Two is Better than One

by Julius Kensan and Sandy Indahsari
23rd October 2017
Kuningan says hello to Up In Smoke and One Eyed Jack, where they are housed under one roof. The former a restaurant specialises in superb grilled dishes and the latter a modern Izakaya delivering Japanese cuisine with a twist.

These days, a mere mention of Kuningan is likely to be met with a wince. But for all the horrendous traffic that this district is experiencing on daily basis, there are plenty of good food to be found. After all, why spend all that time tormenting yourself with road rage when you can wait for the traffic to untangle over a satisfying meal?

The latest establishments, Up In Smoke and One Eyed Jack understand this need very well. Sharing an expansive space, the two restaurants provide diners with plenty of options to choose from, depending on your mood. Of course, even if food is not on your agenda, don’t overlook these two establishments as they easily whip up some of the most memorable house cocktails in town.


Up In Smoke

Even before the server placed the menu in your hand, the name of the restaurant easily provides a hint of what to expect here. At Up In Smoke, the restaurant specialises in grilled dishes with a contemporary approach. Even so, the food here is rooted in the traditional techniques that put an emphasis on quality ingredients and taste.

Those who are carnivores at heart will definitely take delight in their selection of main course, which is aptly named as ‘Protein’. If you’re the kind who prefers to stick to classic choices, then their smoked brisket sandwich and grilled ribeye will do nicely. But since you’re here, you might as well have a go at their Papuan wild boar sausage where the meat is directly sourced from the region. Apart from the customary choices of red meat, there are also seafood options that deserve equal attention. Their deceptively simple grilled snapper in aioli sauce and potato is a strong contender.

Still, Up In Smoke believes that a good source of protein can come in other form as well. Over at their ‘Vegetables’ section, choices like grilled broccoli, where it comes with pickled gold raisin, spiced cashew and Romesco sauce, will easily appeal to those who prefer to have light yet sustaining lunch.

Come evening, it’ll be a shame not to indulge in a drink or two after your meal. Cocktails are limited but thought-through, as Up In Smoke prefers to hone in on a tight selection of superbly made house cocktails instead. To wit, Noe Sour (Jim Bean White, Cherry Herring, lime, egg white and aromatic bitters) is the go-to pick that won’t disappoint.

Rounding off the experience in Up In Smoke is its spacious establishment. The best spot is the table facing their open kitchen, where you can observe the staff in action over at the open fire grill. The appeal of the corner is further amped up on a chilly rainy day.

While Up In Smoke is frequented with nearby office professionals on weekdays, the crowd is decidedly more family friendly during weekends. Such is the versatility of Up In Smoke where the establishment easily appeals to two camps of diners. Don’t worry if you’re considering of braving the traffic just to get to this restaurant, your effort will not go up in smoke.


One Eyed Jack

There may be plenty of Japanese izakaya in Jakarta, but One Eyed Jack puts a modern twist with hints of Peruvian flavours with their offerings that warrant continuous visits. If the name sounds familiar, it’s because the establishment has made its mark in Canggu, Bali.

With a Nobu Restaurant (Malibu and New York) veteran as their executive chef, you’re definitely in good hands here. The selections here are filled with light and bite-sized options that are ideal for a quick meal or if you’re not to keen on downing alcohol with an empty stomach.

Get ready to be spoilt with choice when in One Eyed Jack. But, the staff will most likely to recommend you Hamachi (Yellowtail tuna) Jalapeno that comes with yuzu soy sauce, the fresh shrimp taco and even the classic yakitori.

Having said that, heavier options are also available here, such as grilled salmon and their version of fried rice that comes with generous portion of barbequed pork. The best part about One Eyed Jack is that dishes are surprisingly light. Even if you combined sashimi, yakitori and bites with rice bowl, you won’t be overstuffed.

While food reigns here, the drinks are not secondary at all. The most recommended pick is Numazu (Nigori sake, coconut water, lemon and mint), where it’s hard to stop at just one glass. At night, one should opt for Nara Sidecar, the smoky whisky based cocktail served with orange liqueur and yuzu.

It’s a no brainer’s choice to visit One Eyed Jack for an after work dinner or a night out of drinking with pals. Visiting with an empty stomach won’t be a problem either, with a selection of assorted menu such as Grilled Salmon and Shiitake Sliders, one can easily combine different light options to make a full meal. Plus, since it shares the space with Up In Smoke, you can mixed things up and order a few dishes from the other side.