E&O brings Chef Will Meyrick’s impressive repertoire of elevated Southeast Asian street food to Jakarta.

Anybody familiar with Bali’s top restaurants should already be well acquainted with Sarong and Mama San, two of the island’s most consistently well-regarded eating establishments, both masterminded by “The Street Food Chef,” Will Meyrick. The posh and refined Sarong, as well as the hip and happening Mama San, offer up a range of authentic Southeast Asian dishes that Meyrick has mastered over more than a decade of exploring the region and elevated through his use of high quality ingredients and impeccable technique. Holidaymakers from Indonesia’s capital have long raved about his restaurants and so many a Jakartan food lover rejoiced at the news that he was opening a brand new venue in the Big Durian.

The restaurant is called E&O, which stands for Eastern and Oriental. Located in the posh Mega Kuningan business district, E&O exists somewhere between Sarong and Mama San, exuding an effortlessly trendy vibe that is a perfect fit for Jakarta’s increasingly sophisticated F&B scene. Seemingly effortless I should say. Meyrick wisely teamed up with the group behind Loewy, the very venue that helped kick off Jakarta’s love affair with the upscale cocktail bar (and happens to sit across the street from E&O), who seem to have the formula for this sort of thing down to a science (see their other uber-popular venue, Union, for further proof).

The Loewy group’s influence can be seen primarily in the venue’s brasserie decor, which certainly echoes its own eponymous eatery. The front of the house is dominated by a long bar, behind which a small army of bartenders work swiftly to produce a creative list of Asian-inflected cocktails. One of our favorites is the Nahm Jim Bloody Mary, which utilizes a black pepper infused vodka muddled with Thai herbs to create a memorably piquant version of the cocktail classic.

The tables are set with white linen and candles, but are spaced close enough to create an appropriately boisterous atmosphere, as raucous conversation from neighboring parties waft across the room. The attentive servers, knowledgeable and full of suggestions on how best to enjoy your meal, explain to new diner’s the menu’s philosophy, which built around the idea of communal eating. Mains come in huge portions which would be almost impossible to finish one-on-one, so a four person table would be best served by ordering 2 or 3 to share, along with a few starters and desserts to round out the meal.

As alluded to before, Meyrick is not interested in fusion cuisine or putting his own unique spins on the Thai and Vietnamese dishes he serves here. Rather, he hopes to create an ideal version of each, using the best ingredients he can source and balancing the heady mix of herbs and spices in each dish to achieve maximum impact. Take a starter of prawn served atop betel leaf, with chili jam, shredded coconut, pomelo and peanut. The term “symphony of flavors” is certainly overused, but is perfectly apt to describe dishes like this. Each element provides their own notes: the sweetness of the prawn and coconut, the tangy astringency of the betel leaf, the spice of the chili jam, the sour acidity of pomelo and the crunch of peanut. It takes a high caliber chef like Meyrick to conduct each of these disparate flavor notes and make them work in harmony.




Many of the menu’s most impressive dishes come in the form of immense curries. The roasted duck curry with lychees finds a fine balance between the luscious, slightly gamey duck meat, the delicate spicing of the red curry and the sweetness of lychee. The massaman curry, which comes with a huge hock of fork-tender pork, is thick and unctuous in just the right way, the fierce spiciness of the dish managing not to overwhelm the flavor of the meat. Individuals can take their curries with rice, but we suggest they opt for the restaurant’s brilliantly rendered roti channai, which achieves the platonic ideal of fried bread, being buttery, crisp and flaky enough that you will be seriously tempted to order a second just to sop up every last drop of curry still clinging to the serving dish.

The dense menu is full of similarly well-executed dishes which reflect Meyrick’s encyclopedic knowledge of the region’s cuisine. The one place on the menu where he does inject a bit of his own fusion flare is the desserts. Which is fair enough, given that the culinary traditions that he draws upon have never really been known for their post-meal sweets. Meyrick takes what works about the best Southeast Asian desserts and makes them work in the context of an upscale eatery. His durian panna cotta is perhaps the best argument ever to give the notoriously noxious fruit a second chance. For those who already love durian, it’s fantastic, but the lusciously creamy panna cotta, paired with sticky rice, dials back the fruits aggressive flavor and perfume to the point even haters could enjoy its complex qualities.

Despite Jakarta’s position as one of the regions biggest capitals, it has long lacked in terms of truly great food from its Southeast Asian neighbors. Meyrick has finally solved this problem, and the Big Durian owes him a debt of thanks for that, which they shall surely repay him by packing E&O every night. We can’t wait to see what The Street Food Chef cooks up next.


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