E&O: Will Meyrick's Latest Venture in Jakarta.

Rule #1: When Chef Will Meyrick invites you to a private dinner, saying 'No' means that you're going to miss one hell of an awesome night.
Rule #2: There is no such thing as rule #2, dear. It's an inescapable statement.

Not only because he had established firsthand these two popular restaurants in Bali: Sarong (which hit Miele Guide's list again this year) and Mamasan, or because he’s subsequently famous for his recently launched cookbook entitled ‘Sarong Inspirations’; or maybe for the very least reason: because he’s a soon-to-be celebrity posing as one of the upcoming Top Chef Indonesia’s judges.

No. But mainly, because I have huge respect to this brilliant guy. Will Meyrick started way back in Sydney, by then he’d already been stirring up some modern Thai & Asian flavors to the local Aussie mates. That was until he decided to settle in Bali and run a happy family. His passion for learning about how the locals cook and how they’d discover authentic tastes, has brought him to several culinary journeys throughout Asia and that’s undeniably reflected on how he visions and interprets food. Man, this guy knows more Asian than most of us do! Ask yourself: Have you ever been to Thailand, Burma, Vietnam, Cambodia just to explore their honest cuisine flavor founded mostly on streets? Well I haven't. This is exactly why, I was very eager to hear that he finally creates something exciting in Jakarta. And that’s what E&O is all about.

 

Chef Will Meyrick

Chef Will Meyrick

E&O: EASTERN & ORIENTAL.

 E&O is the birth-child of an exciting collaboration between Chef Will Meyrick and the same creators of Loewy and Union. E&O, short for “Eastern & Oriental”, is something that Will would constitute as honest Thai & Vietnamese cuisine, as a result of his frequent insightful traveling to most South Asian places. It also sets the bar pretty high for modern Asian dining experience in Jakarta.

Few weeks ago I had the honor to taste duo Chef Will Meyrick & Chef Palm Amatawet's creation in a 5-course-8-meal private dinner along with Wati Meyrick (his wife), Raechel Temily (PR of Sarong & Mamasan), Catherine Vilia (E&O Marketing) and several other bloggers. My first impression of the place: quite spacious, modern rustic ambiance with hardwood materials and dimmed lighting, and a huge bar with well-crafted cocktails and wine list. Also, on Friday night it gets very noisy with music & people chattering and not the kind that would let you have quiet conversations to begin with. I seriously can’t wait to come here for lunch, because the atmosphere might be totally different. Large windows will reflect enough sun to brighten up the room, and the music won’t be as loud as night.

THE STARTERS.

Few canapes and some drinks were served before we headed to our main dining table. These two below are perfect starters, but if you’re very much into Pork Belly, I heard E&O’s Crispy Pork Belly with Tamarillo and Tamarind Sauce is really good so you might hate to skip them.

Salmon Betel Leaf with Galangal, Dried Shrimps, Roasted Chillies, Coriander and Salmon Roe (IDR 32k/pcs). THIS IS A VERY RECOMMENDED STARTER. I can't help but to emphasize that eating this was definitely an explosion of flavors, bursting in your mouth. Please note that it is quite spicy. It's also my first time eating Betel Leaf, and as predicted you have to eat it like the Koreans: wrap them altogether!

Salmon Betel Leaf with Galangal, Dried Shrimps, Roasted Chillies, Coriander and Salmon Roe (IDR 32k/pcs).

THIS IS A VERY RECOMMENDED STARTER. I can't help but to emphasize that eating this was definitely an explosion of flavors, bursting in your mouth. Please note that it is quite spicy. It's also my first time eating Betel Leaf, and as predicted you have to eat it like the Koreans: wrap them altogether!

Chicken and Prawn in Egg Net with Peanuts, Lemongrass, Mint and Pickled Cucumber and Shallots Relish (IDR 65k). In here the locals say it as 'Dadar Gulung' with various tasty filling. It's good, but the previous Salmon Betel Leaf was a tough one to beat, so if you could only afford to order 1 type of Starters, just letting you know that I'm still rooting for that one.  

