The Tasty Synergy

3 Chefs, 6 set menu with wine pairing, resulting in 1 wild ride of familiar, yet unexpected modern Indonesian dishes.

It is said that mixing familiar things with the excitement of the uncertainty is a combination that’s often spotted in many successes. One thing for sure, you won’t go anywhere if you don’t take any chances. This is what Vin+ do with its ambitious project, Tasty Synergy, a chef collaboration dinner on March 21st 2018, involving 3 chefs: Deni Sugiarto (Vin+ Kemang), Djoko Sarwono (Vin+ Arcadia) and a guest chef Ronald Tokilov (Bali Cardamon, Glaze Grill, Chef’s Room – Bali).

Interpreting Indonesian traditional food into modern dish is nothing new, in fact we have growing number of local and expatriate chef who’s serious in this direction. However, after knowing the vast number of Indonesia’s unexposed traditional dishes, along with undiscovered local spices, this combination of traditional and modern concept will always be interesting.

Of course, you’ll be a bit confused to see scallop served with asinan salad and prawn curry sauce, black cod fish with Padang sauce and sambal balado, or chocolate curry mousse served with dodol Singaraja and green pepper. It’s a concept that grabs you out of your comfort zone. Very risky, yet stimulating your curiosity.

The Adventurous Menu

The dinner began with Amuse Bouche Tamarillo Crab Mousse. The menu by Chef Djoko raised curiosity as it displayed crab mousse stuffed into the tamarillo and paired with SBX Sparkling Brut from Conchay Toro, the wine pairing brand for the night. From here, I thought I knew what to expect next.

Pan Seared Scallop with Slow-Cooked Baby Squids by Chef Deni is one of my most awaited menus. It didn’t take an expert to tell the freshness of the scallop, you can tell straight away in this menu. After a bite of the scallop, then the squid, I tried again and combined it with salad asinan, and then with prawn curry sauce, or similar to reduced laksa broth. When the plate was clean, I recalled the doubt I had before. I didn’t find anything weird, on the contrarty, the bright asinan sauce and spicy prawn curry sauce blended seamlessly with the aroma of scallop and baby squid, especially with Casillero Del Diable Chardonnay. Of course, Chef Deni seemed to reduce the intensity of the sauces to avoid them dominating the scallop and squid.

On Oxtail Ravioli Blacknut Sauce, similar thing happened. You seemed to forgot how strange it is to combine oxtail into the ravioli served with reduced rawon broth, not to mention the quail egg which was served like regular fried egg. You can enjoy everything without too much cringe, such as what happened in Chef Ronald’s Black Cod Fish Infused Roasted Coriander Citrus Juice.

The next two menus is the collaboration among the 3 chefs: Kampoeng Chicken Roll and Three Eyes Beef Wagyu. Chicken roll might be familiar to you, but the surpise lied beneath, it’s pepes mushroom and pop chicken sauce that’s similar to the taste of opor. Three Eyes Beef Wagyu had 3 beef from each chef: grilled full blood wagyu spice herb, braised wagyu short rib rendang flavor, sous vide wagyu beef chateaubriand red wine demi glace, sambal kelapa, tongseng spice truffle crumble.

The last surprise came from Ronald’s Chocolate Curry Mousse served with dodol Singaraja, sagon crumble klappertart, ice cream vanilla, and Cointreau infused green pepper corn sauce. Chocolate and curry? Then green pepper? Very bold and risky. You’d think that the dessert will end the dinner beautifully, like the predictable fairy tale’s ending, but what you had was an unresolved and mysterious ending ala The X-Files.

“The secret of the synergy? The first thing is put down each of our ego. Like what Chef Ronald said, see it like playing music. Someone plays guitar, someone be the vocalist, and I take the drum. We discussed about everything, from the garnish cut to the spice selection,” explained Chef Djoko at the end of the night.

“On this collaboration, we don’t talk about individual. Before preparation, we taste each other’s dish and we gave inputs to each other to have an enjoyable experience, this is what separates the collaboration with other. So instead of exposing our own backgrounds, it is our backgrounds that make the set menu for tonight,” stated Chef Ronald.

With this modern Indonesian concept, I definitely have no idea of where it’s going to lead us, what it will be next. However, I don’t mind as I enjoy every moment of the journey. It’s obviously a wild ride, a culinary adventure that’s thrilling, risky, yet rewarding.