Story by : CHARLENE GONDO
Styled by : IVAN T. SANTOSO
Photographed by : ZAINI RAHMAN
In the joyous month of December, Bogdan Vlase, the owner of Monty’s, Ivy and Nip & Dram invited his friends to have an early Christmas lunch in one of his restaurants. From singer to interior designers who are all as cheery as the month, the bevy get in depth about their success and their love of animals.
You wouldn’t think that the chic, upscale restaurant located in Darmawangsa area will be warm, full of laughter and intimate, but it is. The smiley waiter kindly greeted us as he opened the door for us to enter the venue. As soon as we were inside, there were a lovely middle-aged couple, a group of friends and even a business partner all seated, working on their mouth-watering food and shared a laughter to each other. We were pretty much amazed of the ambience until our eyes landed on a festive long table in the corner of the restaurant, that made us squeak “Pretty!” inside.
The table covered in white tablecloth was filled with romantic flowers; balancing its Christmas shining gold theme, featured white, pink and lavender-coloured flowers. Bollinger champagne was sitting pretty in its silver ice bucket. Tio Setyoso was busy arranging the table with the grand Vista Alegre plates collection he brought from his newly opened interior webstore : berriestore, before he realised we were there. “Hi!” greeted him with a smile, “Everyone will be ready not long from now”. They were finally seated at their already arranged seats, along with their own name cards on the table, except Bogdan. The restaurant owner was busy managing his staff to ensure everything goes perfectly, from preparing the food until filling up their glass of bevvy, a thing that never changed from eight and a half years ago when he was assigned to manage a bar in Jakarta. “I still remember meeting you in Buddha Bar, managed it all, and look at you now managing your own restaurant,” said Panca Makmun, proud. “You met him at a bar as well? I met him for the first time in Liquid Exchange,” added Balkis Agnia Penny, the principal designer of ‘Satu Penny’ interior agency. “I stole his microphone at Monty’s,” admitted Aidan Martin, London-based singer who just performed at Monty’s at the end of November. “Oh I just met him here,” Irma Lesmana, owner of MedSpa Beauty Clinic, laughed. When they admitted that they all love to drink together, most of them were all in fact met Bogdan in the bars he owns.
Being here for more than eight years, Bogdan has his own circle of friends who are all marking their names in Indonesia’s list of reputable people. One of them is Niniek Purnomo, Vice President of regulatory affairs from Blue Bird Group, who happen to love the creamy pumpkin soup being served as a starter. “We are always a foodie, we like to try new food,” said Bogdan, approved by Niniek’s nod while enjoying the soup. “That’s basically our activity together : hang out, trying out new food. We went to several trips, to Bali and Los Angeles, in addition of our hangout routinity in Ivy and Monty’s,” Panca explained from the other side of the table. “We also like to do things we can’t do in Jakarta, like walking, go to the park and to the dog shelters. Me and Bogdan each adopt one German Shepherd from LA and ew them here,” added Niniek.
As the chef cut the freshly roasted rosemary chicken and arranged it beautifully with confit potato, asparagus, gravy and add cranberry sauce to balance the meaty taste in front of our eyes, we continued deeper to our conversation. We were so intrigued about the fact that they also profoundly care about animal lives and welfare, despite of their municipal life. We finally began to ask Davina Veronica whether she inuenced her friends to love animals as she owns a well-known animal shelter that currently accommodate more than 30 dogs. “No no, we were already a natural animal lover. I knew Niniek for the rst time because we planned a trip of WWF Indonesia together,” she chuckled as she thanked the chef for serving her a vegetarian meal instead of the roasted chicken. “Niniek and Bogdan are in fact the one and only biggest donators for Garda Satwa Indonesia (her animal shelter). Every three months they will supply our dogs’ need such as food, vitamins and their sanitation as well. Oh, also their medical expense.”
The first bottle of wine was opened, second bevvy of this afternoon, before the heavenly peach mille feuille with strawberry sauce arriving at our table. “I’m living in London and there’s no place like this and Monty’s. I think London’s missing out big time,” praised Aidan who had been pretty much the star of the table because of his bubbly personality. “We like this place so much,” the other agreed.
The longer we sat with them, the more we learnt that their friendship is not merely like those shallow friendships. They are all successful, and at the same time they help each other to achieve more by being humble and helping those who are in needs, and in this case : stray animals. Bogdan’s love of animals was proven as he made Ivy as one of the few restaurants in Jakarta who allows customer to bring their dogs. Finally, before we sipped our last glass of wine, we asked him what’s the secret of Ivy’s success.
“We renovate the venue completely, open it up, so people can see it from the outside. We mix Indonesian food along with Western food in the menu. We have acoustic music and happy hours. We believe in mouth-to-mouth advertising, as you can see all of the customers here are our own friends therefore make this place very exclusive,” explained him. Now we know what it is behind the warm atmosphere of this restaurant. “And check the view, doesn’t feel like in Jakarta, does it?” Niniek added as she pointed the view looking out from the façade, a peaceful road full of trees, barely any cars passing.