Indulgence of Exquisite French Tastes at Avec Moi
Seated at the heart of the city, overviewing Jakarta’s lavish shopping centre, Avec Moi brings the delight of France under a casual dining ambience.
Touched with the contemporary décors, space offers a connection with unparalleled comfort and cosiness. Wrapping uniqueness of palate in its cuisine, Head Chef Romano prepares every dish with the use of local ingredients. While serving it in the authenticity of French dining, the menu subtly explores the blend of originality with the Indonesian taste. The restaurant also offers a sumptuous selection of the world’s finest wine to be thoughtfully paired up with each of its exquisite cuisines.
Having been mastered in French cuisine, Chef Romano has carried his skills gained from exposures from renowned marques in hospitality. His humbleness and the interaction he initiates with every guest makes the dining experience at Avec Moi a truly personalized treat.
Understanding further about the concept and the journey of Chef Romano, Eat Vacation team is privileged to have had the chance to share words with the Head Chef and Owner of Avec Moi himself.
Can you tell us the uniqueness of Avec Moi?
How we create our menus is different because we incorporate Indonesian ingredients in some of our menus. For example, we have scallop squid ink rice and we pair it with chicken floss because Indonesian people usually eat rice with chicken floss. Most of the menus are created by me, then again coming from a French chef cooking background I would like to eat something we’re comfortable with. Our menus are different from other restaurants in Jakarta.
How did you come up with the name Avec Moi and why the bunny?
Avec Moi is “with me” in French so the idea is when you come to this restaurant you are coming with me as if you are coming to my home where you eat the food that has my personal touch to it. Four years ago, there was no other restaurant with menus like us. About the rabbit, it is actually my pet rabbit named Fluffy. I had it since it was little and even from then, one of the ears has always flopped down that is where the inspiration of the logo came from. Rabbit also ties a part in the French cuisine wherein a certain time of the year, they would hunt it to eat it.
When did the idea of becoming a chef strike you?
Since I was young I was very interested in cooking and when I was 11, my mom sent me to a short culinary class for kids. My maternal grandmother has a culinary background, she had a restaurant and I always hung out there. After school, my dad told me to study business and I actually did get my diploma in Business. After that, I pursued culinary in Singapore for two years but I was a bit sceptical because it was two very different major. After I graduated, I continue my culinary journey in Singapore working there for 10 years.
How did your first cooking experience go?
Actually, it was good. I was kind of lucky because, in culinary school, the first two years were filled with theoretical and practical studies. Following that, I worked in the School’s very own restaurant for one and a half years and the last six months was the internship. I actually worked at Hilton’s Harbor Grill for my internship program. Back then it was the only fine dining restaurant in the hotel. I met great friends and great chefs and after I finished my internship they actually offered me a job so I stayed there for another two and half years and I finished my last years in another restaurant, a French restaurant.
What is your definition for a delicious food?
I’m not a picky eater at all and as a chef, I’m not critical at all. Maybe its because I know how things go in the kitchen, some days are good but you could also have a bad day. Some chefs they love spicy, so they put more spice in the food. So, a delicious food for me is, as long as the food is not overly salty, sour, spicy, as long as it is done properly and not overdone then its delicious.
What is your favorite food?
Indonesian food. Because I came from Malaysia, and Malaysian food are boring meanwhile Indonesia has so many different curries, so many different rendang, it is so diverse. Other favorite is Thai but my preferences is more towards Asian cuisine. The only cuisine in Asia that I don’t quite enjoy is Korean. Because it is too simple and it utilizes one ingredient which is gochujang paste. That’s why almost all of the food taste the same. My second favorite is Indian food.
According to you, what are the factors that contributes to the quality of food?
The first thing is the ingredients from the suppliers must be in good condition, then in the restaurant how you handle the food, depending on the chef on how he controls the quality of the food. If the fish, the meat, is off, its better not to serve it than to risk it. When it comes to me, I would rather lose a piece of fish than a customer. Another factor is the storage of the food.
Could you tell us one unforgettable memories from being a chef?
Back when Avec Moi is still located in the old place, it was a very small space, could only fit up to 40 people. One Sunday afternoon, we were visited by one of the renowned family in Indonesia. I didn’t know who they were. Usually, I always ask the customers regarding the food they eat, that is just something that I do, so I came by and I asked this family about the food. The daughter of this famous man said it was good and then she proceeded to ask me if I do caterings, and I said yes. So one month later she called me and asked me if I can cater at their house. One of my partner went to the house to do a site inspection, and after she came back she told me, “I think this is not a normal person’s house”. On the day of the catering, while my team and I were on the way to the house, my partner told me, “I think they are one of the richest person in Indonesia”. I then googled the name and I was amazed. And from then on, till date, they still do catering with us for any of their events.
What is your proudest achievement?
One of my proudest achievement would be able to open up a restaurant and be able to work in my own restaurant. And even owning such a small restaurant and people would know us is also one of my proudest achievement.
What else besides cooking did u do on your free time?
On my free time, I tend to work out, looking for coffee and dessert places.
Moving to another place would give you another impression, what did you do to cope with it?
I guess because I moved to Singapore first it helps me a lot to adapt here. Plus, Indonesian people is way nicer than others. One of my experience was when I first came to Indonesia, I didn’t have any contact for any supplier, and I was struggling. I tried to reach out a supplier but for a week nobody picked up then the second time some of they picked up, but it never worked after that. So again, I was lucky. When I bought these chairs, the suppliers of the chair asked me how did the restaurant go and I mentioned about the supplier I have been trying to contact and apparently one of her friend is the marketing of the company so she helped me connect with the company. It was a very timely help.
Another lucky thing is one of my partner knows a person who opened a restaurant here in SCBD area. I had the chance to meet this person. Upon sharing him my difficulties in finding suppliers, he gave me all his contact. It was so generous of him and I am so much grateful to be introduced to these people.
One of the biggest problem for restaurant owners in Indonesia is the supply. For example, the quota for salmon is very limited, that is why a certain time of the year, we couldn’t get our hands on the salmon.
Why did you choose Indonesia?
We had two choices at that time, four years ago, either in Kuala Lumpur or Jakarta. Back then Jakarta didn’t have many casual French restaurant, so we chose here.
Enjoy the fresh delicacies of Chef Romano with your family and friends at Avec Moi restaurant. For further information or reservation kindly contact 0857-1888-5096.