It's fascinating to watch a Jakarta neighborhood come into bloom. Kemang area in South Jakarta has been famous as an expatriate enclave for decades. During the 1990s, Jakarta teenagers began throwing parties at some of its newest clubs.
A decade later, the area has become a center of hustle and bustle with an array of restaurants, clubs and galleries. The competition is high, but some are willing to take a shot at it.
When Vin+, a wine shop at Jalan Kemang Raya, opened its doors a few years ago, it was like a breeze of fresh air. It was nice to enter the air-conditioned shop after a dreary day, pick up a few bottles of wine at retail price, uncork them and then enjoy them with friends.
An annex of Vin+ is the Mixx Grill Steak House, which is located at the back of the wine shop.
"We all know that the best pairing or companionship of eating steak is with red wine, if you will," said Vin+ and Mixx Grill owner Dani Wanandi.
"Eating other foods can be very nice if it is accompanied by wines in general -- it could be white wine, champagne, red for sure and sweet wine."
Dani added that not only could Mixx customers choose from more than 800 varieties of wines, they also were allowed free corkage.
Mixx Grill offers both Australian and New Zealand cuts. Their choice of grilled items are the Grilled Veal Sausage, Japanese Steak, OZ Lamb Chops, Black Angus Rib Eye, Black Angus Tenderloin and Wagyu Rump Steak Grade 9+.
The super juicy Wagyu steak, which only costs Rp 168,000 (US$18), truly melts in your mouth. It's a special item worth trying on your visit.
"What we offer here is quality steaks at a budget price."
They also offer NZ Beef Burger and OZ BBQ Beef fillet Ribs, Double Chicken Breast, Cream Dory Fish Fillet, Norway Salmon Fillet and Tiger Prawn Skewer. Guests may order Wagyu Fried Rice, which does not appear on the menu.
The restaurant's team and their consultant created the entire menu. The taste, Dani said, is more like American grill with a local touch. They also serve European cuisine in non-grilled items such as sandwiches and appetizers.
The sandwich selection includes Tuna Sandwich, Jambon Beurre Mozzarella cheese, Grilled Mozzarella Cheese Panini, Grilled Chicken Panini and Steak Sandwich. They are the kind of sandwiches that still tastes good even as take-away.
Besides the varied selection of cheese and salads, the starter menu includes Fresh Tomato Bruschetta, Vegetables Samosa, Marinated Black Kalamata Olives, Marinated Baby Artichokes and Nachos -- which has become a favorite.
They offer a Kids menu, which consists of Spaghetti, Grilled Chicken Breast, Fish Finger, Chicken Finger and NZ Tenderloin Steak.
When The Jakarta Post went there by invitation, the dessert choice was a rich and creamy Strawberry Souffle. However, the restaurant's signature dessert is the Chocolate or Coffee Melt.
The leading man in the kitchen is Head Chef Faizal, who has worked as Sous Chef at Riva, a French restaurant at Park Lane Hotel, and also in Hunter Valley, Australia. Faizal, who has also worked at Cassis restaurant, considers Riva's Head Chef Gilles Marx his mentor.
Despite having a good operational team and great food, being in Kemang is far from easy as competition in the food and beverage industry is tough.
"We have noticed many new players entering the food and beverage industry but at the same time we never worry about competition as long as it's healthy," Dini said.
"We believe everyone has their own market. We are more concerned about maintaining our food quality and service rather than watching our competitors. At the end of the day let the customers judge and not us."
The first Mixx Grill restaurant is actually located at the Cilandak Town Square in South Jakarta. This restaurant caters more to families while the Kemang location has a more fine dining feel. The menu for Mixx Grill in Kemang, however, is more extensive.
Kemang's Mixx Grill also delivers but only in the Kemang area.
The food and beverage industry is a recession-proof and stable business, because no matter what people still have to eat, Dani said.
"Our Jaddi Foods group has more than 13 years experience in the food and beverage industry and right now we try to serve different market segments with our few brands such as D'Crepes, Vin+, Waffle Time, Mixx Grill and Les Classiques."