Monday, May 16, 2011

Food Indulgence : Mad For Garlic *long post+pic heavy*

The other day when I went to Grand Indonesia with my bf and little brother, we decided to try out Mad For Garlic. 

The menu printed on both sides. 
For those of you who goes to GI frequently, you must have noticed this new restaurant located in the West mall just above Carl's Jr. It is located at 

Grand Indonesia
West Mall - Ground Floor - 20A
Jl. M.H. Thamrin No.1 Jakarta 10310
Phone (021) 2358 1076

It's a pity that they don't have a standing menu on the outside. This will help patrons to get the big picture of what Mad For Garlic has to offer. 

It looks small and dark from the outside, but it's quite spacious once I got in. There are decors of garlic everywhere that I forgot to take picture of them. However, I do snap pictures of garlic being place on top of the glass rack and a cute lamp shaped like a garlic clove. 

Fake garlic garlands neatly placed in a row

The cute garlic shaped lamp
We chose a table near the window because it'll help with the pictures if it's taken with natural lighting. Once we're seated, the waiter handed us the menu and it took us a while to choose which ones to order. Finally, we decided to choose the signature dishes from the appetizer and pizza menu. My brother and I ordered Iced Chocolate and my bf had Ginger Ale. 

I like how they designed the interior. It seemed like a good place to hang out and chat
Our Iced Chocolate came quite fast (around 5 minutes). It looked boring and usual, not what I expected from a moderately priced restaurant. 

Quite boring and tasteless for IDR 25,000
At the very least, it could've had a whipped cream with chocolate shavings on top. Well, I guess they're not too keen on serving iced chocolate when they do have other alcohol based beverages in the menu. 

The taste of the Iced Chocolate is worse than it looks. It's like 10 parts water and  1 part cocoa powder. It is just the nastiest cocoa beverage I had ever drank in my life. The flavor of the beverage is bland and cold, nothing else. 

Picture courtesy of  LovelyLoe. I didn't get a chance to take a picture of it since I was too busy texting. >.<
After around 15 minutes, our first appetizer came, The Garlic Tower. It is a French Baguette that is filled with garlic butter, or at least that's how I picture it. The waitress came and pushed the garlic butter inside the baguette, making sure it's evenly spread. It is then layed horizontally and cut into four pieces. 

Seeing how plenty the garlic is in the butter scares me a little. I was afraid that I'm going to hate it because of the pungent garlic odor and taste. However, that is not the case with this dish. 

The already cut Garlic Tower. 

Despite the large amounts of garlic, they are tasteless. They only feel gritty and gives you a crunchy texture in the mouth, but they don't taste like garlic at all. I was quite disappointed with this dish because I thought the garlic was going to stand out a bit more. It is more to the bland and greasy side and not in a good way. The butter on the baguette itself doesn't taste as creamy as the one from Marzano. For the price of IDR 35,000 (tax excluded), I'd skip this dish.

How it's supposed to look like. Doesn't the toasted bread look delicious?

The next appetizer we ordered was Dracula Killer. It is a dish where slices of soft bread is to be eaten with a mix of garlic, olive oil and anchovies. Since it is the signature dish, I expected it to be top notch. 

How it looks like when it came to the table. 
The dish came with several slices of plain bread. In the middle of the plate is a takoyaki-kind-of-pan (I've been told that it's an escargot pan) with the mixture of garlic, oil and anchovies. I can't see the anchovies, though. 

How it looked like once the cheese melted.
You're probably wondering how this taste like. Well, I don't like it one bit. The sauce mix isn't something special, it just tasted greasy and not even seasoned well. I don't understand how this is a signature dish. 

It just tasted like greasy, plain white bread with huge chunks of garlic on top. Also, the taste of the garlic didn't stand out as much to have a garlic-y flavor. I think it would be better if the bread is slightly toasted as to have a crunchy texture. For something that is IDR 45,000, this dish isn't well-thought of. 

