E & O came recommended by a friend. And having readers request me to try and review this restaurant, I decided to see what the hype is all about. E & O stands for Eastern and Oriental, a mix of Vietnamese, Thai, and Burmese diner birthed from the collaboration between Australian chef Will Meyrick of award-winning Sarong and Mamasan restaurants and the creators of Loewy and Union.
First, getting a spot wasn’t easy, as expected with new eateries in Jakarta, although when we got there at 7:30 on a Saturday night, the place was hardly filled. This is also somewhat expected with new restaurants in Jakarta who claim they are fully booked yet still have plenty of empty seats and tables to accommodate guests. The overall decor and ambience is, not surprisingly, a mix of Loewy and Union, which used to be unique a few years back but is becoming more and more mundane as many restaurants try to create the same feel. We got a table for 6 right by the window, which unfortunately was unlighted and pretty much pitch dark. I think we all got what they were trying to go for–soft, mood lighting–but I doubt they were trying to cause inconvenience for eaters, which sadly, was the case for us. I love mood, candle lighting and all those pretty touches, but if I can’t even read what’s on the menu or see what I’m eating, it’s not exactly helping me to “feel” the mood of the restaurant. So we requested for several more candles on the table, as well as a little torchlight for browsing the menu. The service was decent–you could tell they trained the waiters to act and be more westernized. Our waiter introduced himself, and even spoke in English, tagging a “enjoy your dinner” line during his service.
On to the menu–their menu items, as written, were designed for sharing, the way you would in a Chinese restaurant. So the portions weren’t set for the individual, but for 2 or more. We had the pork belly as a starter which was unappetizing. I think it’s supposed to be a re-creation of the Vietnamese spring roll/Lumpia Semarang, and yes part of the fun is to roll them up yourself. But the trick with “making” your own food such as rolling your own spring rolls in lieu of letting the chef do it for you, you don’t know whether you are doing it right balancing the amount of meat, sauce, veggies, and other condiments in the wrap. This dish was plain bland and boring for me, although not everyone at our table shared the same opinion.
Appetizer: Pulled Pork Belly
Pulled Pork Belly / Peanuts / Sweet Sauce / Veggies / Lumpia Wrap
The second item we ordered was the fried pork hog. This dish was wonderfully cooked–crispy on the outside, moist on the inside. You can’t really mess up a fried pork hog, can you? The third was the mud crab served with 3 Mantou buns, which we all thought and wished had been filleted (the lighting didn’t help either). This one reminded me of the unforgettable classic: the fabulous Chili Crab at Long Beach, Singapore. This one was just okay; the flavors didn’t particularly stand out. The fourth and last item we had was the lamb curry. By the end of the meal I realized the reason I wasn’t particularly impressed by the food was the mildness and “safeness” of the flavors. To my palate, none of them had a kick to them. And price wise, you’re looking at spending in the range of at least 150-300K per person. I’d say that for the combination of everything–service, ambience, food, price–the value for money is not quite worth it. You’re better off eating at a place that’s as fancy but less pricey, or a place more fancy, more pricey but more value for money. This is my take, perhaps you disagree, let me know what you think!
Stir Fried Mud Crab
Massamon Lamb Curry
E & O
Menara Rajawali, 1st Floor
Jl. DR Ide Anak Agung Gde Agung Lot #5.1
Kawasan Mega Kuningan
Jakarta, Indonesia 12950
Mon – Sun: 11 AM – 2 AM