andrian ishak

10

NAMAAZ DINING p.2


What you see isn’t always what you get.

One may looked like beef, but it’s actually not. It’s a fruit, to my surprise.

One may looked like a rock, but it’s edible.

One may looked like charcoal, but you won’t believe me if it’s sweet and soft.

A candle? What dessert can be delivered in form of a candle? hint: we found it easily from a street vendor. Sweet, caramel-y, addictive. Here, they make it into “another level”. Cool.

Go figure which one of pictured above that resemble Mie Kangkung and Pempek Kapal Selam.

Indonesian food, ultra-modern style. Hats off for the creativity. Respect Andrian Ishak.

Namaaz Dining, molecular gastronomy in Indonesia
Molecular gastronomy in Indonesia? Whaaaat? I love the awesomeness that is molecular gastronomy, so when I found out about this place, I knew I had to go. Namaaz Dining is the first molecular gastronomy restaurant in Indonesia (in Jakarta), and it’s pretty amazing. (Btw, if you don’t want the surprise ruined for any of the dishes, stop reading here and just go!) From a piece of fruit that looks and feels like beef, to an edible candle, to a liquid that is simultaneously hot and cold, Chef Andrian Ishak crafts a 17-course, 3-hour extravaganza that will leave you cheering in your seat. Chef Andrian, a self-taught chef, takes traditional Indonesian dishes and flips them upside down, freezes them in liquid nitrogen, and then slow-cooks them in a sous vide. You’ll experience rujak, martabak, beef rendang, and many more in new crazy ways. “What you see is not what you get” is the rule for many of the dishes. One dish looks like a frosted cookie drizzled with chocolate, but it becomes a spicy beef soup (tongseng) after adding hot water and stirring. My favorite dish included a frozen piece of pineapple sorbet over peanut sauce that looked like caramel. It was a combination of creamy, sweet, and savory as the flavors mix in your mouth, but surprises you with a spicy kick as it passes down your throat.

Namaaz Dining has an elegant setting with very attentive staff, but in a casual environment where the chef just wants his guests to have fun. “It’s not fine dining; it’s fun dining,” in the words of the chef, and I couldn’t agree more. He serves and explains most dishes personally, and everyone eats at the same time, so everyone enjoys his creations simultaneously. It’s not just cooking; it’s science, and Chef Andrian is brilliant at both. Watch out for this guy; he needs to be known internationally. Having been to Moto in Chicago and minibar in DC, Namaaz is up to par. If Michelin gave stars in Indonesia, this place would surely have one star. The chef changes the menu every 8-10 months, and I will definitely be back. Following, I will talk about all the dishes. Again, if you don’t want the surprise ruined, you’ll want to stop reading here.

 
Chef Andrian Ishak (on the right) in front of a cool wall at Namaaz Dining.

#1 Watermelon with pear and peanut sauce - Looks like and feels like a cut of meat, but it’s watermelon. “What you see is not what you get.“ Paired with a delicious, potent peanut sauce and julienned pears.

 
#2 Savory martabak with egg yolk jam and egg white caviar - Flaky puff pastry with curry powder with sous vide egg yolk and egg white "caviar”. Neat execution, very eggy.

 
#3 Sate lilit (Balinese seafood satay) - Mackerel popsicle wrapped with red cabbage with slightly spicy and sweet peanut sauce and sweet soy sauce (kecap manis). Very playful presentation. The fish was a little spongy.

 
#4 Oxtail soup - Dehydrated oxtail with bone marrow and rice custard. The custard was very rich and was balanced out by the broth.

 
#5 Roasted duck with red chili served on stone pestle - Duck inside reconstituted red chilies on top of yellow “chicken paste”, which was traditionally ground in stone mortar & pestle. Very delicious. Again, “what you see is not what you get.”


#6 Rujak (fruit salad with peanut sauce) - Pineapple sorbet “cup”, with jicama and taro inside, jambu (rose apple) foam on top, and caramelized terasi (chili sauce with shrimp paste) peanut sauce. This was my favorite dish. The peanut sauce has the look and consistency of caramel. The pineapple sorbet neutralizes the spiciness of the sauce until you swallow, when you get hit with a surprise spicy kick. Sweet, savory, and spicy: perfect combination.

 
#7 Kambing Bacem (tamarind lamb) - Served with very creamy and fluffy mashed potatoes and veggie broth foam. Lamb patty was very fresh, very tender, and very flavorful. Yum.

 
#8a I didn’t know it was time for dessert yet. Looks like a frosted cookie or a candy bar drizzled with chocolate, but add hot water, stir, and you get…

 
#8b Tongseng! That’s right; it turns into a spicy beef stew. This one was one of my favorites in terms of presentation. In terms of flavor, very tasty, but a little too salty.

 
#9 Call this a modern take on beef rendang - Dehydrated rendang seasoning with medium steak cooked sous vide and coconut espuma. The steak was SUPER tender, and the combination with the rendang and the coconut was delicious. The greens had a really nice sauce too. One of my favorite dishes of the night.

 
#10 Shrimp with instant noodle - Chef Andrian brought the noodle batter in a squeeze bottle and boiling water in a champagne flute, and cooked the noodles in ~5 seconds: literally instant noodles! The shrimp was infused with butter in a whipped cream dispenser with a nitrous oxide charger to make the butter sweeter and smoky, then the shrimp was cooked sous vide. This dish was too heavy on the butter, and the shrimp was a little tough. Also, the noodles kind of melted a little after sitting on the plate for a while. Cool execution, but this was my least favorite dish of the night.

 
#11 ’Palate cleanser’ or ‘mouth wash’ - The “bar of soap” has almond, white chocolate, peppermint, and butter, served with a coconut, pandan foam. The towel is made of wool, “so don’t eat it.” Tasty. Love the presentation on this one.

 
#12 Dragon breath - Vanilla meringue in liquid nitrogen. The meringue is dipped in liquid nitrogen for a few seconds, then served. Put it in your mouth, and you breathe out smoke.

 
#13 Passion fruit soda - An open egg shell is served with the white bits at the top. The “yolk” has passion fruit inside, and the “white” is made with vinegar and cayenne. The white bits are carbonated lime. Put the lime in your mouth, then drink the “egg”. When the yolk touches the lime, it bursts, releasing the passion fruit juice, and you get passion fruit soda! This was my favorite dessert. Fun and delicious.

 
#14 Fruit drink - Chef Andrian brings out a cup with berries, watermelon, and lemon, then pours water into it. When the water hits the fruit, it gels up (what you see on top).

 
#15a Am I going to eat a candle?

 
#15b Not quite. This was “grilled banana”! It was a hollowed out banana with nuts inside, with pop rocks and powdered sugar on the side. Even the whick was edible! Very cool dish and very tasty.

 
#16 Hot iced tea - Huh? Isn’t that a contradiction? Not at Namaaz. If you look closely at the glass, you’ll notice there’s condensation only on the right half. This tea was hot in one half and cold in the other. As you drink it, you feel the two temperatures enter your mouth. Very neat trick.

 
#17a The last dish was another that is assembled at the table. First, this…

 
#17b … then, the chef drops a red bean meringue that was dipped in liquid nitrogen, then you crack the chocolate ball and sweet coconut milk spills into the plate. Ta daaa! Iced red bean, Namaaz style.
Already looking forward to my next visit!