Tuesday, October 9, 2012

Two Wills Does Make It Right. (William Wongso & Will Meyrick JCF 2012 Dinner)

For once in my writing years, I finally find it difficult to verbalize a dining experience, let alone having to manifest the wonderful taste into words. As I begins to write now, I wish with every sentence it could bring justice to what the two brilliant chef brought into the table on the opening night of Jakarta Culinary Festival. Wish me luck.

The night started quite lazy as we all get ourselves acquainted with several glasses of Cape Discovery wines and fellow diners. Somewhere among the crowd was Mrs. Mari Elka Pangestu, the current Minister of Tourism & Creative Economy. As for me, it was delightful to meet Will again after I crossed path with his San Choi Boi at the previous JCF two years ago. To add into the excitement was meeting Om William Wongso himself. They both deserve another blogpost each just to story-tell their vast experience and knowledge in the Asian culinary. I consider myself lucky to be one of the few to enjoy their co-creations.

With 5 appetizers, 9 main courses, 4 side dishes, and 6 samples of dessert, you can imagine the amount of work needs to be done before and in the kitchen. No complaints though. The more the happier I am and indeed, as the night unravel the meals in turn, I began to enjoy the slow ride of Asian delicacies.


From the line of appetizers, the ones that speak to my tastebuds are first and foremost Will Meyrick's Burung Puyuh Tangkap Aceh. The full flavor of quail meets the play of texture from the leaves are a feast in the mouth that I can overlook the extra hint of saltiness in the end. The following two is William Wongso's Slada Bangka Udang and Mentho Yogya. The earlier matches well with Deetlefts Chenin Blanc. It was my first time having bangka turnip as a cold salad and I'm glad to have Om Wongso's take as my benchmark. The latter is a comfort food for me with all the sweets of coconut and beef. They did well in kickstarting my appetite.

Burung Puyuh Tangkap Aceh (by Will Meyrick)
Aceh crispy quail tangkap with crispy curry leaf, pandan leaf and lime. 

Slada Bangka Udang (by William Wongso)
Bangka turnip shrimp salad with orange. 

Mentho Yogya (by William Wongso)
Steamed minced beef roll with sweet coconut sauce. 

Sop Biji-Biji Ternate (by William Wongso)
Ternate island soup with fish and kenari nut ball. 


Heading toward the prime time of the show, I waited expectantly for the arrival of the next mind-blowing meal. Five dishes after, and I concluded that there are three that passed the category as I personally reckon.

Will did great with Udang Asam Pedas. The spicy broth did not overpowered the prawn. Although it gave a surprise in the throat on the first bite, the following was a pleasing sip of well seasoned soup. On par with this meal was Konro Bakar Sulawesi. I'm a fan of beef ribs to start with, and Will's take on this was similar to no other. The black nut peanut sauce is a highlight of its own with one of a kind flavor. That leaves us with one more noteworthy meal, Gulai Kambing Banda Aceh. Thick, savory curry with generous pieces of lamb shank that made me happy.

The only drawback was that some of the table didn't get all of the dishes. My table for instance, we didn't see the presence of Om William's Tumis Paku Bunga Pepaya, Rendang Wagyu, & Oseng Jambal Pancing.

Udang Asam Pedas (by Will Meyrick)
Prawns simmered in hot and sour broth with turmeric leaf and asam kandis. 

Bebek Goreng Tiga Sambal (by Will Meyrick)
Twice cooked cripsy duck with trio of Indonesians sambals. 

Konro Bakar Sulawesi (by Will Meyrick)
Grilled makassar beef ribs simmered in black nut broth with peanut sauce. 

Gulai Kambing Banda Aceh (by Will Meyrick)
Aceh lamb shank curry with lemongrass, ginger flower and curry leaf. 

Tiram Goreng Tepung Pacri Melayu (by William Wongso)
Fried oysters with melayu pineapple chutney. 


Nearing the end of the dinner, I was glad having served with Kering Ubi Ungu. It was almost like a pre-dessert for me. I love sweets and the caramelized sweet potato served its purpose well. Not to mention the fact that it stays crunchy even after all the treatment.

Kering Ubi Ungu (by William Wongso)
Caramelized violet sweet potato


Good thing that I saved a space for the cherry on top, and may I say, none ... yes, none of the desserts failed me. What you see here is a plateful of tongue-pleasing, saliva-inducing treats.

Klepon (by Will Meyrick)
Black sticky rice ball with liquid palm sugar in the centre. 

Carang Gesing Pisang Raja (by William Wongso)
Steamed banana curd in banana leaf. 

Kue Deto (by Will Meyrick)
Steamed coconut cake with jackfruit in pandan leaf. 

Looking at the depth of Indonesian culinary from the creations of both Wills surely opens my eyes again. I think I owe it to myself to do more of Indonesian culinary heritage review.

All in all, it is safe to say that I went home with a happy belly. And you know what they say, after a full belly, all is poetry. It was a night to be remembered. Not only for the food but also for the wonderful people I met. Cheers to Indra & Muthi, to Ria, an old friend whom I met in the event after so long and finally to Jed and Amanda for being a great company with the stories and jokes.

To top it, Will also happened to have his first cookbook, Sarong Inspirations, launched on the night. How grateful I am for receiving one of the signed copy. Am still reading his adventures throughout Cambodia, Thailand, and probably gonna move me to start investing in those kitchen utensils. Or maybe I'll just visit Will to make it easier.

Thank you Ismaya, Dimatique, Martha Stewart Living, Dreams Magazine for making it happen. I wish to experience more of these celebration annually.

For the love of food,

Fellexandro Ruby
Food Storyteller & Photographer


  1. dang it Rubs, ur opportunity to meet the chefs alone already makes me jealous, and now you mercilessly give me those incredible pics :p

  2. Damn, elo ama Jenz beruntung banget yah nyicip2 makanan ginian T_T Great photos as always!


Real Time Analytics