After a bit of a renovation, one of Jakarta’s best restaurants, E&O, has returned with a revamped menu too! For all of you regulars, your faves are still there, but now there are 24 new delicious dishes and 17 cocktail concoctions to try. We managed to catch up with chef Will Meyrick to get the lowdown on what’s new at E&O plus his personal recommendations!
Will, you’re very inspired by street food in Southeast Asia, what is the continuing allure?
What’s the continuing allure? I suppose it’s always finding something new. In every region I go to, there is always something new I learn. I suppose Indonesia is a huge fascination for me at the moment because I haven’t travelled it a lot. I’ve done a lot of it compared to most people, all the way from Aceh all the way down to Sumatra to Manado to Toraja, but there is still so much more Indonesia to understand and get a grasp on.
It’s also the intricacies of the food when you walk into people’s homes. What I love the most as well is the understanding people’s culture, histories, beliefs through their food, there is a real cross-communication there.
What has specifically inspired you in the creation of these new dishes?
To be honest it’s because middle-class Jakartans don’t want to eat Thai or any kind of Asian three days a week. Jakartans prefer Western, it’s the culture here. Indonesians enjoy Western cuisine more than their other counterparts, like their appreciation of wine, for example.
At E&O, we’re worked hard from the beginning to push a full Thai menu but now we’re adding on some items that are a bit more fun and simple with a Thai spin. We’ve got burgers and sliders with Thai spices, a pig’s head that is cooked then shredded and served in rice paper rolls, freshly made squid-ink pasta with Asian flavours, and a Thai mie ayam. It’s traditional Thai spices and flavours with an Indonesian twist. E&O is now a more fun and a bit more casual, and not just a visit-once-a-month restaurant.
Of the new dishes, do you have any chef’s recommendations?
The Thai mie ayam is really good, the prawn and soft-boiled egg salad, and the grilled chicken Caesar salad, it sounds wild but the chicken is marinated in traditional Thai spices and there is smoked mackerel, cripsy pork belly, and Parmesan cheese, the only Western conceit. On the new menu there is a lot to relate to, it’s more accessible, and friendly.
Many E&O regulars already have favourites on the menu. How would you convince them one of these new signature dishes?
I wouldn’t, the favourites are still on the menu, about 70 percent of the menu is still there. We’ll see what everyone enjoys, the more authentic dishes or the pan-Asian ones, and put more focus on that. It’s really about what you guys like.
We’d like to have more of an all-day trade, so instead of people just coming in for lunch or dinner, but to hang out as well, for snacks, tea, or drinks throughout the day.