As a relatively new resident to the Kemang neighbourhood, I listen a little more closely to recommendations for good restaurants in the area. One name kept surfacing, the location given and yet its name board never popped out at me on my travels. The unusually named ONE FIFTEENTH was out there somewhere and on a rainy day in February, I managed to track it down.
Tucked inside Kemang 37 building on Kemang Raya I was very pleased that it turned out to be within walking distance of my house. ONE FIFTEENTH opened its doors back in 2012 and I’m sure many of our readers may already be familiar with this coffee shop and restaurant. The initial goal of the family-run shop was to provide great locally grown and roasted coffee to the Jakarta community and this I believe was achieved and culminated in their head barista being the first to represent Indonesia in the World Barista Championships. There are five further outlets in Senopati, Gandaria, Menteng, Museum Macan and in Bali.
I am sharing with you the above information to give an overview of ONE FIFTEENTH but in fact the recommendations I received were all about the great food and in particular the breakfast menu and the salads. I arrived for lunch with my sister and a friend, with the intent of ordering and trying as many dishes as our table could hold and our bellies could bear. Between the three of us, we sampled 12 dishes on the menu!
First impressions do count and the décor at ONE FIFTEENTH is unapologetically minimalist and parred back with exposed concrete walls, plain white painted concrete flooring and canteen style seating with wooden tables and straight-backed chairs. It is in keeping with the modern urban look of cafes and coffee shops worldwide but a little too bare for my taste, which probably reflects my generations preference for cushioned seating and flowers on the table.
As expected, there was an extensive all day breakfast menu and an impressive artisanal list of coffees on offer but we were there for lunch so we went for salads to begin, followed by mains and finishing off with coffee and dessert.
We ordered four of the five salads listed on the menu and they all looked and tasted fabulous. My favourite was the Haloumi Cheese Salad, a beautifully constructed combination of perfectly pan seared haloumi covered with a marinated vegetable concasse (cut into tiny cubes). A lightly dressed fresh green salad sat next to it and thin slithers of caramelised star fruit decorated the top. I also loved the Salad Provencal, which came with all my favourite salad ingredients, including avocado, baby potato and pine nuts. As a wannabe vegetarian, these dishes gave me hope that I could take the plunge and never look back. No longer treated as an afterthought, salads are now front and centre on a growing number of menus and its restaurants like ONE FIFTEENTH who are raising the bar and showing the culinary world what can be done with a little imagination.
For our mains, we sampled one pasta dish and three meat dishes, the Spiced Tomato Mozzarella, Beef Parmantier, Roasted Spring Chicken and the Pan Roasted fish of the day (snapper). The pasta had a lovely rich tomato sauce with just a hint of chili, simple but packed with flavour. The other winner was the Beef Parmantier, the French version of Britain’s Shepard’s pie, ONE FIFTEENTH does it with braised short rib beef which was moist and melt in the mouth delicious. The lightly crusted potato on top was mashed with a mature French cheese which enhanced the flavour beautifully. The chicken and fish dishes were a little overcooked but the vegetables that came with them were fresh and tasty.
Though full to the brim, we bravely soldiered on and ordered four desserts between the three of us, the Baked Cheesecake with Blueberry Sauce, Classic Chocolate Cake, Cream Caramel and the Toffee Date Pudding with Milk Gelato.
As a dessert lover, I must say they were in general a little disappointing. The Cheesecake, though it had the right flavours, was a tad dry, the Classic Chocolate Cake was a little stodgy and the Toffee Date Pudding was more like a date flavoured sponge cake. However, as if to make up for it, the Cream Caramel was to die for! After the initial small spoonful was sampled by our trio, a knife was produced and a precision cut of three equal portions was distributed and lasted mere seconds on our plates.
Coffees ended our lunch and any further eating for the rest of the day! Staff looked on with awe and amazement as we staggered out.
ONE FIFTEENTH Kemang is most probably on many Jakarta foodies go-to list of eateries already, but if you have not been, I highly recommend a visit.