The OPEN restaurant in the new DoubleTree by Hilton Jakarta is a modern, all-day dining restaurant with 3 show kitchen stations that serve local Indonesian, Asian and Western cuisines.
We were the first vegan guests to dine in their new restaurant and we were treated to a dinner full of vegan delights, it was a tasty culinary experience that vegan guests (or non-vegan guests) should not miss out on.
All the amazing vegan food we tried was created by Executive Chef Zul and his team, who were on hand to answer our questions about vegan Indonesian food and ingredients.
Chef Zul must have had some inside knowledge as to how to find a way into our vegan hearts, as our first dish contained hummus, every vegan’s best friend.
Our ‘Turkish Meze Platter’ had little servings of babaganoush, hummus, ezme and tabbouleh served with marinated black olives and freshly baked pitta breads on a stylish black slate.
The babaganoush had a hint of smoke flavour which mixed perfectly with fresh flavours of lemon, onion and tomato. Finely chopped, soft, smoky aubergine combined with fresh tomato, subtle garlic flavours and lemon juice and garnished with parsley and juicy pomegranate seeds; this was an excellent example of how good this simple dish can be.
The tabbouleh was packed full of fresh parsley with zesty lemon flavours making each mouthful incredibly cleansing and fresh. Small grains of wheat scattered throughout, gave an additional texture to the herb laden mix.
The ezme was rich, sweet and flavoursome with tomato paste. There was just the right amount of chilli spiciness to add to the fresh flavours of tomato, pepper and lemon juice.
And the hummus? We’ve eaten a lot of hummus in our vegan lives, it’s one of those beautifully simple creations that can be nothing short of heavenly when executed well. We’re pleased to say the hummus on our meze platter did not disappoint. Good amounts of tahini, subtle garlic and a tang of lemon blended with the chick peas and olive oil to make a creamy, smooth delight.
We’d happily give this hummus the Vegan Food Quest seal of approval.
The success of our vegan meal at OPEN was at risk as we heard that our second course was to be a gado-gado salad. We’ve eaten a lot of gado-gado on our Vegan Food Quest travels, because we love peanut sauce.
Sadly though, we are often disappointed by what we get served which has often consisted of over cooked vegetables in sludgy peanut sauce that’s too sweet. But as soon as Chef Zul presented us with our second course, we sighed with relief.
Could this be the first time we had found a gado-gado salad to remember?
It certainly was, this gado-gado salad was awesome!
Green spinach, crunchy long beans and beansprouts, meaty tempeh chunks, lightly fried tofu and cubed ‘rice cakes’ were tossed in the most exquisite peanut sauce we have tasted on our Vegan Food Quest travels and then garnished with crispy fried garlic and ’emping’ crackers.
This peanut sauce was spicy hot with chilli and ‘blue ginger’ (a small, strong variety of fresh ginger) and deliciously sweet from tamarind and palm sugar. The emping crackers, which are made from the crushed melinjo nut, were crunchy with a nutty, earthy, slightly bitter taste which was the perfect balance to the rest of the dish.
This was a wonderful combination of flavours and textures all in one joyful vegan offering.
Our next course was a green pea and mint soup which invoked memories of a glorious English Summer. It was light and fresh, but also creamy, smooth and buttery. Fresh peas added variety of texture between spoonfuls.
We loved this tasty soup, full of sweet green pea flavour, from the first to last spoonful.
Our vegan feast at OPEN was in full swing, with dish after dish of amazing vegan food arriving in front of us. Imagine our excitement when we heard that a tofu burger was on its way… Could this meal get any more vegan friendly?
Indeed, it could…
Light, crunchy, olive oil rich, herbed focaccia rolls with a generous ‘steak’ of griddled firm, white tofu topped with ratatouille, the tofu had a subtle flavour which was enhanced by generous seasoning before being sizzled on the grill.
The texture was perfect for a burger, being firm but moist & juicy, and the rich ratatouille worked well with the subtle tofu and the decadent focaccia bun, which oozed a little with olive oil when squeezed.
This burger went straight into our Vegan Food Quest ‘Burger Hall of Fame’.
We just about had enough room to try some Indonesian fried rice, packed with fresh vegetables and garnished with more ’emping’ crackers.
And so after all these savoury delights, it was time for dessert; a pleasing trio of local Indonesian sweets which were 100% vegan and 100% delicious.
‘Kolak Pisang’, a sweet coconut milk soup with sweet potato and banana, was surprisingly light with an almost fruity, lemony banana taste.
‘Bubur ketan hitam’, a black rice pudding, was velvety in texture. It had caramel sweetness from the palm sugar and was creamy and indulgent from the coconut milk.
Our favourite was the ‘ongol-ongol’ made from tapioca and sugar and rolled in fresh coconut. It was like a softer version of Turkish Delight and was subtly flavoured with fresh ginger. This little jelly-like sweet melted in our mouths (accompanied by our very satisfied “mmmm” sounds).
We couldn’t fault the warm, friendly service we experienced from the staff in OPEN. A lovely welcome as we were shown to our table, attentive service throughout our meal making sure our plates were cleared, our wine glasses were full and any questions were answered. All the staff took time to ask us whether we were enjoying ourselves (which we were by the way).
The decor is modern and the restaurant space is light and airy. Walls of glass combine with light natural wood and striking ornaments to give a fresh, clean and energetic feel to the dining area with the live kitchens adding to the vibrant atmosphere.
OPEN is located on the ground floor of the DoubleTree by Hilton Jakarta. The restaurant (and hotel) is centrally located, being 4.2km from the Central Business District and easily reached by taxi.
We looked though the wine list and found a lovely 2011, Domaine du Tariquet, Sauvignon Blanc that was vegan (all wines by this grower are suitable), it went really well with the dishes we ate.
Vegan lagers and a wide range of soft drinks were also available (the coffee made by the OPEN barista was very enjoyable).
The usual menu contains vegan and vegetarian items but we recommend you make contact beforehand. Everyone was very accommodating to our vegan diet and didn’t seem phased by adapting dishes that we wanted to try. We are always impressed when when a restaurant responds in this positive way.
Please read the hotel review from our recent stay at DoubleTree by Hilton, Jakarta which includes pictures of more delicious vegan food!
Make a reservation at OPEN if you want tantalising vegan food served in a relaxed, light and modern environment by friendly and helpful staff.
Indulge in Western vegan favourites or try vegan versions of local Indonesian or Asian cuisine resulting in a vegan meal that will leave you smiling.
We were guests of OPEN but please rest assured that their generosity in hosting us didn’t influence our views.
Jl Pegangsaan Timur
Telephone: +62 21 3190 4433