Attarine is undoubtedly among Jakarta’s most creative dining scenes to date. At its helm is Executive Chef Jacob Burrell, a man of many talents who skillfully incorporates different cuisines, techniques, and ingredients that uniquely defines the restaurant’s genre. He shares Passion about himself, the restaurant, and a recipe for you to try.
Jacob Burrell has always been a curious person, but becoming a professional chef was never his real intention at the beginning. He wanted to become a teacher since his secondary school days - and that’s a noble aspiration that he still holds dearly until now. You can tell from certain angles that he does look like a teacher and he will thank you for the praise - with a big smile.
He has solid know-how in chemistry and mathematics - the very subjects he wishes to be a teacher of initially. When he received extra credits during his university days, he even took musical theory class. His imposed height came from his fondness of basketball, and he used to coach as well. Not just basketball, but also soccer.
One day he came to a realization that becoming a chef would be the ultimate test of his skills. Not just because he has some basics in cooking back then, but it could be the answer to his endless curiosity. “Cooking is not just physical. There’s history, science, art, business, creativity, people, and psychology involved. It encompasses everything and I fell in love more and more about it”, according to the chef.
So why venture too far at the beginning, one might ask. Mr Burrell will simply answer that he likes to learn about everything. But certainly it would be hard to focus on all that, I then ask. “Yes, but by becoming a chef - it keeps me locked in, excited, and ready to come to work the next day. It’s not boring, I’m still learning, and yet I know absolutely nothing”, replies the chef modestly.
With his man bun and a casual outfit behind the apron, his relaxed manner and inventive creations have won the hearts of many at Attarine. He drew his experience mostly from the stints back with Big Sur Bakery and Restaurant in California, where he also learned a lot about pastry and mastering the wood-fired oven, and working for the three-Michelin starred restaurant Manresa under Chef David Kinch himself.
Our visit to Attarine coincides with the unveiling of the latest menu lineup. The opener started with Market Ceviche that features fresh catch of the day and the use of turmeric for the lime juice. Very refreshing and certainly appetizing. There’s also a stroke of genius found on jackfruit on sourdough toast. Sweet and pleasantly familiar, this one easily dominates the appetizer section.
For the main course, there’s the BBQ whole squid which was done immaculately and it sits over a bed of what one would call as “sambal ijo” and paired curiously with crispy baby pototoes. The clincher came from six hours long braised short ribs with oyster sauce and shiitake mushrooms. Suddenly it’s Chinese now and how wonderful could that be!
So come and converse with the chef, ask for his recommendations, and have the starters and the mains together for everyone. You’ll find that an adventure across the world awaits you here. Back home, don’t forget to try the recipe for Market Ceviche, courtesy of the chef himself.