Monday, August 1, 2016

Pepper Lunch at Cilandak

Pepper Lunch has opened numerous branches all over Jakarta and had continuously grown from its original establishment in Japan. It has been one of my favorite fast food (or casual fast? This concept is a bit confusing to me) restaurant for long but I haven’t been visiting Pepper Lunch in the last year. Only when I got a voucher from Boga Group, I decided to spend it on Pepper Lunch. Other restaurants under the management of Boga Group include, but not limited to Paradise Dynasty, Shaburi, Ten Ten Tempura House, and Bakerzin. I directly went to the nearest Pepper Lunch to my house and began ordering on their counter.

Curry Beef Pepper Rice (IDR 67.273)
This is a pepper rice dish that consists of slices of beef cut on the sides with curry powder and corn topped on the rice that is served on a hot plate. This dish was also completed with additional egg and cheese, finalized with sliced scallions. There are two variety of curry dishes in Pepper Lunch: the one with curry powder and the other with curry sauce. I preferred the one with the curry sauce because the sauce gives volume to your meal and it has the savory flavor coming from the curry that is mixed with stock. The one with curry powder, on the other hand, does not add significant savoriness but the flavor of the curry leafs itself is stronger and more fragrant hence you don’t need to add too much garlic or honey sauce. As for the cheese and egg, the two provide a great layer of flavor as an additional topping but I think the cheese is more worth its value wise and flavor wise because cooking the egg is sometimes a miss but the cheese always melts perfectly as it got mixed up on the plate. I love this dish for what it is as all the flavors really go altogether. 

Beef Aglio Olio (IDR 64.545)
This is the first pasta dish I’ve ever tried from Pepper Lunch. My usual order would always be their Chicken Pepper Rice, upsized, with extra cheese and loads of their sauces (hence why Pepper Lunch > Pepper Lunch Express) because it’s one of the cheapest menu and chicken was really my favorite protein so that’s good for me haha. As I tried out this pasta dish, I regret not ordering the creamy pasta since the heat from the pan makes the pasta dry and there were not much flavor onto it besides the blend of chili and pepper by itself and adding so many available condiments to the plate does not really help with the texture either. I found myself eating the beef and leaving the pasta behind.* Not a good first impression on their pasta but I should give a try on their creamy pasta later on.

*Don’t worry, everything is finished off the plate. No food is left behind by the time this writing is made.

Chicken and Pineapple Pepper Rice (IDR 59.273)
As I said in the previous paragraph that Chicken Pepper Rice is my ever-favorite menu from Pepper Lunch, but this time I tried out the newer dish with similar premises to my favorite dish — but this time it is summer inspired with the added pineapple, coriander, ground nuts, chili pepper, and onions. The dish was very visually appealing and the ingredients tasted fresh, but I find this combination a bit too much for me because the pineapple overpowers all the other flavor in this dish. The heat also does not soften the pineapple enough during its cooking so texture and taste-wise I don’t think this dish is very cohesive. 

The new menu I tried out didn’t end up being as successful as the original ones in my opinion, but there’s no harm in giving it a try as it offers a contrasting flavor to what Pepper Lunch offers which might excite you. But this is part of their Summer Series 2016 so I am not sure whether or not it is still available - no harm in trying. I still love Pepper Lunch for what it is and I realize I haven’t tried enough dishes from this place that I might miss out on things. I hope Pepper Lunch will keep up their quality and even introduce us dishes that are now available in Japan that are still not available here, to give us more authenticity to its Japanese inspired flavor.

Pepper Lunch
Cilandak Town Square
Jl. TB. Simatupang Kav. 17
Level 2

South Jakarta
6221 75920299