Living in a country with approximately 17,000 islands, Indonesians have access to a wide range of spices to produce dishes that are both tasty and varied. Sometimes, however, they may be too tired to cook or simply fed up with local food and choose to go outside for some non-Indonesian cuisine for relief.
If they wish to explore restaurants without a specific cuisine (like Italian or Japanese) but simply good food, they could try Helen’s Fine Foods and Patisserie in Kebayoran Baru, South Jakarta.
Starting up in early June, Helen’s was designed simply to produce food that is enjoyable to Indonesian culinary enthusiasts.
“This restaurant is built on a strong passion that I have to share my experiences with people here,” said owner Helen Sutanto, who was educated at the French Culinary Institute in New York before coming back home.
Friends or customers may be curious and ask: What kind of food is Helen trying to serve?
“It’s a place for good food,” she said.
Among the signature dishes at Helen’s is Oxtail Bourguignon, a combination of Indonesian and French flavors. Originally, this dish used meat (without the bone) as the main ingredient. But Helen takes oxtail, which is popular among Indonesians.
Another recommended choice is Onion Crusted Salmon (sauteed spinach, potatoes a la Parisienne, lemon beurre blanc) and Chicken Roulade (spinach and provolene cheese stuffing, potato pancake, ratatouille, demi-glaze).
Starting with mushroom soup, the European dishes taste even more appetizing.
With a patisserie downstairs, Helen said that the complimentary bread and butter are all homemade. The patisserie also creates cakes for special occasions, designed to customers’ individual specifications.
For example, Helen has created cakes with special themes like animation figures Daffy Duck or Spongebob Squarepants.
In order to maintain consistently high standards, Helen arrives early in the morning every day to check the quality of the ingredients and how they are prepared.
“Usually, I make a random order and check if it tastes good or served properly,” said Helen, who once worked at Michelin restaurant Jean George at Trump Tower, New York.
Helen, who is only 22 years old, said her restaurant would always maintain food quality by using selected ingredients such as chocolate from France and wheat flour from Japan.
“We use pure vanilla extract, not vanilla essence, which is a chemical substance. We don’t use preservatives,” she said.
Located at One Wolter Place, a new two-story building, Helen uses the ground floor as the cake shop and patisserie, and the upper story as the fine-dining restaurant.
The interior of the restaurant features modern French touches with mirrors on each of its white pillars.
“I would like people to feel they can come here to escape from work,” Helen said, adding that the restaurant also takes bookings for private parties.
Helen’s Fine Foods and Patisserie
One Wolter Place
Jl. Wolter Monginsidi No.63B