Up in Smoke – Here’s the Beef

There’s a lot of delicious meat on the menu at Up in Smoke–and a whole lot more, all grilled or smoked to perfection.

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Justin Sumarta Mu is local boy. Zach Nice is a Texas transplant. The pair have paid their dues as masters of meat, serving smoked pork and other delights at pop-ups in Jakarta for years before launching Up in Smoke in July in the RDTX Tower, just steps from Jl. Kasablanka on the fringe of Mega Kuningan.

At the center of the restaurant is a large, open-air island-style kitchen that’s home to two cherry-red imported stick-burner smokers, made by J&R Manufacturing from Mesquite, Texas in the US.

Operating 16 hours a day and fuelled by rambutan wood, the smokers imbue tenderness and explosive flavors to pork bellies and briskets, chickens and rib eye, burnt ends, tomahawk steaks–and more.

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Talking to Justin at the restaurant’s full bar–a consulting bartender from Nobu devised the bourbon-heavy menu–it’s obvious that he and Zach love meat and like to experiment–just don’t ask about the 100 kilograms of “mistakes” buried in the backyard.

Justin says that Up in Smoke’s Chef Rapha, a Nobu-trained Bay Area nomad, transformed the recipes devised by the pair from dishes that were delicious into those that are absolutely delightful.

Stand-out starters include spiced pickles, deep fried until rich brown and sliced thin to strike a perfect balance between the sweet and sour of the pickles and the savoury, spiced batter.

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A must-have main is the smoked chicken, which falls apart when touched, served with baby romaine, herbs, pickled onions–and worth it just for the mayo-based barbecue-friendly Alabama White Sauce.

While most meats on the menu are imports, check out the Papuan wild-boar sausage–made from sustainably harvested free-range pork that comes straight out of pristine rainforests and has a earthy texture and crumbles in the mouth.

Justin says to skip rice and pair your protein with vegetables like his broccoli–grilled, of course–paired with pickled gold raisins, spiced cashews and brushed with a nut-and-red-pepper Romesco sauce.

The broccoli, like all the produce on offer, is organic and locally sourced. Servers say it’s one the most popular dishes in the house–high praise, given Up in Smoke’s superior smoked meat dishes.

If possible–¬and it might not be–save room for the Up In Smoke S’more for dessert with honey marshmallows, chocolate-chip ice cream and the kicker, homemade brown-butter graham crackers.

Non-omnivores note: pork is confined to a single grill and guests can order from the menu of One-Eyed Jacks, the modern izakaya-style dining specializing in yakitori that shares space with Up in Smoke.

RDTX Tower, Lobby Level
Jalan Prof. Dr. Satrio, KAV E-4, No. 6, Mega Kuningan, Jakarta
T: +622157992371
Instagram: @upinsmokejkt
Facebook upinsmokejkt
Twitter: @upinsmokejkt

Written by Christian Razukas Photographs by Yosua Yanuard November 20, 2017.