A little birdie told me that the Chef at one of the PEPeNERO branches in Jakarta was a good looking Italian. So good looking that this little birdie's friend often frequented the restaurant in hopes of a glimpse of this Chef. Interest piqued, I went to investigate with M to the Menara Karya Branch.
I felt right at home the moment I entered Menara Karya Lobby, on my left hand side the restaurant had some tables outside with warm lighting and plenty of plants.
It was easy enough to get a table for two, it was Monday night after all. While we peruse our menu, we were given a basketful of 4 types breads. Then they also gave us the special complimentary appetizer, a couple of bruschettas.
For drinks, we both got the Iced Lemon Tea. For mine, I asked that the sugar is separated. After deciding to get one pasta and one pizza to share, I ordered the squid ink pasta with salmon cream sauce. M ordered the pizza, I forgot which one it was but it was one with Italian sausages.
We devoured the breads while waiting for the main courses, my favorite was the bread sticks: crispy and crunchy and less carbs? I wish. So while we ate and waited for our main courses, we had our eyes and ears opened. After all, we were there on 2 mission: to confirm a certain rumor and to eat. We saw a foreigner guy gliding around the room, checking the tables and the booking list. However, as his hair was blond-ish, he wasn't the Italian chef we were looking for. The description sent by my source was: dark hair, Italian looking, and wearing a chef uniform.
The kitchen door opened..., alas not the Italian chef. The waitress were carrying our main courses. I love my squid ink pasta. I don't know how a squid ink should taste to tell you the truth, but I enjoyed that pasta. It was well cooked, firm and chewy with delicious sauce. The cream sauce was pinkish from the salmon pieces no doubt. Not too creamy yet rich.
The pizza was thin crusted. Another plus, for me anyway. Crispy on the edges and chewy soft in the middle. The Italian sausages were crisp which reminded me of bacon. Yummy though as it gave the simple pizza it's kick. While we devoured our main courses, we saw someone opening the kitchen door and walking towards the diners' table. Someone wearing a chef uniform with dark hair. I had to assume that this was the Italian chef as M wouldn't let me asked any of the waitress. Was he cute? Yeah, he was kinda cute. So the rumor was confirmed. The Italian(?) chef at PEPeNERO is cute.
For dessert (Ladies, do I still have your attention here?), we ordered Creme filled Crepe with nutella. We asked the waitress if we could have it extra crispy, but unfortunately it wasn't possible because the crepe was the cold kind. It was prepared earlier and was chilled waiting for someone to claim and eat them. We ordered one anyway and we liked it, though once was enough. The crepe was soft on the savory side while the nutella balanced it by being sweet.
As we finished our meal, we were surprised by another complimentary items: limoncello. Chilled with strong smell of both lemon and liqour, it held a good promise. After a sip, indeed it was strong but I loved it.
Our bills didn't reach Rp 200,000. Another plus. Casual yet chic ambience, good quality of food, value for money, good service, oh and a cute chef! What else could a diner want? This diner was satisfied and definitely would be coming back.
Menara Karya Building, 1st Floor
Jl. H.R. Rasuna Said Kav 1-2 Mega Kuningan
+62 21 579 44727
Word of advice: If you go to their branch in Pondok Indah, the food might be of a different quality. M was there a few days before we went to PEPeNERO Kuningan and had a bad experience. We let the staff know at the Kuningan branch and they acknowledged it and said that they were still looking for a head Chef there to oversee the kitchen. Hopefully when they eventually hire this head chef, the food quality on all branches would be on the same standard.