See how puffy it is?? 
Our main course is another signature dish from the pizza section, the Calzone Pizza. The description on the menu stated Moon shaped Calzone with GENEROUS STUFFINGS accompanied by sweet garlic sauce.  When the waiter came with this dish on his hand, I was excited. It LOOKED all puffed up and filled with lots and lots of meat and sauces. 

The waiter 'killing' my calzone, lol.
Once the waiter puts it on the table and starts flattening the calzone, my jaw figuratively dropped to the floor. I thought it was filled with goodies, but no. The filling was just a quarter of the size of the calzone. He proceed to cut the calzone into portions. 

The dead-flat calzone, noooo.
This dish is a winner (kinda like best among the worst) from all the three that we ordered. At the very least, I can taste the garlic in this dish. It has few slices of meat, few basil leaf (I think), cheese and some sun dried tomatoes. 

My part of calzone that only has cheese, sun dried tomatoes, and basil. My bf and brother had slices of meat in theirs >.<
It came with a sweet garlic sauce that looks like minced garlic that had sweetness to it. I'm not quite a fan of the sauce since all it tasted like is sweet, which I think doesn't go too well with the already tasty calzone. At least, that's what I think about it. 

Sweet garlic sauce.
The taste was a combination of savory (from the cheese and meat) and sweet (from the sun dried tomatoes). The basil adds a more earthy and fresh taste that refreshes the palette once the meat and/or cheese is becoming overpowering. It was an enjoyable dish, but not something that stands out from this restaurant. I can easily go to Marzano and ordered a pizza that has a similar (even better) taste than this dish. In short, it's an okay dish, but nothing special. 

So far, the eating experience at our table was already going downhill from the appetizer section. Even so, I still ordered desserts which is tiramisu and chocolate ice cream. However, as we waited for 5 minutes, the waiter informed us that the tiramisu is still freezing or frozen (I didn't really listen), so it's gonna take longer to have it served and offered the cheesecake instead. I went with the cheesecake and waited. 

It was a cute looking dish, especially the chocolate garlic stencil ^^
After 7-ish minutes, the cheesecake and ice cream came. The cheesecake looked really thick and creamy, but not IDR 50,000 worth. In my opinion, I don't think there is enough sour cream in the recipe and I dislike the sugar on top of the cheesecake. It made the dish extremely sweet, kinda like diabetic-sweet. I scraped off the sugar on top and divided the cheesecake among the three of us. 
It's a thick slice of cheesecake with sugar on top.
Isn't that just cute!?
Again, it wasn't something really special. Maybe it really wasn't their specialty. It tasted sweet, a little bit sour, and it's not as creamy as I want it to be. It's good, but not extremely tasty.
A portion of chocolate ice cream
The chocolate ice cream came with two scoops place in a banana-split dish. It's creamy, sweet, chocolate-y, with a slight hint of vanilla flavor.  It's possible that it is homemade ice cream by Mad For Garlic. Possibly.

So, let's summarize this 'bistro' type restaurant.

Location is standard since it's in the mall. So, looking for it won't be difficult. Plus, you get to sight see the mall after your meal.

Ambience of the bistro itself is cozy with the brick walls and dimly lit garlic lamps. It gives off a warm and relaxed feeling while inside the bistro. I think it's best for get together events or just chatting with them.

Service is average. The waiter and waitresses are just well-mannered, but it's not hotel-like service. It's not like it's 7.5% service charge worth it. 

Price is moderately high and it ranges from IDR 25,000 to IDR 275,000, without tax. It's quite steep for my budget, though. We spent IDR 372,488 for two appetizers, one main course, two desserts and three beverages. 

The taste itself isn't comparable to genuine Italian cuisine since it is kinda like a fusion between Italian and Korean. However, since the name of the restaurant IS Mad for GARLIC, I think it should at least have a garlic taste to most of their dishes. The garlic taste shouldn't be reduced or hidden with other ingredients.

In the end, I like the interior and atmosphere of the restaurant, but not the food. I just thought that if you already said what you're signature dishes are, then at the very least season them well with salt and pepper. 

I don't think I will be coming back to dine here on my own. Probably if someone had their birthday here, then I would come just for the sake of the person's birthday. If not, then I won't be dining here again. 


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