A 'Capital' Affair
Surabaya's trendy west is booming with cool hangout spots, all of which follow the trail blazed by the virtual creators of the city's cocktail cultureÐCapital Restaurant and Lounge.
Photo by Octavio Baldacchino, Capital Doc.
"West Surabaya is place for the young generation," says Lenna Sumampow, one of the founders of the Capital Restaurant and Lounge, located in the Lenmarc Mall in Surabaya's now-booming west. "It's a fast-growing area."
Lenna, the owner representative for Bukit Darmo Property, which also manages the mall and its integral 9boulevard premium office tower, knows her business: Her family are also the restaurateurs behind popular eateries such as the Vietnamese-inspired Cali Deli, based in Jakarta.
The concept of Lenna and her partners chose for Capital was a casual bistro that was well designed, stylish and informal. It would be realised as restaurant grounded in the US of 1920s, which was the Jazz Age as well as the time of The Great Gatsby-and Prohibition. The designer behind the project was Emin Chong, currently the group managing director for the ED Design Group. Capital evokes a period speakeasy through its use of dark timber, wooden floor, exposed white brick and vintage light fittings and decorations, such as Tiffany-style lamps, much of which came from the personal collections of the owners. Lighting is appropriately subdued, adding to the atmosphere.
On layout and design, the restaurant features a semi-outdoor dining area, where revellers can enjoy a meal and perhaps a cigar from The Capital's well-equipped humidor, which features a selection of stogies, including hand-rolled Cohibas from Cuba.
A private room, dubbed the Board Room, isn't for a mob kingpin, and is dominated by a long table of dark timber. The Board Room is separated from the main dining area by a large opening and half wall topped by a window, while lighting comes via a chandelier that takes the form of coiled metal wire work tipped with light fixtures.
For the main indoor dining area, Chong bifurcated the space with two back-to-back leather-lined rows of seats flanked by tables and chairs. Gorgeous Art Noveau style stained glass emblazoned with the word "Capital" runs the length of the seats. At the end of the dining area is a pair of immense curving leather booths, separated by a vintage gramophone and fronted by round tables. Behind the booths is an exposed white brick wall decorated with a selection of black-and- white period photographs to evoke the 1920s theme: Images of flappers and molls are mixed with those Babe Ruth and period newspaper ads.
The booths form an intimate space for a dining experience. While the restaurant's head chef is from Bali, Lenna says that she crafted the menu. "It's simple comfort food that people can understand." Most popular are well-crafted and presented standards such as baby-back ribs and a "Las Vegas" bacon cheeseburger. However, the centrepiece of Capital is the 12-meter marble bar counter that wraps around the restaurant's core. It's been adorned by pieces evoking a retro feel, such as a television screen that's delightfully disguised as a vintage television set from the 1950s.
The prominent position of the bar is natural: Capital was among the first serious purveyors of wine and cocktail culture in Surabaya. Lenna says that the challenge was how to introduce a dash of sophistication to a crowd used to drinking their spirits straight-and to winding down by 10 p.m. Other than offering pub staples such as live music and a dart board, one of Capital's solutions was to launch "The Uncorked Cellar", where a selection of fine French and Australian wines are kept on rustic racks in a dramatically-lit, climate-controlled environment.
Lenna is not satis ed, however, and continues to innovate. She would like to add some cocktails and mocktails that feature exotic flavours such as durian and red velvet, as well as beers flavoured with kiwi, or melon and maybe soju rice wine cocktails mixed with rum-or even Yakult yoghurt. On the future of the restaurant, Lenna is upbeat. "Five years after Capital was established, this is still the most hip place to be."
Lenmarc Ground Floor
Jl. Mayjend Yono Soewoyo No. 9 Surabaya, 60226
T. +6231 5116 2899