January 23rd, 2012
Ocha & Bella is a restaurant & bar with a relaxed charm, a cool and contemporary venue for enjoying superb food and sublime cocktails. Opened in March 2011, it occupies a sizeable indoor / outdoor space at the front of the boutique Morrissey Hotel , within the Menteng area of central Jakarta. The restaurant has been warmly embraced by the local social dining crowd, and has been the recipient of much critical acclaim. Conceptualised as a blending of East & West- in terms of both design and cuisines, Ocha & Bella features paired menus of authentic Italian cuisine and the Japanese “izakaya” style of casual social dining dishes. The restaurant divides into two main spaces- the interior with its distinctive “industrial chic” style being the setting for the main dining room and bar, and the outdoor garden terrace space- with a more casual, laid back atmosphere for dining and drinking. The indoor and outdoor spaces flow together seamlessly so that diners inside also enjoy the calming outlook over the verdant gardens. With a bright and airy spaciousness by day, Ocha & Bella transforms into a more sensual atmosphere at night, and with DJs playing tunes several nights a week, the bar and lounge area exudes an up-tempo buzz.
Ocha & Bella is owned and operated by the Svarna Group- a new player in the Indonesian hospitality industry- backed by a local and multi-national team with extensive international experience. The restaurant name is derived from the Japanese word “ocha” meaning “green tea”, and “bella“- Italian for beautiful- thus identifying the intriguing combination of Asian and Western influences.
The reception counter at the front entrance
Interior dining tables with the bar at the rear of the room
The design concept for the interiors of Ocha & Bella was the work of acclaimed local designer Willis Kusuma, whose architectural firm has considerable experience with projects creating contemporary dining spaces. For Ocha & Bella, the project entailed creating a somewhat edgy design that complimented the East & West culinary style of the kitchen. Hidden behind the dense greenery of the front gardens, the restaurant is not directly accessible from the outside street- and entrance is via a curving driveway that leads up to the main hotel building. The long narrow space of the interior features a full height glass facade that bathes the inner space with daylight. A tempered palette of grey bricks,white surface finishes, and natural timbers create an “industrial chic” look. A variety of materials are utilised- raw concrete pillars, copper and steel, reclaimed timber beams encase the pizza oven, stainless steel and white marble highlight the open kitchen. The flooring has sections of polished timber boards adjoining the colorful mosaic of the ceramic Bisazza tiles that delineate the main internal dining area. The bar and lounge section has a number of quirky elements to add a playful aspect to the interior- mock “grass” covers some of the bar stools, other seats are fashioned from metal milk pails, the striking “Ocha & Bella” sign above the bar is constructed in vintage style from copper and steel- inspired by the signage style of the famed late 19th Century Parisian cabaret- “Moulin Rouge”. The combination of dark timbers and earth-toned furnishings in this section evoke the tradition of Javanese villas.
Interior dining space- looking towards the front entrance
The open kitchen at Ocha & Bella
The preparation counter and rustic pizza oven
The bar- with vintage style Ocha & Bella sign made from copper & steel
The bar/lounge seating area- with quirky “grass” stools and “milk pail” seats
The outdoor section of Ocha & Bella features a long, under-cover timber deck space that looks out onto the gardens and streetscape beyond. The garden itself holds several further seating areas, and a round, open-air bar. The DJ booth is constructed from white ceramic tiles in the form of an old oven. Seating arrangements along the covered deck include long timber tables that are ideal for groups of friends or families to share a dining experience, and playful additions such as the white rocking chairs, and suspended hammocks. The outdoor areas offer a sense of calmness and relaxation from the stresses of the bustling metropolis beyond the garden boundary.
The outdoor terrace- with dining tables, hammocks, and rocking chairs
Outdoor dining in open gazebo
The dining concept of Ocha & Bella was the creation of culinary consultant Giorgio Pappalardo, in collaboration with the team at Svarna Group. Director of Culinary William di Nardo, with an infectious enthusiasm for excellence, heads up the kitchen team. William grew up in northern Italy and was inculcated with the heritage of family-style Italian cooking from an early age, and then later trained formally at culinary school in Genova. Subsequent international experience working in Italian restaurants, both in the USA, and Shanghai, were the precursor to the challenge of establishing the fine culinary reputation of Ocha & Bella.
