I visited Jakarta in the fourth week of August for a Savoy of London gourmet experience at the Fairmont Jakarta. The Fairmont Jakarta had collaborated with The Savoy, London flying down Pastry Chef Luc Bigeard, Chef Francisco Hernandez and Mixologist Witek Wojaczek for a five series culinary celebration from 24 August till 6 September 2017. Both the Fairmont Jakarta and The Savoy, London are sister hotels under the AccorHotels group. I first got acquainted with The Savoy, London through Etihad Airways. These Etihad Airways butlers who serve customers in The Residence on board its A380 aircraft are trained at The Savoy, London.
AccorHotels flew us to Jakarta on Scoot on the 26th August 2017 so we missed the 24 August’s Be A Bond Girl event at K22 Bar at the hotel where guests dressed up for a chance to win a luxurious stay at the Savoy London. We missed the free-flow of London’s best cocktails prepared by guest mixologist Witek Wojaczek and performances by live singer, DJ and Bond girls.
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Cocktails with Witek Wojaczek
But we did have a private session with Witek Wojaczek at Barong Bar where the Witek shared with us some of the cocktails from The Savoy’s Beaufort Bar. The Beaufort Bar opened in 2010 and has been the venue of lavish parties, great cocktails and where guests discover their own stories about The Savoy. It is a fashionable art deco bar that offers a selection of vintage and NV champagnes and fine wines by the glass and bottle as well as a sophisticated selection of cocktails.
Barong Bar at Fairmont Jakarta offers a cosy respite environment where you can enjoy classic cocktails, champagnes, wines by the glass or bottle, beers and spirits. Into single malts? There is quite an impressive selection including Cardhu, Cragganmore, Glenlivet, Highland Park, Macallan, Singleton, Talisker, Glenmorangie, Royal Lochnagar and Glenfarclas.
The Beaufort Bar menu tells a story that connects the past, present and future of The Savoy. That is one beautiful menu that is well illustrated with die-cuts on every page that gets bigger at the turn of each page. This menu allows you to be part of a journey through different areas of The Savoy.
Witek mixed a few cocktails for us but the one I enjoyed most was the Hanky-Panky cocktail which was created by Ada “Coley” Coleman who joined the Savoy in 1903 as a bartender. The Hanky-Panky was created with dry gin, sweet vermouth and Fernet Branca and served with an orange peel garnish. It is after all a sweet Martini with a dash of bitters.
Witek was originally from Poland and has been with The Savoy since September 2015 where he was Barback. He made his way up to Kelner in May 2016 and then Barman in December 2016. He works at The Beaufort Bar with the head bartender, three senior bartenders and one junior bartender who works in between the American Bar and the Beaufort Bar. Joe Schofield used to be a bartender at The Savoy London (September 2014 to February 2016) before heading on to Tippling Club as its Head Bartender as well as Group Bar Manager overseeing the bar programmes at Ding Dong, Open Door Policy and Open Farm Community.
Witek shares that he writes his ideas down whenever he gets his cocktail creation inspiration. These ideas can come anytime be it from stories or when he sometimes have a drink. He shares that his mind always comes up with new cocktail ideas quite often and whenever these ideas come to fruition, he invites his friends to try these cocktails whom he jokingly says are complaining because it is happening too often.
Witek prefers stirred down cocktails such as Hanky Panky or Manhattan and Islay single malts. He hopes to open his own bar in the future and in the meantime he is looking to experience every part of the bar industry including management but prefers to stay as a bartender.
With such high standards at The Savoy, Witek does not find it pressurising.
“If you like what you do, you’re gonna put 100% of yourself into it. It comes natural” shares Witek
In September this year, Witek won the Beluga Signature Global Championships. The global vodka competition saw 12 contestants from US, UK, France, Germany, Spain and Russia competing at Xander Bar & Lounge of the Four Seasons Hotel Lion Palace in Saint Petersburg. He will be the Russian Vodka’s global brand ambassador in 2018. He paired Beluga’s Golden Lock cocktail with marinated herring and cucumber tartare. Beluga’s Golden Lock is a concoction of 60 ml Beluga Transatlantic Vodka, 30ml Sherry blend, 25ml Beluga Hunting Berry bitters, 15ml raspberry syrup and 1/2 bar spoon of saline solution.
Afternoon Tea with Pastry Chef Luc Bigeard
Peacock Lounge is a chic venue for afternoon tea. Perfect for the modern day rich housewives, or an afternoon out with amongst girlfriends in a nice cooling air conditioning environment. We witnessed a table of young ladies celebrating, all dressed so well and pretty, cackling and having lots of fun at the self-decorated table of bouquets and all. Afternoon tea at Peacock Lounge is fabulous where the afternoon sun rays light up the room.
The British Afternoon Tea was served in a three-drawer chest which featured pastries including the Lavender Eclair, Strawberry Victoria Sponge, Apricot Delice and Battenburg Cake.The other drawers revealed finger sandwiches. British afternoon tea is not complete without homemade scones with clotted cream and jam. The recipes of the famous Thames Foyer at The Savoy were transported to Jakarta so we could try them without having to fly all the way to London.
