14th February 2024
Centred on the idea of progressive dining, Ante at Menara Mandiri in Sudirman underlines their ability to surprise diners with fresh interpretations of familiar local flavours and ingredients.

“Progressive was our way of saying the new doesn’t always have to be super experimental, and the old doesn’t have to be traditionally boring,” shared Dimas Alzuura, co-founder and head bartender of Ante.

Distancing themselves from the borders of ‘fine dining’ that often translates to a set course or degustation menu, the menu at Ante at Menara Mandiri in Sudirman also embraces a more casual approach with their alternative a la carte lunch menu, where the dining experience is centred on creating new dimensions to familiar, often overlooked local flavours.

For the team, being progressive extends to the smallest details, including initiatives such as coasters made of waste citrus husks and kitchen waste to transforming recycled fabric into furniture and staff uniforms. In the kitchen, it also translates to being “free and liberal within our style of cuisine, from the way our food is crafted, to using different techniques from a mix of cuisines such as French, Japanese, Italian and Indonesian,” explained Dimas. 

Take, for instance, the deceivingly simple deconstructed Plaga Farm Tomato, where three ripe, blood-red tomatoes sit on a bed of fresh leaf salad. At a glance, the dish may look underwhelming in its simple presentation, but on the contrary, it’s among the dishes that pack the most surprise. From the first bite, the expectation of soft, tender tomatoes is quickly substituted with the cool burst of sweet and sour juice that oozes from its succulent, almost meat-like texture.

Meanwhile, the Mushroom Melanger Medley is presented like a creamy mini-tiered tart made of different variations and forms of the fungi—tartlet, mousseline, pickles and jus—that is almost rich enough to be a dessert. 

Still, even with the team’s clever combinations of ingredients and techniques, there’s a sense of simplicity that grounds the menu at Ante, which presents itself in dishes like the signature Mangut Mekajiki, which pairs the belly of the Bali-caught swordfish, lightly smoked and coated in a Javanese curry traditionally used to cook ikan lele or catfish that many Indonesians would acquaint with streetside stalls.

Not to be mistaken as mere companions to the dishes, the drinks too reveal liberal explorations of flavour. Playing to their strength of crafting in-house blends, the bar team serves creations like the Negroni twist of ABC123, where the Campari is swapped for a non-alcoholic bitter liqueur made of beetroot waste from the kitchen, alongside Sunflower, which features their tropical take on the Italian-inspired liqueur Rosolio, blending jasmine petals, mango skin and andaliman pepper waste. 

Much like an orchestra that gradually peaks in pace and rhythm, at Ante, the symphony of flavour is layered and comprehensive, strung in a way that builds up as the meal progresses, until it finally reaches its crescendo.