For the prestigious Cantonese restaurant T’ang Court, the reputation precedes itself. With the distinction of having a three Michelin star rating for their Hong Kong flagship, diners coming to T’ang Court in The Langham, Jakarta are well aware of what awaits them. The restaurant’s confidence in their outstanding Cantonese dishes and impeccable service is evident right on arrival; there’s no flashy entrance and guests are briefly whisked away to their seats by the hostess with the conviction that an exceptional meal is assured.
If meals at other Cantonese restaurants start off slow during appetisers before coming to a crescendo at the main course, T’ang Court grabs your attention right off the bat even with seemingly trivial options. Take for example the beautifully stacked strips of eggplant with black vinegar and onion oil or the unmissable pickled chilli cherry tomatoes with plum sauce, T’ang Court effortlessly highlights the startling effects one can achieve from humble produce alone.
Led by executive chef Chong Kooi Sam, the comforting aspect of T’ang Court lies in the fact that the menu respects the authenticity of Cantonese cuisine while allowing the finest ingredients to take centre stage. Each dish is executed with aplomb regardless of its visual factor, whether it’s the photogenic crab claw dotted with caviar sitting on top of a bed of silky custard or the pan-fried honey-glazed short ribs plated unpretentiously as six cubes of meat.
Even the theatrical aspect is handled in the most discreet manner. In particular, the signature Peking duck is carved skillfully over at a counter, piquing the interest of nearby diners and allowing a glimpse of the display before it is carried off to its intended table. Come dessert time, Chef Sam breaks away from the classics and delivers playful and experimental sweet treats. The wittily named Mango and Mango (marinated mango slices and lime cremeux with mango sorbet and three Chinese spices foam) dazzles with its light texture as if concocted out of thin air.
As a Chinese restaurant, meals at T’ang Court are no doubt best enjoyed with family and friends, especially when it comes to their seafood selections. The dining area is effectively divided into East and West wings, but those who prefer to dine in privacy can do so in one of their six private dining rooms, which are named after flowers that play significant roles in Chinese culture, such as chrysanthemums and peonies.
Most importantly, one gets the sense that T’ang Court understands the value of keeping things in balance. The service is friendly but never chummy. The interior holds its own with its display of fine china and vases but doesn’t take away from the best part of being located on the 61st floor of the building—the view of the city through its floor-to-ceiling windows. And of course, the well-executed dishes round up the experience at T’ang Court with its calm sophistication and charming precision.