Last week I visited the beyond awesome Kunstkring Paleis, which is an impressive venue to dine in so I’m going to share my amazement. I don’t even know where to begin describing, there were just too many exquisite details screaming for attention.
It is an art gallery and a restaurant. But it is not the kind of place you go food tasting while admiring beautiful paintings peacefully from afar. You are no longer a third person gazing into the art. Here, you are part of the action. Lighting is dramatic and moody. Every single wall is covered by a huge painting in golden frames almost leaving no visible wall space. The focus, however, is not on the paintings. I can barely remember what the paintings are about. They are there only as art, as decoration to beautify this royal dining hall, to inject love and passion into the space, and to create unique ambiance. By the way, it’s definitely five stars for ambiance here!
Not long after we were seated, some loud traditional music interrupted my musing. Then a man in traditional costume with a paper fan on his hand made an entrance and started a solo dance. There were no stage, he just danced. I was impressed by how his paper fan could make a very loud noise when opened and closed, loud enough to be heard over the music. A few minutes later he was done and guests applauded. Just when I thought the free entertainment was over, five women appeared and together they danced with their fans. Afterwards a squad of men entered, carrying food in fancy carriages. They sang along to the tunes and danced while delivering food to the table on the back of the hall, then a waiter took the dishes out from the carriages and put on table one by one. What a grand gesture to celebrate food! Maybe that’s how the king and queen are served in a palace. Impressive.
While waiting for food we walked around this ‘palace’. We were not tired even after a day of exploring the city on foot. On the left of the dining room is a bar and lounge. The decor flooded my eyes with fifty shades of red. The lounge has a very strong personality with old Chinatown interior which is pretty cool, like in a movie scene.
There’s an intriguing shop on the right of the dining hall, selling antiques and curious things, quite a bizarre scene too.
The gallery is on the second floor. Not many paintings on display but quality is good. There are also VIP dining rooms. All are very elaborately decorated in the theme of Merdeka, celebrating Indonesia’s victory in the fight of independence 71 years ago.
Food was good. Delightful Indonesian dishes with a twist of unusual ingredients. For example, the tasty squid ink stir fry is definitely something different. The signature taste of food in this restaurant is light and suitable for foreigners who never try Indonesian dishes. Overall, highly recommended.
Address: Jl. Teuku Umar No.1, Menteng, Daerah Khusus Ibukota Jakarta 10350
Phone: (021) 3900899