There’s something imposing about Inferno The Grill at lifestyle compound One Satrio in Kuningan with its dark hues, limestone accents, red LEDs and devil’s pitchforks. It might take a while, but one would soon figure out that the design cues of Albagroup’s newest addition take inspiration from hell itself—hence the name. But instead of the torments famous Italian poet Dante Alighieri wrote about in his epic poem, what awaits inside is a spread of mouthwatering grilled delicacies crafted by the experienced hands of the restaurant’s resident chef, Andres Filipe Gaibor.
Hailing from Ecuador, the 34-year-old chef’s array of accomplishments includes a stint working in the kitchens of King Salman of Saudi Arabia, which was where he met Albagroup’s chef patron, Roberto Fiorini. But when asked where he found love for the grill, he credited his time as a demi chef at Asador Etxebarri in Basque, Spain, proudly referring to it as “the best steakhouse in the world” (many, including the late Anthony Bourdain, have attested to its greatness as well).
Unlike Chef Andres’ place of learning, however, Inferno shies away from being labelled as a steakhouse. A grill house is more fitting, where every dish—from the Ecuadorian Pan de Yuca welcome bread to the cigar-shaped Trip to Cuba chocolate dessert—is grilled in one way or another, exhibiting the chefs’ finesse and artistry. “Chef Roberto and I formulated and experimented with each and every recipe ourselves,” shared Chef Andres.
The South American flair of Chef Andres fuses with Chef Roberto’s Italian touch, while Asian twists bring a sense of familiarity to the diners of the metropole. It’s a diverse affair that sees rich, chimichurri-slathered grilled chicken, slow-cooked for two hours to achieve its succulence, served alongside grilled polenta for the Charcoal Spicy Marinated Chicken. There are also vegetarian options, like the crowd favourite Grilled Glazed Miso Eggplant, an umami dish that is easily one of the restaurant’s highlights.
Though not the main focus, the lineup of cocktails at Inferno makes a good spectacle. Clouds of fog pour out when the Infinity Negroni comes to the table, where the classic concoction has been aged for seven days in the coconut it is served in, and the smoky note of the drink acts as a nice garnish to the meal at hand. For something sweeter and lighter, Dante is the recommended pick, and the bar crew makes a show of it by serving the wine-based tipple inside a glass dome similar to the one in ‘Beauty and the Beast’ (1991).
Despite initial impressions, once inside, it’s easy to find comfort at Inferno. The mood is toned down and laid back, supported by the deceptively simple appearance of the dishes that cheekily hides the complex process behind each one. Families and colleagues casually dine over impressively-grilled gnocchi and angel hair soup with dry-aged fish, while friends relax with drinks in hand at the shaded outdoor space. An experience that is, undoubtedly, far from being hellish.