Picture dining in your friends’ kitchen who happen to be talented chefs: over an intimate soirée, they would strike up a conversation or two while cooking up some elaborate dishes to impress you further. Now expand that picture and put it on a grander scale—that’s what patrons can expect upon entering the elegant confines of August.
Sequestered in Sequis Tower’s ground floor, the restaurant is the highly-anticipated next step for the brainchild of chef-owner Hans Christian—known for his successful stint as head chef at Fairmont Jakarta’s VIEW restaurant—and co-founder Budi Cahyadi along with their all-star team of pastry chef Ardika Dwitama and sous chef Yohanes Januardy.
August first planted its roots as a private dining establishment, allowing the team to gauge the Jakarta dining scene’s appetite while attracting a loyal following that the team calls ‘friends of August’. So, when the restaurant finally opened its doors, it came to no surprise that the city’s epicureans rushed in to get a table.
Exquisitely designed by Bitte Design Studio, four different types of experience await within: the lounge, the common dining room, the chef’s table, and the tasting counter. Bar the first, from everywhere else in the restaurant, guests are presented with the view of the open kitchen, infecting diners with excitement as the well-oiled crew puts out their seemingly coordinated performance.
That said, the main show—as is the case in any true culinary joint—belongs to the food, which can be enjoyed both a la carte and through a tasting menu experience. The chefs’ European-based culinary backgrounds shine, while their Indonesian upbringings provide unique touches to the menu. Guided by August’s flavour ‘database’ of the market, local ingredients and happy mistakes made along the way, Chef Hans has whipped up an innovative range of snacks and dishes that break away from one-dimensional tastes while remaining comfortingly familiar.
It is most evident in the Foie PB&J—inspired by the Smucker’s Uncrustables, Chef Hans’ favourite frozen peanut butter and jelly sandwiches—which embodies hints of savoury, sweetness, and fruity in its combination of crispy bread, foie gras mousse, peanut praline, topped with pickled grapes. As for the main course, the tender Probiotic-Fed Chicken Breast from Blitar, with its chicken leg sausage and caramelised fermented chilli, stock and coconut milk sauce, takes the cake.
Of course, a meal won’t be complete without dessert, and with ‘Prince of Pastry’ Chef Ardika helming the operation, there’s plenty to look forward to. His creations favour natural sweeteners and showcase his clever adaptations of local ingredients; such as Aceh-grown chocolate and Garut-sourced coffee beans. A favourite among friends of August is the Vanilla Ice Cream, smoked with rambutan and jackfruit wood chips, which features a mini-cookie base with chocolate shavings on top.
Lovers of spontaneity can rejoice, for the menu will continue to expand over time, allowing diners to come and be surprised with each visit. But whatever’s on the table, take comfort in the fact that the team is there to take care of you. Just like a visit to a friend’s home, at August, one can expect an exchange of friendly banter squeezed in between meticulously-crafted dishes to while away the evening in style.