Potato Head Garage

Potato Head Garage


The Potato Head Family brings its eclectic sensibilities to the traditional steakhouse with a venue and food fine enough for even Jay Gatsby’s most extravagant parties.

When Potato Head first opened its doors in Jakarta’s Pacific Place mall in 2009, it quickly won acclaim for its quirky interiors, inventive cocktails and delicious spins on western comfort food fare. The Potato Head Family followed up the success of the original with their sophomore establishment, Potato Head Beach Club, which has become one of the hottest venues in Bali for hanging out, eating well and being seen. For its third effort, the brand went back to Jakarta’s SCBD to open a steakhouse unlike any the capital has seen before.

The move was something of a gamble. A few select steakhouses have managed to carve out a place for themselves in the capital’s restaurant scene, but none of them could be considered trendy, which is a crucial element to the survival of any major new opening in Jakarta these days. But the instincts guiding the Potato Head brain trust proved to be right on the money once again, as this Garage has been buzzing with activity since it opened.




Gatsby’s Garage

Potato Head Garage is full of quirky contrasts. Set in an immense space that formerly housed an indoor stadium, it marries the industrial look of an unfinished warehouse with the posh accents of an art deco mansion. Polished black and white zebra stripe tiles lead guests into the huge dining room, where a constellation of twinkling antique chandeliers cast their light all the way up to the bare metal rafters girding the 25 metre high ceilings. Potato Head’s usual quirky touches go upscale as well, with a grand piano, a Rolls Royce and an immense piece of Russian religious iconographic art helping to fill out the ballroom like space.  A huge bar dominates the center of the room, while tables decked in white linen and sofas in white upholstery stud the dining and lounge areas.

Many of Jakarta’s most popular bars and restaurants take their design cues from the imagery of 1920s era America (see Immigrant, Union, the late Jackrabbit, etc). Potato Head Garage takes that trend to its logical end point, creating a setting fit for a party straight out of the Great Gatsby, the book (and of course the new film) which best encapsulates the enthusiasm for excess in that era. In fact, one of the hottest parties in Jakarta in recent memory was the costume mandatory Great Gatsby party at the Garage, which saw over a thousand guests kitted out in their best black and white wear.

Rare cuts

So Potato Head Garage definitely scores high in the style category, but does it have food to match? Being their take on the classic steakhouse concept, the prime beef certainly take center stage on the menu. They have an extensive array of cuts sure to intrigue any true carnivore, some of which are almost impossible to find elsewhere in Jakarta. One of the most rarefied is is the Australian Blackmore 100% fullblood wagyu, which epitomizes many of the best qualities of beef, featuring rich marbling, intense flavor and a buttery texture. The difficulties of Indonesian beef import laws mean that some of the steaks you’ll find here have to be hand carried into the country by the restaurant’s dedicated team of procurers. The steaks are cooked on a wood fire grill that burns wood from the local rambutan fruit tree, amongst others, imparting a uniquely nuanced smokiness. They come with a choice of sauces, some with an Asian accent such as one composed of yuzu and chili, though it is questionable whether you should adorn steaks of this caliber.

The excellent beef on hand is used for more than just steaks, including an impressively juicy  wagyu burger topped with a mound of crispy onions and a pasta dish of broad pappardelle noodles blanketed in a luscious wagyu ragout.  Other dishes reflect steakhouse classics with a twist, such as their take on crabcakes which see the moist and lightly fried mounds of crustacean meat paired with a green curry sauce.

As with other Potato Head establishments, the cocktails served in the Garage are given almost as much attention as the food and decor. Mojitos are the speciality of the house, muddled with lychee, ginger and other refreshing additions. A sommelier is also on hand to help you find just the right wine from their stock of some 7,000 bottles.

The Potato Head Family has managed to take a barren and dusty indoor stadium and transform it into something charming and elegant. They managed to take the tired steakhouse concept and transform it into something trendy. It will be very interesting indeed to see what they manage next.


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