When thinking about Italian food, the first thing that comes to mind is most certainly pizza and pasta. And while Italians – and people around the world – surely love their most favourite comfort food, the country’s culinary treasures offer much more than these two beloved staples.

Italian Chef Maurizio Bombini, who heads Kubu Kitchen at Mandapa, a Ritz-Carlton Reserve in Ubud, came to Jakarta on October 28 to prepare a delightful 5-course dinner including wine pairings. Taking place at the Ritz-Carlton Jakarta, Pacific Place, the setting for this exclusive dinner was as unique as Chef Maurizio’s culinary creations: set in the hotel’s Glass House, a function room with floor-to-ceiling windows and a view over the city’s SCBD area, the venue’s kitchen was transformed into a garden on the night of the dinner to recreate the feeling of serenity prevalent in Ubud, Bali.

Chef Maurizio first discovered the wonderful world of food in his parents’ kitchen in Apulia, South Italy, and earned his diploma at the De Cecco Institute in Pescara. His journey as a chef has since taken him to France, the US, China and finally Indonesia, where he took over Il Ristorante at Bulgari Hotels & Resorts in 2011 before moving to Mandapa in October 2015. Passionate about fine dining and with a number of awards and accolades under his belt, Chef Maurizio prepared a memorable feast for his guests. It is quite a rarity to experience a dinner where each course seems to outshine the previous one, yet the Italian chef managed to do just that.

The delicate texture of the Chestnuts Espuma made for a perfect amuse-bouche. It was followed by Tuna “Crudo” – which Chef Maurizio jokingly referred to as Italian sashimi – served with caviar, smoked lettuce, tomato and Burrata cheese. He then presented cod ravioli with eggplant, onion cream and smoked ricotta. The savoury dish carried an unexpected combination of flavours – in the best sense of the word.

Wagyu Beef Rib Eye, braised tongue, celeriac and truffle jus made up the main course, and if it was even possible to have a favourite course at this point – this was the one. The celeriac, an underused and odd-shaped vegetable, provided a slightly peppery taste while the truffle jus added a hint of sophistication to the dish. The dinner was closed by a serving of yet another Italian classic: mouthwatering tiramisu which was so good that some asked for seconds – even after the full four courses that had come before dessert. Chef Maurizio’s creations were at times surprising, but always exquisite. In the end, he introduced new Italian – and Mediterranean – flavours to Jakarta’s culinary scene.

Katrin Figge

Katrin Figge

Katrin Figge is a previous editor of NOW! Jakarta. An experienced writer and avid bookworm.