14th June 2024
Charkoal in SCBD embraces the philosophy of primitive cooking, utilising wood, smoke, and fermentation processes to enhance the flavours of each ingredient in their 14-course degustation menu.

If one were to be asked their favourite dish at Charkoal, the casual fine-dining restaurant in SCBD by Ismaya Group and Chef Adhitia Pratama Julisiandi, a pause would probably follow. Not because one dish amongst the 14-course degustation is more flavourful or more memorable than the other. Perhaps, by the end of the roughly 2-hour meal, it turns out that the cooking process that ties each course, done with such conviction that is both fresh and curious, leaves a stronger impression. 

Primal cooking is how Chef Adhitia would describe the operations at Charkoal. This means cooking with no gas, and solely relying on wood and smoke to draw out the interesting flavours of each ingredient. The seasoned cook with over ten years of experience also tries to make the best out of the ingredients through fermentation, even growing mushrooms on-site to supply for one of his favourite dishes to make at Charkoal.

The seasonal menu, set to rotate after six months, opens with a pairing of wood-fired bread and nori butter with shavings of bottarga (fish roe), already building up a sense of taste that threads the 14-course journey. But then diners might be delightfully surprised with the refreshing palate cleanser slipped between courses, as revealed in Shine Muscat, a spoonful of muscat grape put together with soursop, eucalyptus and mint.

One of the main dishes, a personal favourite of Chef Adhitia, features a seven-day dry-aged Australian Murray cod, grilled with just the right balance of char and crisp; the fish is served with a delicately tangy orange kombucha vinaigrette dressing and homegrown furikake mushrooms. Another highlight is the Smoked Picanha, showcasing the grilled cut of Australian wagyu with a curious vegemite sauce garnished with broccolini and pineapple sprinkles.

Deftly portioned and well-balanced in flavour, dinner at Charkoal can be compelling, especially when those who pay a visit can fully appreciate the creative labour that goes into realising Chef Adhit’s ideas. While such expectations are warranted of a place like Charkoal, there’s also the satisfaction in delving into a dish that is thoughtfully created, making it a worthwhile visit for the pure pleasure of enjoying good food.