Recently, Prestige visits Giói’s new branch in Menteng to try Asian fusion dishes that are loved by foodies in Jakarta. Since opening its first branch in Senopati in 2016, Giói has been known for delicious Asian fusion food that appeals to the Indonesian palate. It’s difficult to pinpoint what exactly are the flavours and dishes that Indonesians really like, but if you see a constantly crowded restaurant, with a few customers, lined up outside, that’s when you know it’s a place you should visit.
It seems that Giói’s owners have figured this out because you can expect the same quality and flavours when you visit their second branch, in Menteng. It’s refreshing that the charming little neighbourhood is not as packed as its sister in the south, and workers in nearby buildings would surely see Giói Menteng as a breath of fresh air.
When we visited, the new restaurant was in festive spirits with Christmas decorations and songs. The building comprises two levels and can accommodate up to 150 guests. The first floor is the main dining area and features two VIP rooms. The ambiance feels intimate even though the place is huge.
There’s a lot of blue accents around the room, as well as oranges and greens. The walls are papered and hung with framed pictures, and there’s a book shelf in the corner with some serious cookbooks. The servers are attentive and helpful, and quite willing to recommend their favourite dishes. One big plus is a lift for the disabled and elderly. There’s a small outdoor area for guests’ dogs as well.
We took the spiral staircase to the second floor. This space is more or less the same size, although it feels wider as it mostly consists of sofas in red and crème hues. There’s a stage in the centre for live music, a staple in hangout places in Jakarta these days, a glass roof and another two VIP rooms. The bar is far bigger than the one downstairs. While the first floor is smoke-free, the second is not.
The food was served as soon as we took our seats. At Giói, they don’t mess around with ingredients. They grow their own hydroponic produce on a farm in Ciawi, West Java. The result? Fresh organic vegetables on your plate. Another plus point is a separate vegetarian menu.
Asian Steak Tartare and Asinan Menteng were the first dishes to come to the table. The latter was a big plate of crunchy cabbage, beansprouts and lettuce, with peanut sauce on the side. You mix and match your preferred vegetables with the sauce. Traditionally, the vegetables come with yellow noodle crackers on the side, but here they are served with different crackers. The steak tartare is marinated beef mixed with caramelised tempe and pickled jicama, with savoury quinoa crackers on the side.
Next came two big main courses: Sandong Chicken and Char-Grilled Rendang Chicken. The first is typical east coast Chinese food with a black vinegary sauce. The chicken is cooked twice, boiled then deep-fried, making the skin crispy and the meat tender. The sauce is tasty and not overly pungent. As for the rendang dish, the chicken is tender and the spice quite pronounced. Nevertheless, Giói serves it with three kinds of sambal. For anyone who loves spicy food, this one is a must try. Both main courses are huge portions, so sharing between two or three people is the ideal way to eat it all. To finish off, there’s a choice of Tropical Cheesecake Parfait with seasonal fruits (passion fruit at the time of our visit) and Giói’s rendition of Halo-Halo, a popular cold dessert from the Philippines.
It’s easy to understand why people keep going back to Giói. It’s that feel-good factor: a cosy ambiance, friendly servers and excellent food that doesn’t try too hard. You can’t beat the locations either. All in all, a second visit to Giói Menteng is a must, if only to try their Signature Crispy Duck and Salmon Lodeh.
Photo credit: Sunaryo
Jl. Dr. Kusuma Atmaja No.85, RT.10/RW.4, Menteng, Kec. Menteng, Kota Jakarta Pusat, Daerah Khusus Ibukota Jakarta 10310
Hours: Closes 12AM