Proudly Local, Unapologetically Modern: A Takeover by Locavore

by Erdira Wirengjurit
4th September 2020
Consecutively listed as one of Asia's best restaurants, Locavore from Bali is taking up a pop-up residency at Raffles Jakarta for their Restaurant Takeover series at the hotel's The Dining Room experience. On the menu is the restaurant's Pancaroba season set, a fifteen-course meal that features entirely local ingredients dished up in modern gastronomy.

The riches and great variety of ingredients that the archipelago is blessed with unlock the potential for some great innovations in gastronomy. That is the vision that chefs Eelke Plasmeijer and Ray Adriansyah believe in for their craft and continue to commit at their famed Restaurant Locavore in Ubud, Bali.

The name Locavore is a wordplay that embodies their concept: “A carnivore only eats meat, a herbivore only eats plant-based. Therefore here at Locavore, we only eat local,” explained a Locavore steward. Their tagline, “Modern Cuisine, Local Produce” is a philosophy driven by sheer passion for cooking using the best and freshest ingredients while celebrating local food artisans, farmers and fishers in the nation, all glued together by a strong consciousness on ethical practices and ecological sustainability of this craft.

Locavore’s dishes, which are seasonal and fused with European-Indonesian flavours and techniques have received raved reviews since their establishment in 2013. But beyond their unique craft, these endeavours have won them numerous accolades through the years. Time and time again, Locavore was listed in Asia’s 50 Best Restaurants, in which it was awarded the Best Restaurant In Indonesia in 2018. And just last year, Locavore made the list again, with the additional accolade of Sustainable Restaurant Award.

When the pandemic hit globally, nothing could have made any restaurant, including Locavore, immune to the damages it impelled on tourism, and effectively the whole F&B sector whose appeal revolves around cordial human interactions. In Locavore’s case where patrons are recommended to reserve their tables two weeks in advance, the restaurant temporarily ceased operations at the height of the pandemic, which coincided with their newly released dining set, Pancaroba.

Now, as the hospitality industry is slowly back on its wheels again, Raffles Jakarta takes this opportune time to bring Locavore to the city for a restaurant takeover at Raffles’ The Dining Room (TDR). The latter is a newly introduced dining concept with a view within a spacious sophisticated dining room and an open kitchen that they launched in late 2019. Eversince the debut,  TDR has hosted exclusive takeovers by international restaurants like Le Du from Bangkok, Wagyu Mafire from Hong Kong, and reputable chefs like Michelin-decorated Chef Julien Royer from Odette Singapore, Chef Kirk Westaway from JAAN Singapore. This integrated experience has opened a wide range of opportunity for restaurant takeovers, guest chef collaborations and events to add to one’s future culinary destination.

With Locavore leading the kitchen at Raffles’ TDR, Jakartans will finally have the chance to a coveted dining experience that showcases the craft of an international award-winning restaurant with their heart at home. The full crew, flown in from Bali, will hold their temporary residency from 2 September ongoing until the 13th. In this special takeover, Locavore will resume with its Pancaroba course.

Referring to the transition period between dry and monsoon seasons in the tropics, Pancaroba features ingredients exclusively cultivated during this time. “What makes produce during pancaroba [season] special is the challenge of cooking and processing them so they consistently taste their best,” according to the chefs.

This dinner, which is a whopping 15 course-long, will take the tastebuds through a journey of new flavours and intriguing ingredients. The course consists of six appetisers, six mains, and three desserts to end. And to boot the experience, there’s a “creative pairing” that accompanies each dish with specially concocted cocktails and mocktails, as opposed to the more common wine pairing.

For a hint of the line-up, there’s a fair variation of meat and vegetarian dishes, intermingling sweets and savoury, hot and cold, new and familiar. For one of the appetisers, Pancaroba features a Locavore OG, the Hot & Cold Tomato, a biteful of icy and punchy tomato sorbet in a pool of hot tomato brine juice (pickle juice). Into The Sawah is a visually striking main course that takes its ingredients from rice paddies: Balinese galuh rice risotto topped with sous-vide duck egg-yolk, snail and meat floss made of frog leg. On the same course of intrigue, the plated Lobster Grilled is served alongside a special sambal made of fermented durian.

It will be a plethora of exciting newness before the meal ends on a more classical note: three chocolate candies from HAS, a local chocolatier in Bali whose cocoa beans yield unique flavours from the careful combination of its polyculture environment, and of course, a choice of freshly-brewed Kalimantan bean coffee or tea from TEMA.

This course will take up an entire evening; one that is surely gallant with none of the stuffy formalities—just how things are in Bali. From the island to Jakarta, Locavore continues to wow its most loyal patrons and will do the same to their new ones.