Tuesday, February 21, 2012

Controversial Buddha Bar becomes Bistro Boulevard

Across from Cut Meutia Mosque in Menteng stands BistroBoulevard restaurant and lounge with its classic Batavia architecture. Oncecontroversial for going by the name of Buddha Bar, the owners redesigned thevenue and the restaurant concept.

“The previous concept was not successful, but instead of giving up, we decidedto try something new,” said Riyan Mudadalam, a restaurant spokesman.

The interior of the 97-year-old building was transformed from a red, dimly litspace to a bright, white-walled one. The Buddha statutes are gone. The foyer,which also functions as a waiting room and gallery, is filled with sculpturesand large paintings. These items are numbered and prices are available uponrequest.

Bistro Boulevard now offers classic French cuisine with a modern twist. Themenu features classic dishes such as oysters, snails and steak tartare createdby executive chef Alex Ensor, who gained experience cooking French cuisine atthe Sydney Opera House restaurant.

Bistro Boulevard has been up and running for about a month, and an officiallaunch party is slated for September. Just last week, the restaurant hosted itsfirst Lazy Sunday, a monthly bazaar and music event.

Those aren’t the only changes. Prices have also been lowered. The average priceon the Buddha Bar ranged from Rp 200,000 ($23) to Rp 300,000, while thestarting price at Bistro Boulevard is Rp 35,000. That doesn’t mean, however,that you can’t run up a big bill here. A shared, meat-heavy meal at Bistro Barwill cost you around Rp 1 million.

Bistro’s homemade bread and butter are made from 16 ingredients including duckjus, garlic, tarragon, thyme and parsley. It has a strong, curry-like aftertaste, which is addictive when paired with French fries

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