These pastries don’t just look good. They taste as good as they look. I wished we didn’t have lunch before our afternoon tea. But I did enjoy the signature iced tea. Downed it with my pinky finger sticking out.
Luc Bigeard joined The Savoy as a Junior sous chef patissier in December 2015 and became Sous-chef in May 2016. In November 2016, he was promoted to Assistant Pastry Chef. According to his LinkedIn, Luc was at Le Palace LES AIRELLES, Hôtel du Cap-Eden-Roc, Alain Ducasse Enterprise in New York and sketch Restaurant and Bars in London prior to joining The Savoy.
Exquisite Gourmet Dinner With Chef Francisco Hernandez
We headed up to VIEW Restaurant and Bar located on level 22 of the Fairmont Jakarta on our last night in Jakarta to experience the Exquisite British Gourmet Dinner with Executive Sous Chef Francisco Hernandez. The high ceiling and floor to ceiling glass windows in this Restaurant and Bar give the whole place a very spacious and grand feel with an amazing sunset view of the city.
The Traditional Beef Wellington is a signature dish at Simpson’s in The Strand at The Savoy, London. The Duke of Wellington won the Battle of Waterloo against Napoleon Bonaparte and he liked the baked tenderloin, mushroom, pate de foie gras and truffle wrapped in puff pastry.
The five-course wine pairing dinner included a dish of Barramundi (Asian seabass) and Sole which is usually found in Europe or the US. This dish was prepared with Mussel and Fennel Nage, Asparagus Mousse, Sprouting Broccoli, Sea Vegetables and Squid Ink Crunch to show the versatility of having fish from different the Asian and European continents on one dish. The appetisers in the menu included Heritage Beetroot and Goat Cheese Roulade and Pan Seared Scallop.
The appetisers in the menu included Heritage Beetroot and Goat Cheese Roulade and Pan Seared Scallop served on English Pea Espuma, Parlsey Oil, Puff Citrus Pearl Barley and Water Cress Crust.
The dessert was a delight to consume. You had to break the sugar shell with your spoon so that you can get into the hidden ingredients of raspberries, poached peaches, with peach sorbet and vanilla foam.
It is also Chef Francisco Hernandez’s first time in Asia. He visited a street market where he tried chicken feet soup and also durian. He lost his voice when he spoke with us. He and his team worked hand in hand with VIEW Restaurant and Bar’s Chef Hans Christian to prepare this special menu.
Francisco has been with The Savoy since May 2013 when he joined as a Sous Chef. In Mar 2014, he was promoted to Head Chef of Thames Kitchen where he was responsible for in-room dining, Thames Foyer Restaurant, Afternoon Tea, Beaufort and American Bar. Since June 2015, Francisco has been the Executive Sous Chef.
Prior to joining The Savoy, Francisco has been with Sheraton Hotel Stockholm, The Langham London, Wyndham Grand Chelsea Harbour and Connaught Hotel amongst others.
Staying At Fairmont Jakarta
Room 1706 was my room. The 49 sqm Fairmont Room had a view of the City Skyline. The spacious room’s wooden flooring was perfect for me. I prefer uncarpeted flooring anytime. The room had all the amenities and comforts expected of a five-star business hotel.
The bathroom has a separate shower and bathtub which are enclosed within the same area which I thought was quite smartly designed. It gives you a bit more space to shower instead of being constrained within the confines of the conventional shower area at most hotels.
I was first introduced to Le Labo’s Rose 31 toiletries when I stayed a Fairmont Bab Al Bahr in Abu Dhabi. These standard toiletries from the New York apothecary for Fairmont Hotels & Resorts around the world have become one of my favourites. And boy was I happy to get reacquainted with Le Labo at Fairmont Jakarta.
The aromatic rose fragrance that stays on your skin and creamy texture from the shampoo, conditioner and body lotion are what I like about Le Labo’s Rose 31.
The room overlooks the Gelora Bung Karno Sports Arena which will be one of the venues for the 18th Asian Games hosted by Jakarta from 18 August to 2 September 2018. The sports arena can accommodate 88,000 spectactors and was also the venue for the 2007 Asian Cup as well as the Sea Games in 1979, 1987, 1997 and 2011.
The hotel is also close to the Senayan National Golf Club which offers golfing in the city. Plaza Senayan Shopping Mall is conveniently connected to the hotel via an underground walkway.
Look out for our review of the Fairmont Jakarta which will be out at a later date.
This morning we took off from @Changiairport Runway 20 C to get to Jakarta on @Flyscoot TR2247. Managed to get this video from my aircraft. FYI Tigerair A320 aircraft will get a fresh coat of paint over the months to reflect the merger with Scoot. So you still have a chance to take photos of the old Tigerair livery before they dissapear eventually. . . . #flyscoot #a320 #planeporn #avgeek #aerosexual #flying #flight #airport #changiairport #windowpeek #planespotting #takeoff #singapore #tigerair #airline #airplanes #morning #saturday #accorhotelsapac
Scoot from Singapore to Jakarta from as low as S$55, or to Surabaya from S$74 for travel by 24 March 2018!