Tuesday, December 4, 2012

Gastro Alley PIK : It All Comes Down To The Food

All the fancy decor, the money spent on interior design, the branding concept, the logo, the high end music station, the fancy plates, knives and spoons won't matter in the end. Because in the end, it all comes down to the food.

Sure, we appreciate beautiful well crafted comfort. We understand you need something to attract people to your place. But more often that not, these supporting acts are put on the main stage, while the food become somewhat an additional side show just cameo-ing the place.

It's what's happening in most restaurants in PIK. As a resident nearby, I find it hard to get good food. There's only a handful of decent ones. I'm glad to add one more to that noteworthy list: Gastro Alley. Not only that they pay attention to the ambience but more importantly they take their food seriously. Spend a few minutes and chat with the chef / owner than you'll capture the immense passion behind every dish he created.

Here's a few of what I tasted on his invitation the other day:

Cola Chicken Wings (IDR 37k)
See the beautifully glazed skin? That's the work of sugar sweetened soy and coke. While the flesh might not weight that much, but the flavor is an acceptable trade off.

Mushroom Soup (IDR 31k) & Clam Chowder (IDR 33k)
Both soups did a good job appetizing the tastebuds. On a detailed note, the first one was wonderful with the coarse-grounded tidbits of shrooms and the truffle oils is the cherry on top. A tidy bit salty to my liking though. While the clam chowder, is a smoother option in both texture and flavor.

Penne Vodka (IDR 49k) & Spaghetti Bolognaise (IDR 47k)
Again, the earlier is somewhat superior to the latter. The touch of vodka into the tomato, cream, & cheese sauce made it stand out to the already al-dente pasta.

Terrific Wagyu Tender Steak (IDR 169k) & Serious Wagyu Sirloin Steak (IDR 139k)
This is what I would recommend if you have an extra cash in your wallet. Both steak are cooked just on the right edge of medium. Juicy with all the goodness of a beef, texture-wise and flavor-wise. Sous-vide cooked rarely goes wrong I suppose. The tenderloin however is a personal favorite of mine. I love the experimental nature of this dish with the addition of melon slices. Surprisingly it matches the meat well when eaten together. Have it as it is or mix it with the mushroom / red wine sauce.

Classic Burger (IDR 53k) & Gastro Burger (IDR 56k) 
I kinda forgot which is which, but they are equally good. Remember our mantra? When in doubt ... Get both! ;)

Espresso Creme Brulee (IDR 39k) & Cheesecake (IDR 40k)
If you fancy the kind of dessert that's not too sweet, this is tailored for you. Cheesecake made intentionally to bring out the cheese more than the sugar. With the texture that's coarser and less dense than the common cheesecake, it is yet another twist from the chef. The creme brulee was a miss though.  It was so watery due to a slight change in recipe by the sous-chef. I guess Gastro's kitchen is just made that way, its more play than work in there.

Well as you might have noticed from the fine print, things that are good does come with a price tag. Some might be fine with it, but they are not for daily consumption for most people. I rest that case for you to decide.

I look forward to more of foodplace like Gastro Alley in PIK. The one that would rather put a menu off the list temporarily just because they're best supplier for quality lemon is out of stock. The one that would take into considerations the amount of calories, mix of flavor and texture before devising a menu. And finally the one that would value honest opinion from the patrons rather than a sugarcoated comment. Because of one reason, that it all comes down to the food.

Signing off, tune in to my tweets @Wanderbites.

Fellexandro Ruby
Food storyteller & photographer


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