Ajeng G. Anindita discovers Sudestada, a little slice of Argentina in Menteng, whose Asado-style dining experience is a heaven for meat lovers.
Blink and you’ll miss it. That’s quite how hidden away Sudestada is. But as soon as you find the restaurant, you’ll be impressed by the open-air patio and the warmth the place exudes. Its name literally means “powerful wind”, believed to bring good luck in Argentinian culture.
Tucked away in Menteng, the first thing you notice about the place is its floor-to-ceiling glass panels and red brick walls. We are told by one of the patrons that the interior resembles a grand Argentinian house.
There’s a pleasant charm to be enjoyed as soon as you step inside the restaurant. The brick walls are adorned with cultural and hobby objects, such as polo gear and Argentinian ponchos, a nod to the chef’s homeland.
There’s a huge framed photo of the El Caminito building, a landmark destination in the La Boca district of Buenos Aires, and the high ceilings give the space an airy feel as well as natural daylight. The restaurant feels genuinely welcoming, without trying too hard.
A bright yellow spiral staircase goes up to the second floor, where the space is slightly smaller but more private, with dangling plants and flowers decorating the neoclassical arched balconies, a typical Argentinian architectural feature. Outside, you will find a charming patio with water feature and an expansive outdoor courtyard.
Sudestada offers a “Latin-inspired menu with an Argentinian flair”, helmed by Chef Victor Taborda. A native Argentinian, he spent his childhood helping out his in father’s steakhouse and was trained to prepare food for his siblings. He continued his passion for cooking at Instituto Argentino de Gastronomia in Buenos Aires, and he has worked alongside Dani Garcia, a three-Michelin starred chef in Tragabuches Restaurant in Malaga. He was also Executive Chef at La Veranda Restaurant at the Ritz-Carlton Marbella, and is one of the team behind Cloud Lounge & Dining in Jakarta.
A sharing concept seems to be on the rise among restaurants in Jakarta. Sudestada is part of this trend, as it offers Asado, which in Argentina and other South American countries is a traditional social event where people gather to enjoy a barbecue accompanied by red wine and salads.
At Sudestada, the meat is the main star on the menu. Meat lovers will enjoy its signature hand-cut beef empanada, a special recipe passed down from the chef’s grandmother, and Matambre. The latter is grilled rose meat (the thin layer of meat between the ribs and the skin), religiously blanketed with a chimichurri sauce that’s made daily in the kitchen.
The grilled meat choices include Ojo de Bife (rib eye), Bife de Chorizo (striploin) and Tira de Asado (short ribs), as well as house-made Salchicas (minced pork) and beef sausages that are a staple of Argentina’s cuisine, made fresh in house and lightly seasoned with paprika before being grilled until juicy.
For dessert, the chef recommended the Argentinian classics Dulce de leche or caramelised milk jam. The crunch bite-size Churros con dulce de leche and Flan Caramelo are exceptionally delicious without being overly sweet.
Sudestada’s bar offers an array of innovative cocktails from Sudestada Whisky Sour to the classic Sangria. The restaurant is also “the proud home of the best of the Mendoza region and Malbec varietal, with exclusive Argentinian wines, including pours from Norton Reserva and Trapiche”.
A little slice of Argentina in Jakarta – that would perfectly describe this restaurant. If you think South America is a little too far away for your liking, then you might want to eat at Sudestada to have a little glimpse of Argentina’s culture.