Chicken and Prawn in Egg Net with Peanuts, Lemongrass, Mint and Pickled Cucumber and Shallots Relish (IDR 65k). In here the locals say it as 'Dadar Gulung' with various tasty filling. It's good, but the previous Salmon Betel Leaf was a tough one to beat, so if you could only afford to order 1 type of Starters, just letting you know that I'm still rooting for that one.

 

THE 5-COURSE-8-MEAL DINNER

Selection of Northern Thai Relishes with “Nam Prik Ong”, “Nam Prik Goong”, “Nam Prik Num” and Crispy Tempura Vegetables (IDR 125k). What’s being “tempura-ized” in English is what the locals call ‘Gorengan’ in here. And it’s the staple food of our nation’s street-food so I guess we won’t be complaining at all having all of these. Crispy water-spinach, mushroom, and white fish were accompanied with 3 different relishes originated from Northern Thailand: Nam Prik Ong (chicken & tomato), Nam Prik Goong (dried shrimp, chili & lemon), and Nam Prik Num (eggplant & green chili). The 1st one has the mildest flavor from the tomatoes, whereas the 2nd relish really awakens your taste bud with more heat and sour kick. The 3rd relish is great too but I personally love Nam Prik Ong & Goong best. Be easy on eating these because it came on a huge portion so you might get full already before the main course even came. Perfect for sharing up to 4 people.

Selection of Northern Thai Relishes with “Nam Prik Ong”, “Nam Prik Goong”, “Nam Prik Num” and Crispy Tempura Vegetables (IDR 125k).

What’s being “tempura-ized” in English is what the locals call ‘Gorengan’ in here. And it’s the staple food of our nation’s street-food so I guess we won’t be complaining at all having all of these. Crispy water-spinach, mushroom, and white fish were accompanied with 3 different relishes originated from Northern Thailand: Nam Prik Ong (chicken & tomato), Nam Prik Goong (dried shrimp, chili & lemon), and Nam Prik Num (eggplant & green chili). The 1st one has the mildest flavor from the tomatoes, whereas the 2nd relish really awakens your taste bud with more heat and sour kick. The 3rd relish is great too but I personally love Nam Prik Ong & Goong best. Be easy on eating these because it came on a huge portion so you might get full already before the main course even came. Perfect for sharing up to 4 people.

Southern Hot and Sour Soup of Fish with Kedondong Leaves, Turmeric, Chillies, Lime Leaves and Coriander (IDR 80k half/140k regular). I almost thought that because E&O’s a Thai restaurant they would come strong as to serve typical Thai’s soup: Tom Yum Goong, but thank God it wasn’t. Instead, we were introduced to Southern Thai flavor, with Red Snapper hot & sour soup that KICKS ASS. Whoops, sorry, gotta say it because the heat punches right through your taste bud and it lingers there, leaving a quite burning sensation (because I bit the chili, haha). The fish was perfect, not mushy-overcooked, and not a single stinky smell. The combinations of all Asian herbs is so powerful leaving me wanting for more at the end. Great refreshing soup!

Southern Hot and Sour Soup of Fish with Kedondong Leaves, Turmeric, Chillies, Lime Leaves and Coriander (IDR 80k half/140k regular).

I almost thought that because E&O’s a Thai restaurant they would come strong as to serve typical Thai’s soup: Tom Yum Goong, but thank God it wasn’t. Instead, we were introduced to Southern Thai flavor, with Red Snapper hot & sour soup that KICKS ASS. Whoops, sorry, gotta say it because the heat punches right through your taste bud and it lingers there, leaving a quite burning sensation (because I bit the chili, haha). The fish was perfect, not mushy-overcooked, and not a single stinky smell. The combinations of all Asian herbs is so powerful leaving me wanting for more at the end. Great refreshing soup!

Grilled Beef Salad with Green Mango, Shallots, Peanuts, Mint and Nahm Jim Jauw (IDR 90k). Now this, this is something I would strongly recommend. It’s by far the BEST Thai Grilled Beef Salad I’ve ever had, with no exaggeration. The beef was slow-cooked before being pan-seared and sliced thinly, leaving the inside still pink-ish but not-at-all chewy. It’s a delicate interplay between the sourness & crunch from the mangoes, the juicy beef, peanuts, mint, and any other ingredients that made this dish really stood out that night. It’s the kind of Asian salad that I’d prefer over any kind of typical western salad. But also beware if you can’t handle the heat, then you might find this dish too overpowering.

