Across from Cut Meutia Mosque in Menteng stands Bistro Boulevard restaurant and lounge with its classic Batavia architecture. Once controversial for going by the name of Buddha Bar, the owners redesigned the venue and the restaurant concept.
“The previous concept was not successful, but instead of giving up, we decided to try something new,” said Riyan Mudadalam, a restaurant spokesman.
The interior of the 97-year-old building was transformed from a red, dimly lit space to a bright, white-walled one. The Buddha statutes are gone. The foyer, which also functions as a waiting room and gallery, is filled with sculptures and large paintings. These items are numbered and prices are available upon request.
Bistro Boulevard now offers classic French cuisine with a modern twist. The menu features classic dishes such as oysters, snails and steak tartare created by executive chef Alex Ensor, who gained experience cooking French cuisine at the Sydney Opera House restaurant.
Bistro Boulevard has been up and running for about a month, and an official launch party is slated for September. Just last week, the restaurant hosted its first Lazy Sunday, a monthly bazaar and music event.
Those aren’t the only changes. Prices have also been lowered. The average price on the Buddha Bar ranged from Rp 200,000 ($23) to Rp 300,000, while the starting price at Bistro Boulevard is Rp 35,000. That doesn’t mean, however, that you can’t run up a big bill here. A shared, meat-heavy meal at Bistro Bar will cost you around Rp 1 million.
Bistro’s homemade bread and butter are made from 16 ingredients including duck jus, garlic, tarragon, thyme and parsley. It has a strong, curry-like after taste, which is addictive when paired with French fries.