As autumn settles on the northern hemisphere, hunters in Umbria, Italy embark on their annual mission. Under the cover of darkness of early morn, a friendly canine in tow, they scour ancestral territories for hours to unearth their gold: the truffle. According to Chef Maurizio Bombini of MAURI Restaurant, this season has been difficult due to little rainfall in the region. But as the truffle hunters pushed on, a limited quantity was harvested—with some of which making their way to Jakarta for Raffles Jakarta’s restaurant takeover with MAURI’s The Italian Autumn Truffle Series.
The rarity of this occasion already piqued the interest of local truffle lovers (yes, that’s a thing even here). What most of us know about the rare mushroom revolves around the so-called ‘truffle’ oil—found in various hip menus across the city—which is an artificial concoction that mimics the taste profile of its namesake and is soberly unequal in every respect. Already a luxury food in the land of its origins, the truffle is even more exalted in Jakarta’s high-end dining.
At MAURI’s Autumn Truffle Series, the truffle is served fresh and with deliberation. A pugliese (a term for Puglia locals in the southern peninsula of Italy), Chef Mauri views truffles almost with a casual eye. Unlike in northern Italy, where celebrating the Alba white truffle is part of the tradition, the earthy fungi have no special seat in southern Italian cuisine—the foundation of his cooking.
That does not mean he does not appreciate the rare mushroom, however. “That’s truffle to me, only for bringing additional value to the ingredients, to the flavour,” says the Italian chef, in line with his integrity for keeping the authenticity of ingredients in his cooking. “We are not looking to do something crazy, you know? But something that makes sense.” Often, Chef Mauri would advise his customers against requesting truffles on dishes that don’t match.
His philosophy steers the menu curation for this takeover. Made up of three to six courses from starter to dessert, this multicourse meal casts the balanced pairing of the black truffle with umami profiles. It’s a style that diverts a little from MAURI’s signature contemporary take on classic Italian cuisine. But with this spin, Chef Mauri paved a path of discovery for the bon-vivants of Jakarta. Thus, several event-exclusive and brand new options are available for the menu, with each course building up in flavour intensity and heft to spotlight the main dishes.
One among those is the delectable Tagliata di Manzo Wagyu, which boasts heapful chops of smoked wagyu ribeye, shavings of black truffle, and dices of foie gras accompanied by a slice of carrot and sweet pumpkin, honey, and ginger mix for sauce. Preceding it, the Ravioli con Burrata also deserves its own accolades. Flavour bursts through each bite as burrata flows out of the ravioli and marries the anchovy essence, clams, amaebi, and broccolini that accompany it.
When it was time for dessert, Chef Mauri tended to every table to enjoy one of his favourite parts of owning a restaurant: interacting with customers. With him, his mobile kitchen came along carrying the dessert of the day, Sicilia, Mandorle & Arance. The citrusy, almond-focused treat is an ode to Sicilia, known for its people’s love for the nut.
Indeed, with each delicacy that comes to the table, one can trace inklings of stories immersed in every ingredient. What is a novelty to some, may just be a casual delight for others. And in the case of The Italian Autumn Truffle Series by Chef Mauri, delicate balancing allows each one to have its dance in the arena of flavours.
The Italian Autumn Truffle Series at Raffles Jakarta is an ongoing event that will run until 17 October 2021. Reservations are available via WhatsApp (+62 855 8155 888) and email (firstname.lastname@example.org).