New: Le Quartier Restaurant

Nowadays I rarely post about my eating experiences within 24 hours, mostly because I am: a) feeling lazy; or b) tired. But after what (an awkward encounter this afternoon) happened, my mind just kept gushing out words and I know I just have to struck the iron while it's hot. So here it goes...

Long story short: after watching KF Seetoh on TLC, I suddenly craved for some authentic wood fired pizza like this one. The problem is, finding one like that in Jakarta is not as easy as in Singapore. So, I thought about checking out this new restaurant in Senopati area, which I drove past last week. Like everyone else, I would google it for any references and found the website; then clicked on the menu and voila! I found the magic words "stone baked pizza" and "truffle" and set my next destination to Le Quartier at Gunawarman.


About Le Quartier
Le Quartier, which means 'the neighbourhood', is a new casual fine dining French restaurant in Jakarta founded by Chris Janssens, the restaurateur who has numerous notable names under his extensive portfolio including Ninety-Nine, Cassis, Harum Manis, etc. Find out more about him here

The Location
It is located on Jalan Gunawarman, the stretch that connects Wolter Monginsidi and Senopati; right next to Turkuaz and Loobie Lobster (the affordable 100k lobster).

The Place
When I arrived about 3 PM-ish, the parking lot was vacated but a few cars, so I just parked right next to a steel blue Porsche. The building doesn't reveal much from the outside, but inside is actually a nicely decorated resto-bar. From the main entrance, on the right wing, is where the 10-15 seater bar is. I assume this is also the area for the smoking tables. If we go straight from the main entrance, there's a glass ceiling-ed area for the non-smoking tables. The glass ceiling was partially covered with white panels to block the heat, but the place was still very brightly lit. Inside Le Quartier is absolutely reeking with art, from the paintings hung, the mural covering the entire wall (like photo below), the table setting, etc. It was truly pleasing to the eyes and with the perfect lighting, I managed to snap some decent pictures...not for long though.


The Menu
4 Different (with some overlapping items) Menus for different times of the day: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner and Afternoon/Supper. Although technically Le Quartier is a French restaurant, you can find Pasta & Risotto as well as Stone Baked Pizza among these items on the Food Menu:
- Les Petits Plats (small appetizers)
- Charcuterie & Delicatessen (cheeses and meat platters)
- Soup & Salade
- Croque, Tartine & Sandwiches
- Burger & Bifteck (steak)

Beverages wise, There are 4 signature non-alcoholic drinks here and I chose one of them: Iced Pomelo and Lychee with soda. What's notable is the use of S.Pellegrino and Acqua Panna for the mineral water, Illy for the coffee and Ronnefeldt for the fine tea. Those are the tell-tales of a fine dining restaurant, but I'm classifying it as casual fine dining, because it has an open bar, which makes the place feels more relaxed and casual.
Right: Iced Pomelo & Lychee Soda IDR 30,000

The "awkward"
I noticed earlier, the Caucasian gentleman sitting alone at one of the tables, whom I suspected was Chris Janssens. I left him at peace because he too, didn't seem to mind me taking photos of his property. It was such a lovely place and so well lit, and was at a very ideal setting (hardly any guests left at that hour) to make perfect photographs, like the ones above.

I had just swapped to my fixed lens when a middle-aged man came to me and reprimanded me for taking photos without permission. He was the manager there. I made an excuse saying that I was just practicing with my camera, to no avail. He didn't even blink an eye let alone offer any excuse. Reluctantly and to my dismay, the fun had to stop and I sat down helplessly. I came straight from the gym and was supposedly famished after the workout. But the bread basket, onion soup and the drink I ordered suddenly didn't look that appetizing anymore after what happened.

The Food
(pardon the drastic change in picture quality, as the photos were taken surreptitiously using mobile phone from this moment onwards) The onion soup was technically perfect for me, it had the generous layer of mozzarella, which concealed the soggy bread and onion slices and soup beneath. The taste was good too.
Traditional Cheese Baked Onion Soup IDR 76,000


The pizza had the signs of any good authentic stone baked pizza: unevenly bulging crust, very generous topping, crust that cracked like a song and not overly thin nor thick. I didn't care if that place was a casual fine dining restaurant, I ate the pizza the way it deserves to be enjoyed: using my hand. 

Normally, anything with truffle would emanate strong scent detectable from even meters away but this one didn't smell of truffle even for a bit. To be honest, I was let down because I was very much looking forward to get my truffle fix from this pizza. If it had been named white ham and green pea pesto pizza, it would've scored excellently. If it was any consolation, they didn't use truffle oil (which can be considered cheating, because truffle oil is like faking orgasm without the real deal) and stuck to using the rather poor quality, frozen shaved truffles. Oh well, this is a 136k pizza, I can't expect them to use Albanian truffles, you get what you pay... Although not smelling truffle-like, the pizza apparently attracted its own fans: the flies (flies inside a restaurant?).
Stone Baked White Ham and Truffe Pizza IDR 136,000

The Price
Expect to pay IDR 42,000 - 384,000 for a food item and IDR 26,000 - 168,000 for a drink (alcohol / non-alcohol). Prices are subject to 10% Service Charge and 11% Tax.

The Service
I came in the afternoon around tea time and thus was handed the Afternoon/Supper Menu, which didn't have the Pizza. I asked the crew if i could have the pizza, and he helpfully asked to the kitchen and came back with good news. I had a positive vibe at the beginning actually, friendly and helpful staff, lovely place.

Verdict:
When I was about to leave, I walked up to Chris (the manager happen to be nearby) and asked politely, if the restaurant had anything against photo taking. Chris kindly said it was perfectly fine to take photos except for his portrait, because he's not confident if he's photogenic enough (no way! I'll shoot him at his most un-glam angle and he'll still look good...lol). Quite awkward (again!) as the manager seemed to lose his case and quietly retreated to behind the register desk. I decided to leave him alone and did not confront further, although I have to admit that I am rather annoyed to be unable to take mouthwatering pictures of the food, supposedly the stars of this post. When I inquired about the truffle, Chris admitted that it is quite hard to find good quality truffle beyond the winter. I totally understand his stand, as one of the main challenges in opening a restaurant is finding good and reliable supply of ingredients. I just hope as time goes, they'll be able to solve it.

I would not be so soon to judge the food here yet, because I've only had the pizza and the onion soup. This place is still new, after all. Alas, despite the uncomfortable encounter(s), I would like to come back and try other items off the menu.

Additional Notes:
- Valet parking service is available
- Private room(s) available

Come here for: early breakfast before office around SCBD area. Lunch or Dinner. A new place in town to chill out. After-work drinks at the bar accompanied by bar snacks. Special occasion, you can host your private function here.

Le Quartier
Jl. Gunawarman No. 34
Kebayoran Baru - South Jakarta
Ph: +6221 72788001
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