Chef patron and force behind MDA’s line of restaurants, Andri Dionysius, is not a stranger to the Jakarta culinary scene. With over twenty years of experience, he helms restaurants with confidence and poise, translating his culinary ideas into a sophisticated dining experience.
I visited MDA’s latest establishment, Ironplate, where Chef Andri continues to showcase his genius live in front of the guests – and I know I’m in for a show. As I cozied into the sleek dining space that spotlights the flat iron grill in each dining table, he joined me for a pre-dinner conversation.
Reinventing classic chophouse and bistro-inspired dishes, Ironplate presents an avant-garde dining experience yet, presents a familiar flavor to the Indonesian taste buds. Chef Andri describes his vision for Ironplate as a ‘Franco-Asian steakhouse.’
“In a French restaurant, you’d always have a French top stove. It’s a stove, but the top part is a flat steel surface. Very similar concept to Japanese teppan,” he said. “We draw inspiration by being creative and having fun with dishes that already exist, and we turn it into a familiar taste,” Chef Andri continued.
Interestingly enough, Chef Andri himself never received training as a teppan chef, “I spent some time in a Japanese restaurant back in the US; that was how I supported myself to go to culinary school.” Chef Andri studied culinary in Le Cordon Bleu Pasadena while working in humble moms & pops teppanyaki diner. But his confidence and creativity shine through every dish as he marries concepts and techniques from the two culinary styles. “Nowadays, being good isn’t good enough,” he said, “One thing I always teach my guys in the kitchen is that you have to be your worst critic. You have to criticize yourself and see how you can elevate.”
“For me, consistent taste and service make a great dining experience,” he said as he started preparing for the dinner. He described himself as someone who likes figuring out things that are physically in front of him, and as he sets the stage with the mise en place, Chef Andri looks precisely where he needs to be.
My dinner commenced as Chef Andri stationed himself behind the teppan. The trinity of Hirame, Charcuterie, and Blue Air served as a tasteful opener. Each dish presents a distinctive characteristic: the Hirame pushes forward the freshness from its fish, paired with the tanginess of white ponzu and blood orange, and the house-cured duck jambon with shio kombu is presented in French packaging but with Asian umami flavors. Blue Air punctuates the trinity with its aerated Ibra cheese, honey butter paired with burnt grapes, and local cheese from the artisan Mazaraat.
Then, the Saucisson en Brioche, Mushroom Millefeuille, and Morel Rangoons were prepared on the teppan. Chef Andri started his show as I enjoyed the dishes, preparing the salmon rillette and Morel Rangoons. He utilizes a technique he crafted on his own: shallow frying. On the teppan, he creates a well using the good ole pancake batter and pours a moderate amount of oil, hence the name shallow frying.
But perhaps, one of the most interesting dishes at my dinner is the Paella Cigars. The dish features a day-old burnt paella bottom, soccarat, and uses it as a crispy wrapper for grilled Nobashi tiger shrimp.
Chef Andri continued preparing the next dish: Pillows on Pillow. As the name suggests, the dish is fresh and fluffy potato gnocchi prepared live, with giant tiger prawn and miso butter sauce presented on a pillow-like plate. The gnocchi itself isn’t prepared like traditional gnocchi, where you work on it on a floured surface but squeeze out of a piping bag. Chef Andri digs into his creativity to overcome the space limitations he has to work with but still comes up with an equally-tasting dish.
As dinner reached its peak, offerings of steaks graced my table: Plat de Cotes accordion cut karubi, and Tomosankaku Bottom Sirloin. Prepared on the teppan until it reaches the perfect char on the outside, they are basted with butter – going against conventional teppan rules. To pair with the steaks, Ironplate offers its selection of gourmet salt: truffle, miso habanero and herbes de provence. An accompaniment of Pommes “Anne” pairs the steak, whose texture reminds me of kouign amann in the form of potato.
To tie up the dinner with a ribbon, I enjoyed the La Vie En Rose and Wagyu Fat Brownie as a dessert. La Vie En Rose pushes forward more delicate flavours, with litchi creme patisserie, rose compote, and strawberry sherbet. Whereas the Wagyu Fat Brownie utilises leftover wagyu fat instead of butter, and pairs it with miso toffee, peanut butter crumbs, and popcorn ice cream & tuille. It really made for a memorable end of the dinner.
As I take in the experience I just had, I asked Chef Andri what constitutes a successful day for him in the kitchen, “Challenges are always going to be there. If no one complains in a day, that’s a success for me,” he said, followed by a chuckle. And it’s safe to say that the dinner was a success – it was fun and entertaining, with the showmanship of having a multi-course dinner prepared right in front of you as a fun treat. As I left the restaurant, I wondered just how soon I’ll be back for another taste of Ironplate.
Jl. Setia Budi Selatan No.7, RT.5/RW.1, Kuningan, Setia Budi, Kuningan, Kota Jakarta Selatan, Daerah Khusus Ibukota Jakarta 12910