Although the name Hanna Tjhin might sound unfamiliar to them, many Jakartans have eaten in one, perhaps both, of her restaurants. Wilshire is a bar and kitchen serving dishes inspired by American street food culture. Bottega Ristorante is quite different, a European fusion restaurant.
Wilshire, Hanna’s first foray as a restaurateur, came about from the culinary influences she imbibed while studying in Los Angeles with friend-turned-partner Dolly Chia. The name of the eatery derives from one of LA’s longest streets, which extends from downtown Los Angeles to Beverly Hills.
“California is full of immigrants pursuing the Californian Dream— immigrants from Korea, China, Mexico, Thailand and many other countries. These immigrants have introduced foods from their respective cultures to California, creating a modern cuisine, which Wilshire aims to introduce to the local culinary scene,” Hanna says.
Hanna and Dolly’s partnership extends to their second restaurant, Bottega Ristorante. The restaurant was originally located in RDTX Tower, but is now relocating to Fairgrounds in the SCBD. It will officially reopen this month with the addition of Dirty Laundry, an intimate brandy and cognac-focused lounge adjacent to the restaurant.
Hanna’s food venture continues on with one-month-old Rock Paper Scissors (RPS), a bistro serving modern Japanese food. Thus the name that comes from the Japanese traditional zero-sum hand game.
“While Wilshire and Bottega are more well-known for celebratory occasions, RPS has a more casual and unintimidating concept. It is located in an office building, thus the space that aims to be a green oasis for the professionals around the area,” Hanna says.
RPS’s interior design is inspired by the outdoor greenery and glass house. The bistro itself is divided into three spaces: a coffee corner, a bar and a dining area. Hanna’s cousin, Cla Lisca, who spent five years studying at Nagoya Culinary School, is Head Chef. In the sea of Japanese restaurants in Jakarta, RPS might have the upper hand by offering Yoshoku dishes, a type of East-meets-West cuisine developed in Japan.
“Rock” is a code name for breakfast food at the restaurant, with fun offerings like Deconstructed Shibuya Toast, a modification of French toast. “Paper” stands for the lunch menu, with crowd-pleasing entries like Spam Dashitzuke, featuring the hip Spam meat, rice and egg and also the trendy Tuna Poke Bowl. “Scissors”, on the other hand, is for dinner menu that are as filling as they are experimental. Recommended entries include Striploin and Truffle Don.
At the bar, Singapore’s popular mixologist Nick Lim serves specialty cocktails. The coffee corner at RPS is the brainchild of Hanna’s fiancé, the reigning winner of Indonesia Barista Championship (IBC) Yoshua Tanu. Besides tending to their new venture, the couple are preparing for their wedding in October.
Hanna is very blessed that she has reliable business partners, who help her stay objective in making decisions. At the moment, Hanna is also working on her new ventures, including Onsen, a beauty and spa providing private Japanese-style hot bath. When it opens in the middle of the year, it will be the first of its kind in Jakarta.
With three restaurants to manage, a few upcoming ventures to plan and a wedding to come, how does Hanna manage to stay on top of things? “I plan, delegate and prioritise my time efficiently. Also, I have a strong support from my partners and employees to whom I rely on.”
Every day, Hanna visits at least one outlet to check on developments. One thing that
keeps her going is her love for the service and hospitality industry. Also, her personal aspiration to follow in her father’s footstep. “My father has created a business that has been sustainable for more than 40 years, yet he is very kind, humble and extremely content. I aspire to be like him in the things I do. I am nowhere near the definition of successful and I aspire to be more like him.”
Hanna admits that opening successful restaurants is a tricky business in Indonesia. There are times when the erratic custom regulations result in desired ingredients not arriving on time, if at all. “We just have to adapt and find other alternatives,” she says. By always believing that there is always a solution to every problem, it is no wonder that Hanna can run a few businesses at once while staying sane.
The full feature has been published in Prestige March 2017, The Food Issue. Click here to purchase.
Jewellery: Tiffany & Co.
Photography: Robin Alfian
Fashion Direction: Peter Zewet
Styling: Koko Namara
Hair: Inaro Ahmad
Location: Tori Ya at Noble House Building