Seduced by GIA's 1950's Italian Charm

February 13, 2015 Ellyna Tjohnardi
Can fine dining be casual? Sure, why not? Ismaya group, which only recently launched Publik Markette, had actually opened GIA prior to it. GIA, according to the press release, is a casual fine dining concept that embodies the Italian soul with a modern twist. Let's see what this phrase truly means and if the experience I had here recently, truly reflects that...
GIA Italian Restaurant and Lounge Jakarta (source www.culinarybonanza.com)
Jakarta's newest Italian casual fine dining, GIA 
Prior to launching Publik Markette (bit.ly/PublikMarkette) to the public, GIA had actually opened for business and it created quite a buzz among the foodies in Jakarta. I saw the photos of the place from my friends who had been here and indeed, the place looks elegant and impressive (and certainly looks expensive! LOL). GIA occupies the site that used to be a restaurant / bar / lounge / club venue named Bibliotheque.

That very same spot has been transformed into GIA today. Its massive area is divided into 4 distinct areas, the indoor lounge, outdoor lounge, the restaurant and the VIP room on the mezza-nine level. The interior is designed by one of Australia's renowned interior designers, Hecker & Guthrie. GIA is designed in a tasteful combination of white and black as well as vintage props and decor that remind the guests of the glorious era of Italy in the 1950s.
Outdoor lounge at GIA Italian Restaurant and Lounge Jakarta (source www.culinarybonanza.com)
The outdoor lounge
GIA Italian Restaurant and Lounge Jakarta (source www.culinarybonanza.com)
GIA Italian Restaurant and Lounge Jakarta (source www.culinarybonanza.com)
GIA Italian Restaurant and Lounge Jakarta (source www.culinarybonanza.com)
GIA Italian Restaurant and Lounge Jakarta (source www.culinarybonanza.com)
The bar
Mocktails and Smoothies at GIA Italian Restaurant and Lounge Jakarta (source www.culinarybonanza.com)
Some drinks concocted by the bar

To DIE for: the complimentary black and white bun
Now, the first pleasant surprise came from the complimentary bun. This is nothing like the ordinary bread basket that you receive at any average Italian restaurants. At GIA, the complimentary bun is this curious, cupcake-like, black and white bun. Instinctively, I mauled the bun into two parts once, and then once more, to reveal the fragrant warm fillings of each parts. The white bun is filled with onion, while the black truffle bun is filled with cheese. I seriously would love buy this for take away, if they would allow me to!
Complimentary black and white bun at GIA Italian Restaurant and Lounge Jakarta (source www.culinarybonanza.com)
The complimentary Black and White bun served at GIA
Complimentary black and white bun at GIA Italian Restaurant and Lounge Jakarta (source www.culinarybonanza.com)
Cheese filled, black truffle bun (complimentary)


Antipasti
Orzo - barley, aubergine, pomegranate, grilled vegetables salad, evoo (extra virgin olive oil), red vinaigrette.
Barley served in a savoury dish is not unheard of, but so far I've only had barley for dessert (Chinese style), so I was not quite sure what to expect. Turns out, it was quite a delightful, pearly starter, mixed with a forest for colourful vegetables and fruit.
Orzo - barley, aubergine, pomegranate, grilled vegetables salad, evoo, red vinaigrette (source www.culinarybonanza.com)
Orzo IDR 95,000

Pasta
Bottarga - tuna botarga, linguine aglio olio, cherry tomatoes, parsley, sicilian crumbs.
Bottarga - tuna botarga, linguine aglio olio, cherry tomatoes, parsley, sicilian crumbs (source www.culinarybonanza.com)
Bottarga IDR 110,000

Casarecce - garlic confit, broccolini, spinach, parmesan & chili.
Casarecce - garlic confit, broccolini, spinach, parmesan & chili (source www.culinarybonanza.com)
Casarecce IDR 95,000
Both the pasta packed surprisingly very Indonesian level of spiciness. I'm pleased that both pasta were well made and were actually quite addictive (must be the chili!). But if I have to choose between the two pastas (which is a hard decision to make because they're both delightful) I'd have to pick the Casarecce over the Bottarga. You know how we have that same menu that we always like to order repeatedly no matter how often we have it? This Casarecce is one of them for me. It's gonna be one of my favourite repeat orders when dining at GIA.

Secondi
Cartoccio - Baked barramundi, octopus, mussels, olives, tomato, pinot grigio. I only tried the baked barramundi, as I loathe mussels (unfortunately). The barramundi passed my sensitive nose 'test', so it was alright.
Cartoccio - Baked barramundi, octopus, mussels, olives, tomato, pinot grigio (source www.culinarybonanza.com)
Cartoccio IDR 175,000

Bistecca - 250gr char-grilled 'stockyard' sirloin, veal jus, gorgonzola polenta, tatsoi salad.
This was a well done steak, delicious sirloin, soaked in generous jus and lovely truffle oil-drizzled tatsoi salad. The smooth gorgonzola polenta also made a delightful company to go with the steak
Bistecca at GIA Italian Restaurant and Lounge Jakarta (source www.culinarybonanza.com)
Bistecca IDR 340,000

Dolci
Cannoli Siciliani - ricotta cream, hazelnut gelato, pop corn, pistachio soft cake crumbs. After the consistently pleasant antipasti, pasta and secondi that I had earlier, naturally my expectations were high for the dolci. We had the Cannoli and Tiramisu, two distinctively Italian dessert that just can hardly go wrong. While the Tiramisu, which is made using Chef Tommaso's grandmother's recipe, did quite well to satisfy my sweet tooth, sadly the same could not be said about the Cannoli. Out of the 5 edible elements on the plate, the hazelnut gelato was the only element that I'd help myself to second helping with.
Cannoli Siciliani - ricotta cream, hazelnut gelato, pop corn, pistachio soft cake crumbs (source www.culinarybonanza.com)
Cannoli filled with ricotta
Cannoli Siciliani - ricotta cream, hazelnut gelato, pop corn, pistachio soft cake crumbs (source www.culinarybonanza.com)
Cannoli Siciliani IDR 55,000
Tiramisu (source www.culinarybonanza.com)
Tiramisu IDR 60,000
Apart from the Cannoli mishap, all is well with GIA and I personally am looking forward to coming back, even if it's just for the black and white bun! Ciao bella!

Price Range:
Antipasti IDR 85k - 165k
Pasta IDR 95k - 250k
Secondi IDR 145k - 550k
Pizza IDR 85k - 175k
Dolci IDR 55k - 95k

*) Prices are subject to Government Tax and Service Charge

Open Hours:
Restaurant:
- Lunch: 11.30 AM - 2 PM (Monday - Sunday)
- Dinner: 6 PM - 11 PM (Sunday - Thursday) | 6 PM - 12 midnight (Friday - Saturday)
Lounge: 11.30 AM - 1 AM (Sunday - Thursday) | 11.30 AM - 2 AM (Friday - Saturday)

GIA
Sampoerna Strategic Square Tower, Lobby Level
Jl. Jend. Sudirman 45-46
South Jakarta 12930
Click to open in maps
Ph: +6221 57953300 or +62 81289253300
Facebook: GIA Jakarta
Twitter: @GIAJakarta
Instagram: @GIAJakarta

For live and regular updates,
stalk my Instagram: @ellynatjohnardi

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