. Come to think of it, I haven't had any bad tempe in Indonesia. Ever.
The Betawi Beef Ribs (Rg95,000), grilled beef ribs bathed in a coconut milk-based broth, dotted with emping, rice, asian mashed potato cake and sided by achar and sambal, was outstanding as well. The ribs were fall-off-the-bone tender, and balanced out by the sumptuous soup, rich and spicy and creamy at all once. Possibly the best soup betawi I've ever had.
The Sateghetti (Rg68,000), Indonesian-style spaghetti tossed in a mild peanut sauce and served with chicken skewers, was pedestrian, but the chicken satay was luscious. If anything, I'd order the satay, sans spaghetti
The Opak Chos (Rg50,000), Indonesian-style chili nachos, with fish crackers and a chilli padi-spiked mince, was another middling dish caused by the unfortunate fusing of the east and west. The crackers were limp and soggy by the mince.
Another must-try, the Martabak Traditional (Rg35,000) is totally unlike our murtabak. This was a dessert crepe of sorts, similar to our peanut pancake, but a lot more decadent and an absolute calorie bomb. Apparently, if it isn't dripping with fat, it isn't martabak.
Margarine, chocolate sprinkles, crushed peanuts, grated cheese and condensed milk are layered upon a chewy pancake dough, making for a most intensely sweet and savoury crepe. This was the only fusion dish that I thought excellent.
Also, don't miss out on their Buy 3 Bintang Get 1 Free Promo (Rg135,000). That's like S$3.50 for each bottle of citrusy soda pop beer! Love that it's so cheap to get drunk here. :)
Plaza Indonesia Extension 4th Floor
Lantai 4, Jl. MH. Thamrin,
Tel: (021) 29923747/48
Open Mondays to Thursdays from 11am to 12midnight;
Fridays to Sundays from 11am to 2am