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Splashed Across the Front Page Jakarta

Published 01 December 2008   

There are plenty of new establishments opening these days and this one is for sure aiming to be on the front page…

Text by Erza S.T.

Back in 2000 Jakarta was dazed by an establishment named Cinnabar. Designed by Dan Kwan it was a place that instantly became a focal point for the city’s beautiful people; visually arresting but also delectable in taste. Unfortunately, around 2004 we had to give Cinnabar a fond farewell and one of Jakarta’s great socialite playgrounds then only laid in our memories. Some years after, there was an attempt to restart the venue as a restaurant but this infamous attempt failed and lasted only 5 months before the venue once more fell back into its hiatus. That all changed recently as veteran restaurateur, Deepak Samtani, who brought us Anatolia, Bombay Blue and Maroush, took over and revived it into what is now known as Front Page Restaurant and Wine Lounge.

The greatest challenge for them was to bring back the former clientele to the new Front Page. In a way they tried to carry on Dan Kwan’s original lay out of Cinnabar with slight cosmetic changes on the exterior and the interior décor. The décor now reflects the name Front Page where front pages from various publications are put in frames as well as on lamps. The Front Page concept is a collaboration between two people who brought us Aphrodite and Fez Bar. Yes! Fred & Daniel are hand in hand creating the menu as well as the concept. As a result you will find a menu that is stretching from Asia to the west; from Thai mango salad to the whole pasta galore with a focus on the meat territory. We can say that the menu here is pretty modest. However, it does have value for money as the portions of each course are intriguingly enormous.

As for the taste, on our visit to Front Page it fell short on impressing our palate. The mini rösti Front Page style is unmemorable though this one appetizer alone is enough to fill you up and prevent you from getting into the next course. Plus, you will need chili sauce to enjoy it. You can skip the Caesar salad (unless you are on the Atkin’s diet) and go directly to the meat section if that is more to your liking. The lamb chop Provencal served with ratatouille and Lyonnais potato is surprisingly decent and enjoyable. The three generous sizes of lamb chop will guarantee your carnivore desire satisfactorily and comes in at a surprisingly good price.

If you visit Front Page, it is better for a quick dinner; pass the dessert and directly hit the bar. Though they might have at best mediocre food, the beverage section is far from average. With a long list of cocktails, spirits and wines they will guarantee to entertain your night out in grand style. Their wine selection is mostly Australian with a few samples from other regions. However, if you are not sure with the Australian wines then we advise you to go directly to the champagne for a safer option. Thank God for the Krug! Indeed it is a challenge for Front Page to outshine the previous establishments at that location. Perhaps if they added more originality and ambience to it then they might have a chance to shine and wouldn’t be compared to anyone, anymore.

Front Page Restaurant & Wine Lounge
Plaza Gani Djemat
Jl. Imam Bonjol 76-78
Menteng, Jakarta 10310