Grilled Beef Salad with Green Mango, Shallots, Peanuts, Mint and Nahm Jim Jauw (IDR 90k).

Now this, this is something I would strongly recommend. It’s by far the BEST Thai Grilled Beef Salad I’ve ever had, with no exaggeration. The beef was slow-cooked before being pan-seared and sliced thinly, leaving the inside still pink-ish but not-at-all chewy. It’s a delicate interplay between the sourness & crunch from the mangoes, the juicy beef, peanuts, mint, and any other ingredients that made this dish really stood out that night. It’s the kind of Asian salad that I’d prefer over any kind of typical western salad. But also beware if you can’t handle the heat, then you might find this dish too overpowering.

“Choo Chee” of Crispy Barramundi with Chilli and Thai Basil (IDR 170k). Choo Chee is basically red curry, cooked in high heat until the curry gets really hot that it literally makes “choooo cheeee” sound. Fresh Barramundi is deep-fried until golden crisp, then red sauce is being poured with addition of chili & Thai basil. Despite the fiery red color, it’s actually not that hot (the previous soup was far hotter than this) – in fact, there’s a slight hint of sweetness and the much-added creamy coconut milk just tone down the flavor to a milder one. You’re advised to eat them with Thai Jasmine Rice (which is super fragrant BTW), or Roti Canai. Damn delicious!

“Choo Chee” of Crispy Barramundi with Chilli and Thai Basil (IDR 170k).

Choo Chee is basically red curry, cooked in high heat until the curry gets really hot that it literally makes “choooo cheeee” sound. Fresh Barramundi is deep-fried until golden crisp, then red sauce is being poured with addition of chili & Thai basil. Despite the fiery red color, it’s actually not that hot (the previous soup was far hotter than this) – in fact, there’s a slight hint of sweetness and the much-added creamy coconut milk just tone down the flavor to a milder one. You’re advised to eat them with Thai Jasmine Rice (which is super fragrant BTW), or Roti Canai. Damn delicious!

Massaman Curry of Slow-Braised Lamb Shank with Cardamom, Shallots, Pumpkin and Tamarind (IDR 170k). Massaman Curry is the staple dish rooted from Moslem Thai. This type of curry has a slightly sweet & thick creamy taste, yet you can still taste the complex curry flavored with cardamom. Just imagine all of that, plus huge lamb-shank cuts that has been slow-braised for hours. Eat them with, again, Thai Jasmine Rice or Roti Canai, I just can’t get enough of it. But maybe because we already had Red ‘choo chee’ curry previously, it’s quite hard to distinct both flavors because both has sweetness hint.

Massaman Curry of Slow-Braised Lamb Shank with Cardamom, Shallots, Pumpkin and Tamarind (IDR 170k).

Massaman Curry is the staple dish rooted from Moslem Thai. This type of curry has a slightly sweet & thick creamy taste, yet you can still taste the complex curry flavored with cardamom. Just imagine all of that, plus huge lamb-shank cuts that has been slow-braised for hours. Eat them with, again, Thai Jasmine Rice or Roti Canai, I just can’t get enough of it. But maybe because we already had Red ‘choo chee’ curry previously, it’s quite hard to distinct both flavors because both has sweetness hint.

Twice-Cooked Beef Short Ribs with Sweet Fish Sauce, Cucumber and Nam Pla Prik (IDR 220k). At first, I didn’t quite like each element of the dish because I found the short ribs were too sweet, the pounded chili too hot and salty, and the Nam Pla Prik too tangy. But at some point when Chef Will sat right next to me, he told me that I ate them wrong! You’re supposed to take a slice of the beef, and dip it to the Nam Pla Prik (chopped chili in fish sauce), and dust them lightly with the pounded chili. HE SHOWED THE STEPS AND THEN FED ME A FORKFUL, and suddenly everything tasted so much better, LOL. No, seriously. With the right sequence, you get an explosion of flavor, the combo of all powerful taste – salty, sweet, sour, and hot – creates a harmonious balanced flavor. Surprisingly great.

Twice-Cooked Beef Short Ribs with Sweet Fish Sauce, Cucumber and Nam Pla Prik (IDR 220k).

