Dining in a hotel restaurant can be an intimidating and frustrating affair. It is as if the chichi interiors are threatening to swallow you up into a humiliating void the moment you picked up the wrong spoon for appetiser. Yet nothing is more frustrating than mediocre food that do not match up to its ostentatious setting. Because at the end of the day, a customer do not need a grand illusion that their, say, plate of fried rice is far superior just because of its location or price.
Thankfully, one can find none of that in Waha Kitchen, an intimate restaurant located in Kosenda Hotel. Though the size of the establishment is compact, it is by no means claustrophobic. What it fosters, is a sense of familiarity of a neighbourhood eatery minus the sloppiness. That sophisticated twist is forged through the interior – the kind of straightforward contemporariness that is unimposing.
The same is also felt through their menu, that consists mainly of Peranakan cuisine, thanks to Melbourne restaurateur of 25 years, Stewart Gan. The highlight is no doubt the all time favourite Laksa that is served with chicken, seafood or roast duck. Adding to the hunger-chasing food, Waha Kitchen also provides a feast for the eye. Sprawling across a two-story high wall is artist Sanchia Hamidjaja’s amusing interpretation on the chaotic and bustling streets of Jakarta through quirky illustration.
In a way, the experience in Waha Kitchen reveals plenty about the current state of Jakarta – an urban city with a respectful nod to its past.