During resort stints in the Turks and Caicos Islands, chef Felix Sienatra cooked for the likes of Bruce Willis, the Kennedy clan and the moguls of Silicon Valley. But the 43-year-old has never been one for glitz and glamour, and now that he's back in his native Indonesia, he's probably happier than he has ever been. A large part of that comes from the chance to finally helm his own restaurant, the Wind Chime, tel: (62-22) 423 9963. Set in a gorgeous, 90-year-old Dutch colonial home in the backstreets of Bandung in West Java, the Wind Chime's tables are the most sought after in town, thanks to a combination of laid-back ambiance and classy, modern European cuisine. Perhaps that's to be expected from someone whose birthplace is Maluku the fabled Spice Islands of culinary yore.
"I find gratification in small things," says Sienatra, fondly known to regulars as Felix the Chef. In the case of the Wind Chime, that attitude translates into fastidiousness (think personalized menus and elaborate presentation) and food that is prepared slowly, with obvious dollops of love and care. The oven-baked chicken with veal sweetbread and mushrooms that we tried was the highlight of an eight-course set meal spread over two hours. The à la carte menu, including a wonderfully traditional Scotch broth, is similarly made for lingering over. "This is not a place to come if you are in a hurry," says Sienatra.
A dinner for two, with wine, comes to about $100 a head. That makes the Wind Chime terribly expensive by the standards of Bandung, but a real steal if you're used to prices in Jakarta, where something similar would cost at least double, and that's without the alcohol. File under "hidden gems."
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