At first, I didn’t quite like each element of the dish because I found the short ribs were too sweet, the pounded chili too hot and salty, and the Nam Pla Prik too tangy. But at some point when Chef Will sat right next to me, he told me that I ate them wrong! You’re supposed to take a slice of the beef, and dip it to the Nam Pla Prik (chopped chili in fish sauce), and dust them lightly with the pounded chili. HE SHOWED THE STEPS AND THEN FED ME A FORKFUL, and suddenly everything tasted so much better, LOL. No, seriously. With the right sequence, you get an explosion of flavor, the combo of all powerful taste – salty, sweet, sour, and hot – creates a harmonious balanced flavor. Surprisingly great.

Thai Jasmine Rice – I don’t normally take pictures of steamed rice but this one is quite different, haha. SO FRAGRANT!

Thai Jasmine Rice – I don’t normally take pictures of steamed rice but this one is quite different, haha. SO FRAGRANT!

Cocoa Ganache with Peanut Butter Palm Sugar Ice Cream and Honeycomb Crumble (IDR 50k). Too bad when we were busy doing our ‘foodblogger thingy’ – the ice cream got quite melted. I could taste the peanut butter, and if you’re a sweet-tooth type of person, you’ll love this one. Ganache plus honeycomb crumb, double sweetness.

Cocoa Ganache with Peanut Butter Palm Sugar Ice Cream and Honeycomb Crumble (IDR 50k).

Too bad when we were busy doing our ‘foodblogger thingy’ – the ice cream got quite melted. I could taste the peanut butter, and if you’re a sweet-tooth type of person, you’ll love this one. Ganache plus honeycomb crumb, double sweetness.

Durian Panna Cotta with White Sticky Rice (IDR 50k). Wow. A perfect closing that became everybody’s favorite. Soft pannacotta texture infused with durian and a big dollop of fresh crème on top. Luckily the portion was big enough for sharing, and I’d say for IDR 50k it’s totally worth it. But honestly, what I love the most is the sticky rice topped with real durian and roasted white sesame. OMG so delicious it literally melts in your mouth! Very, very recommended. 

Durian Panna Cotta with White Sticky Rice (IDR 50k).

Wow. A perfect closing that became everybody’s favorite. Soft pannacotta texture infused with durian and a big dollop of fresh crème on top. Luckily the portion was big enough for sharing, and I’d say for IDR 50k it’s totally worth it. But honestly, what I love the most is the sticky rice topped with real durian and roasted white sesame. OMG so delicious it literally melts in your mouth! Very, very recommended. 

IF YOU ASK ME, DOES IT LIVE UP TO THE HYPE?

Yes. It’s definitely not just another fancy restaurant with mid-high prices yet mediocre food quality. E&O, as I mentioned before, is a sample of great collaboration between business management and its creative people behind, plus brilliant menu creations from passionate chefs & awesome cocktails selection from its award-winning mixologists; and to top them all, you get first class service from the front house team.

And when you do come here, (based on this dinner only), my recommendation would strongly be: Salmon Betel Leaf, Grilled Beef Thai Salad, and Durian Pannacotta. You also have to experiment their broad selections of curry. When I came there the 2nd time, I tried Green Curry of Barramundi, and it was… divine. One of the best green curries out there! And I also sampled their Slow-Braised Duck, Tom Yum Goong, and Grilled Lamb Skewers with Yellow Curry. For desserts, also tried their Nutella Steamed Buns with Coconut Ice Cream and Vietnamese Coffee, soooo delicious. Anything with Nutella in it can’t hardly go wrong. Sorry I had to use direct flash on below photos, but I hope you’ll get the idea.

Ah, so many things to try, and I haven’t found a single dish that disappoints. Looking forward to another E&O experience, maybe next time I’ll hop on their lunch menu specials. Do make a visit when you’re around Mega Kuningan and looking for some good places to eat.

E&O Jakarta
Menara Rajawali, 1st Floor
Jl. Dr Ide Anak Agung Gde Agung LOT#5.1
Kawasan Mega Kuningan, Jakarta Selatan 12950

Phone: +6221.2902.3418
FB Fan Page: E & O
Twitter: @eandojakarta