If Oma Elly’s other ventures rekindle Chef Andry Susanto’s memories of his oma’s cooking, Nonna Bona at Ashta District 8 is his inspired adaptation of the steakhouses he encountered in Italy.
Striking a contrast with the sleek and imposing skyscrapers that surround it, Nonna Bona is warm. Within, a variety of red hues intermingle with one another and blend with notes of wood—a symbolic imagery, one could say, of the red meat dish that is central to the restaurant.
In Italy, the culture of eating ‘la bistecca’ or steak is one that is imbued with conviviality and the sentiment finds its way to Oma Elly’s steakhouse through a personable service. Upon entering, diners are invited to drop by the steak station where the kitchen crew, headed by Chef Gerry Priyantomo, will engage them in conversation about which dry-aged steak would suit their portion and preferences. For example, to a small party looking for a fulfilling meal, Chef Gerry would recommend the Rib Eye; circled with fat, each bite unpacks a burst of rich flavours.
Whichever the pick, each cut of meat is cooked in a wood-fired oven and coated with Nonna Bona’s signature rub: an umami mix of seasonings with porcini mushrooms as its base. The result is a smokey, savoury, sweet and ever-so-slightly spicy succulent cuts of steak that goes down delightfully with or without the included gorgonzola (blue cheese) and salsa verde (parsley, coriander, garlic and extra virgin olive oil) sauces.
But before getting into the carne (meat), start by sharing an antipasti, like the Eggplant Parmigiana, and don’t skip the primi (first course), where you’ll find Nonna Bona’s handmade pasta dishes that have been a crowd-puller since it opened. One to highlight is the Spaghetti Alla Vongole, which features live clams cooked in a combination of white wine, garlic and parsley. And to add a bit of spark, pair these dishes with a signature cocktail. The refreshing Aperol Spritz, in particular, has been quite a hit.
Once all the plates are clean, stay a while longer to indulge in one of Nonna Bona’s range of sweet offerings, like the Pistachio Creme Brulee or Oma Elly’s much-loved gelatos. After all, when you get right down to it, dinners here aren’t meant to be rushed. True to both the Italian and local traditions, a meal in the care of Nonna Bona is a celebratory affair, where food and company are meant to be equally enjoyed.