Rosso at the Shangri-La Hotel, Jakarta

Rosso at the Shangri-La Hotel, Jakarta

A Red Letter Feast

Rosso at the Shangri-La Hotel, Jakarta offers up an epic Italian feast that is almost as big as the personality of Chef Oriana, the maestro of this most memorable meal.


We arrived at Rosso, the renowned Italian restaurant at the Shangri-La Hotel, Jakarta, a little before brunch began in order to capture some photos of the buffet in a pristine state before hungry guests began their attack. It’s easy to forget all the hard work that goes into creating a spread as sumptuous as the one on offer here until you see it being assembled.

Buffet Brigade
Dozens of cooks and servers were hard at work putting together a kaleidoscopic array of colourful antipasti: marinated peppers in red, yellow and green; stuffed mushrooms and tomatoes; thin slices of luscious pink beef Carpaccio and nearly translucent cod carpaccio dressed in light and creamy sauces; battalions of bruschetta with a wide variety of traditional toppings flanked by freshly tossed and baked pizzas; and, perhaps most impressively, stands carved from ice used to display a cornucopia of fresh seafood including oysters, crab legs, shrimp and much more.

The small army putting this feast together in such a short time was led by Chef Orianna Tirabassi. One of the only prominent female head chefs in Jakarta, her commanding presence and charisma makes it easy to understand how she could coordinate a massive F&B team. I was surprised to see how hands-on she was in preparing the brunch, not only issuing orders but laying out dishes and arranging things artfully. Clearly this is a chef who cares about the details. She also clearly cares about her guests, spending most of the brunch visiting tables and making sure everybody was happy and satisfied.

Having captured our photos just before the guests started streaming in, our next task was to choose a main course. On top of the incredible spread, guests can also choose one of several meaty choices for their entrée, including beef tenderloin, lamb chops and crispy-skinned salmon. I opted for the potato gnocchi, one of my favourite kinds of pasta but one that is quite difficult to find a good version of in Jakarta, despite it’s many Italian restaurants.


Plan of Attack
With our orders placed, my dining companions and I finally pounced upon the buffet. Although I had been planning how I would attack the spread once my chance came, I found myself side-tracked almost immediately. Normally I don’t eat salad or bread at a buffet, not wanting to waste the precious stomach space, but I could not resist the freshly baked foccacia with an array of bruschetta toppings and herbed butter, nor the freshly tossed custom Caesar salads. I had to leave some room on my plate for some of the many fine cheeses and Italian charcuterie on display as well. There is also a live cooking station for custom pasta dishes, but since my gnocchi was on the way I resisted the temptation.

After a few too many plates of antipasti, salad, seafood and more, I was feeling quite full when our mains finally arrived. Or so I thought. My plate of gnocchi came dressed in a vibrant tomato sauce with sweet shrimp. The gnocchi were large but also fluffy and delicate in texture, exactly the way these traditional potato dumplings should be.

Delicious surprises
At 1pm, a carving station featuring a whole roasted baby pig was wheeled out. Sometimes food is so good that it makes you forget you’re full, and this was one of those times for me. The pork was exceedingly tender and moist, while the skin, glistening a deep reddish brown, was thick, crispy and sinfully delicious. It came with a side of slightly spicy greens to offset the richness and an earthy mushroom sauce to tie it together. It was probably my favourite of the long list of things I ate that day.

Despite being on the verge of falling into a food coma, as a professional I felt it my duty to try out the desserts. There were so many tempting options, and I had tiny bites of some delicious fruit tarts, tiramisu and chocolate cake. But the homemade gelato, specifically the incredibly creamy yet light milk flavour recommended by Chef Orianna, was worth the difficulty of walking around after. A few shots of the surprisingly strong limoncello made it easier.

Before we could waddle away, we were presented with one last surprise: a gigantic, freshly made dessert pizza made by Chef Orianna to reward the guests who stick around until 2pm. I didn’t think I could eat another bite, but the pizza, topped with a thin spread of Nutella, whipped cream and fresh fruit, was surprisingly light and crispy. A fantastic end to a most memorable brunch.

Rosso Sunday Brunch is available from 11.30 am – 2.30 pm at Rp. 420,000++ per person including juices and soft drinks or at Rp. 525,000++ per person including house wines, juices and soft drinks. (



Our Favourite Feature:

Be sure to be ready at 1pm when they wheel out that roasted baby pig. If you have even the slightest love for pork, it will be the highlight of your meal. But fair warning, it might just ruin you for every other pork dish in Jakarta.