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Get Smart Casual in Loewy Jakarta

Published 03 June 2008   

Loewy has instantly been declared Holy Ground for Jakarta ’s smart diners. It makes neurotic VE HANDOJO not only want to come back, but work as a waiter there. For free.

In the Spring of fake minimalism, style-over-substance cases, tummy punishing glamorous dining, and nerve-challenging service quality in supposedly cozy cafes, Loewy stands alone as the new kid on the cool new block of Jakarta that hits most of the right tones. Give them another month or two to sharpen the waiters, and they’ll be ten out of ten.

The name of the place is taken from – yes, you’re right, Old Man! – Raymond Loewy, an industrial designer who helped define American culture during the 20th century. That legendary Coca Cola bottle? The Shell logo? The Greyhound bus? Lucky Strike packaging? He’s guilty of them all.

Loewy (the restaurant) is like Loewy (the designer) in terms of identity itself. It’s a French bistro with a 1940’s American style, and he’s a Frenchie in Uncle Sam’s land. The rest of the proof on how this place – tucked comfortably into the corner of Oakwood Premier Cozmo building – has really pulled it off will be verified according to some famous quotes by Raymond Loewy.

The Oakwood-block is the new-found paradise for smart Jakartans. Quick, make something there. Something to provide a reason to keep coming back, and to stay from sunrise to midnight. The guys behind the success of Cork & Screw and Casa (where cool, retro-style furnishings and un-cool service quality originated) then joined forces. Spontaneously, and instantly, the place became the talk of the town. The soft opening stage has been filled with epic bookings. Reports of good taste, good value, great ambience, and so so service came flooding in. Understaffed, Loewy still manages to reach out for more and more newcomers. Turning complaints to compliments is the key, and that’s rarely used in other places in Jakarta these days. You wait for far too long for your steak? Enjoy the complimentary Brussels waffle!

This mantra is properly applied in the excellent wood and metal work that dominate the interior. Square dining tables are made distinctive with lower parts of antique sewing machines as the feet, infusing the industrial atmosphere. Factory lamps light the bar with a nostalgic shade. Tin and copper ceiling panels add subtle reflection, lifting up the lively air. Outer floor-to-ceiling glass panels are opened during the evening to let the fresh air breeze inside, and create a more spacious sense. From the outside, it looks both as cute as a French maid, and as inviting as an American hostess. The fashionable patio is good for sipping flamboyant cocktails or coffee.

Achieving nods for the design doesn’t mean Loewy pays no attention to the food. Chef Benoit Claeys, of the famed Koi restaurant, does magic again. Aside from his winning items that have been popularized in Cork & Screw – such as mille-feuille and apple crumble – Claeys also fills the menu card with hyper-delicious, fresh crab ravioli, chicken and apple salad with Indian curry, and steak frites.

Notable recommendations include the very authentic French onion soup to dazzle your throat, and 200 grams of Australian tenderloin at only Rp 95K. Wind your afternoon away with Brussels waffles, at Rp 20K for a hearty platter, but I bet you’ll end up paying at least Rp 40K, you greedy-over-anything-yummy creatures!

If junky stuff will murder the consumers, food in Loewy will make them want to live longer.

Loewy keeps the price on a human level, and sets the air in casual style. No dress code complications, no pretentious overglamourizing, no nonsense. Because, another mantra of Loewy is also applied here rather literally: “Style for the sake of style alone will have less meaning to the consumer than value.”

Giving value means getting profit, in most cases, at least. With full bookings almost every night, the cashier can nod to another of Loewy’s industrial statements: “The most beautiful curve is the rising sales graph.”

With what his believers have done in Jakarta, Raymond Loewy could smile in his grave knowing that even the 21st century has been made cozy with his teachings. We’ll spread the gospel!

Oakwood Premier Cozmo
Jl. Lingkar Mega Kuningan E 4.2 No. 1
Jakarta Selatan 12950
Tel: +62 21 25542378