The impressive assemblage of dishes are presented under two distinct menus- “Italian” and “Nuovo Izakaya”. The authentic Italian cuisine features all the traditional dishes expected- commencing with a good selection of Antipasti and Salads; followed by Zuppe/Soups, and fresh, home made Pastas such as LINGUINI AL CARTOCCIO OCHA STYLE – Linguini with prawn, clams, squid, seabass, mushroom andbaked till “al dente”in Carta Fata. Main courses “Fresh from the Market” feature the signature dish- Ocha Costolette- 650 g US BBQ Beef Ribs with cauliflower mash. Other meats include Lamb Shanks and Rib Eye, and fresh seafoods such as TONNO ALLA PIASTRA IN CROSTA DI OLIVE NERE- Pan seared maguro tuna steak in black olive crust, tomato, cucumber and capers salad. The genuine Neapolitan style pizzas are prepared in full view of diners at the impressive wood-fired oven. As befits an authentic Italian dining experience, desserts are an important element and not just an afterthought. The Ocha & Bella Dessert Platter is an excellent option for sharing and tasting the variety of desserts- including tiramisu, creme brulee, and cannolo sicilano.
The Nuovo Izakaya dishes are designed in particular for sharing- Fried Bites such as Ocha’s spicy chicken wings – deep fried spicy marinated wings; and Japanese Crunchy Roll – tempura rolled snapper with salsa and sweet sauce. Other dishes include mini-burgers and tacos; charcoal grilled meats on sticks; and Makirolls- Shrimp Tempura – shrimp tempura, asparagus, avocado, eel and tobiko.
From the Nuovo Izakaya menu- Prosciutto Maki- Parma ham with melon and balsamic reduction
Tagliolini Verdi ai Gamberi – Green spinach tagliolini sautéed with prawns, leek and bell pepper
Pizza Prosciutto e Rucola– D.O.P. buffalo mozzarella, cherry tomato, basil, rocket, Parma ham and parmigiano 24 months
Ocha & Bella- dining Italian style- pasta, fresh breads, olive oil & pizza…
Signature dish- Ocha Costolette- 650 g US BBQ Beef Ribs with cauliflower mash.
Ocha & Bella Dessert Platter- Assorted dessert combination, served for 2
The extensive beverages menu at Ocha & Bella features many varieties of teas- with signature flavoured “ocha” iced teas; loose teas such as Earl Grey and English Breakfast; classic iced lemon teas; plus fresh fruit juices; espresso coffees and flavoured coffees; and bottled beers. Premium spirits, wines and champagnes are all available from the bar.
Cocktails are a feature at Ocha & Bella– with a menu that includes “Italian Classics” such as OCHA & BELLA NEGRONI “ESPECIAL” – a cool straight up subtle variation on the classic Negroni. A good measure of Gin, sweet Vermouth and Campari are stirred up, and .served on the rocks with a twist of orange and topped with grapefruit soda.
“Fresh Cocktails” are all bespoke creations – concocted from fresh market ingredients- examples include- HIBISCUS MARTINI WITH CITRUS “AIR”– homemade hibiscus syrup is shaken with Belvedere vodka and freshly pressed lemon juice and served straight up with citrus air and caramelized orange zest.
“Fresh from the Press” Mojito cocktails are created using freshly pressed “guarapo” (sugercane) juice in the South American tradition. The BERRY & SUGARCANE MOJITO- light Rum mixed with freshly pressed “guarapo” (sugarcane) juice, lime and fresh mint to create a light, fruity and refreshing mojito-served long over crushed ice.
“Signature Cocktails”– OCHA ESPRESSO- Belvedere Vodka shaken with caramel liqueur then spiked with a double shot of Ristretto and finished with a sweet warm espresso foam and grated dark chocolate- served latte style.
Further selections include “Forgotten Classics” and “Sparkling“- various fruit flavoured Bellinis with finished with Prosecco.
From the “Fresh Cocktails” selections- Lychee + Kaffir Martini- Fresh lychees and ginger muddled with a healthy dose of belvedere vodka and a charge of freshly pressed apple juice and finished with an elderflower and kaffir lime foam.
Sugarcane Mojito– freshly pressed homemade “guarapo” helps construct the perfect Mojito. Light Rum with freshly pressed sugarcane juice, lime juice and fresh mint. Served long over crushed ice
Ocha & Bella- Restaurant & Bar
Address: Jln K H Wahid Hasyim No. 70, Menteng, Jakarta Pusat 10340. Indonesia
Reservations: + 62.21.310 5777 0r + 62.821 119 05999
Sunday to Thursday Restaurant 11:00 am ~ 11:00 pm Bar 11:00 am ~ 12:00 am midnight
Friday & Saturday Restaurant 11:00 am ~ 12:00 am Bar 11:00 am ~ 01:00 am
Happy Hour from 3:00 pm ~ 7:00 pm – Buy 1 get 1 all local beers and house pouring
New A La Carte menu launches on 1st February