Samsara: Authentic Indonesian food with a modern touch

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In the main room of Samsara, there is a painting,which attracts attention, from Ida Bagus Indra, a Balinese artist. The painting depicts five traditional dancers. The front woman symbolizes the elegance and confidence of Samsara. This painting is also used as a decoration for the restaurant menu. (photo: IO/Aldo)

IO, Jakarta – When reviewing the culinary menu in Jakarta, there are so many options to enjoy the culinary offerings which serves food Western to the type of menu of Asian. Arguably, there are only few restaurants that serve authentic Indonesian menu rich in spices. It was then used by one of the restaurants that have a variety of class offerings are rooted in the heritage of the local recipes. Samsara is a concept restaurant that serves authentic Indonesian cuisine in a modern way. Almost as much as the philosophy of the name is taken from Sanskrit meaning reborn, Samsara archipelago offers a variety of classic food with a modern and fresh look. Samsara has quite recently done the grand opening in August 2017 last year.

The restaurant ambiance is predominantly red, white, gold, and touch of color to the wood. From the outside, Samsara looks like an old mansion with a bright red canopy. Classic wooden chair furniture blends with modern sofa. At a glance, it is like an art gallery with paintings featuring the peculiarities of Indonesia. There are luxurious and elegant shades. Not only the restaurant, every dish is also “dressed” in such a way. Very beautiful. Seems to follow the current trend, which looks beautiful in the eyes. Samsara Restaurant in Jalan Gunawarman, Senopati, South Jakarta, presents a pretty classy element in every detail.

In the main room of Samsara, there is a painting of Ida Bagus Indra, an artist from Bali, which attracts attention. The painting depicts five women traditional dancers. The lady in the front symbolizes as Samsara, elegant and confident. The painting is used as a garnish for the restaurant menu.

Speaking of taste would be the main thing for a restaurant. Corporate Chef Samsara, Sambas Sanusi Herman, managed to elevate the class of Indonesian cuisine into the menu for fine dining restaurants. Not only does it have a beautiful appearance, but the distinctive flavors of the archipelago is also maintained. However, there are more techniques in processing the material presented in each dish. For example, the Smoked Chicken Palala that is actually for the appetizer based on the menu. This dish is inspired by Balinese cuisine matah shredded chicken with hot sauce.

Chef Sambas improved the taste by using smoked chicken. The chicken that has been marinated with sugar and salt overnight then enters the curing process.

“I use cedar,” says Sambas.

Then shredded chicken mixed with a variety of vegetables and sauce is not too spicy matah, the result is a light salad that is suitable for generating appetite. Smoked aroma of chicken mixed with cherry tomatoes and a fresh round eggplant. Then doused with chili matah like salad dressing, made of kecombrang, onion and chili pieces. Lastly, a sprinkling of roasted peanuts add a crisp sensation in this salad.

For the main course is cow’s tongue with Sambal Dabu-Dabu. This is one of my favorite dishes by Sambas. Beef tongue cooked with herbs and spices like oxtail soup but served without sauce. Beef tongue so tender and melted in the mouth. The soft texture is perfect with crispy enoki mushrooms flour fried jerky. Dabu-Dabu extra sauce typical of Manado with cherry tomatoes, add a refreshing sour taste in this dish. For dessert, Peek Ketan could be an option. Holy typical snacks using ingredients sticky rice mixed with grated coconut and then burned.

According to Communicatons and Marketing Director James Edward de Rave, the delicacies of Indonesia isn’t doubtful. But in appearance, he said Indonesia does not have beautiful food.

“The strength of Indonesian cuisine is usually the flavor and aroma, not on the visual. His appearance was not attractive. Therefore, we wish to present dishes with a better Indonesia. We want to evoke all the senses, “says James.

With a background in the culinary world Sambas Chef of France and Indonesia, it became apparent in Samsara. He was across the world of food and beverage for nearly 20 years, mostly not in Indonesia. Chef Sambas, who was born in Cianjur gained his education in  Swiss  for hospitality and culinary education in Canada.

“Rarely Indonesian people learn culinary in Canada. It was in 2001 in Vancouver, at the time of study with me there were only three people in Indonesia. I took the specific French cuisine course, well western cuisine basically, “explains Sambas.

After switching work in some restaurants, with some Indonesian colleagues Sambas then opened a restaurant in Montreal, Canada. This is the first Indonesian restaurant in Montreal. He serves classic Indonesian dishes such as rendang until chicken satay. After five years, he left the restaurant and Sambas worked in a French restaurant in Canada. He was back from zero, starting from the bottom. After 8 years, from artisan shredding the material to become executive chef and finally became a partner. Sambas decided to return home for family reasons.

“After having children, my wife encouraged me to return home to Indonesia,” he said.

Now, Sambas back to his roots, cooked dishes typical of the archipelago. However, with a touch of pretty and full of typical French culinary techniques.

As one restaurant that serves Indonesian specialties, Samsara fits into a restaurant that you can visit on weekends. (Aldo)