This place has been on my wish list for months, as I’ve been craving a lot of Spanish food these days.
Since Plan B is closed on Sundays, it’s gotten itself higher on my priority list. Besides, it’s one of those rare Spanish restaurants in town that are authentic – all the more reason I hesitate no more.
From the outside, it looks like a regular cafe. Humble, warm, inviting. When you step inside, you’ll see that Plan B is more like a restaurant with a casual flair. This makes it attractive to a diverse house of patrons – you have everyone from overdressed ladies to 40-something men with their cigarettes and in their flip flops, and you have people coming from the north and the bules from central Jakarta.
On the night of my visit, every few minutes or so there’s a group of people who went ahead to the bar to greet Chef Oskar Urzelai, the vivacious man behind Plan B. In fact, by 10pm, Chef Oskar was circulating the house with a gigantic red wine dispenser and asked random people to open their mouths, so he could shoot them with a few pints of the vinos. I was watching my friend who got the shot and was laughing at him, and then Chef Oskar moved his eyes toward me. I pointed at my boyfriend instead, lol. It was a lively place and everyone was pleased with his spirit.
There were lots of tapas and pinchos to begin with, everything from egg dishes to croquettes to meats and seafood, even vegetarian selections. We got ourselves the Green Peppers Stuffed with Prawns (IDR 35,000). They were out of green peppers that night, so they made it out of paprika.
This is a classic Spanish tapa I’ve been wanting to try. How did it turn out? Well, peppers are soft as cushions, creamy mayo-heavy stuffing was great and buttery, and the shrimps within the stuffing were well-baked, well-seasoned, and well-integrated with the rest of the ingredients. I just wish there were more shrimps and that the overall portion is bigger. Plus, it’s apparent that the tomato-based sauce was pre-made and then warmed, so it doesn’t taste as fresh as it should be. Personally, I’d add more powdered paprika to the stuffing and to the seasonings of the prawns.
Another tapa we had was the Octopus Cometas Style (IDR 38,000). It’s the famous Galician-style octopus dish that’s rich in paprika.
The quality of octopus is unquestionable. If you like squishy things and pulpous textures, you’ll dig this. However, I’d say that it’s richer in onions than it is in paprika. It’s obvious that they’re adapting to the taste buds of local eaters (I’ll never have enough garlic and onions), though I actually want the real thing. I’d also add more potato to the boiling pot to bulk up the dressing’s texture and cover the extra sweetness from the paprika.
Then, here comes the star of the night: The Black Paella with Ali Oli (IDR 175,000). Plan B has, like, 3 other paella dishes that all come in servings for 2 and take 20 minutes to prepare, so that’s a cue on how high you can set your expectations when you order their paella dishes.
You have about 4 ounces of garlic mayo on the side to mush up your arros in any way you like. And yes, I’m a cream freak so lots of velvety mayo on this doughy rice was high-level comfort.
In most places in town, your seafood paella is so dedicated to the masses and compromised to the point that it’s dry and whipped straight out of squid ink-infused rice that you can easily buy in grocery stores. This one’s different. It abode by the traditional Catalan style, leaves you a black tongue, and the seafood themselves are far from shabby. This is where textures play a big part in its deliciousness – those squids are juicy and spongy at the same time. The chunks just blend so beautifully with all the mushiness from the paella and mayo.
At first I wished they’d include more seafoods and bigger ones, but the more I ate them, the more I felt it’ll defeat the whole purpose of eating paella – it’s meant to be a warm and fluffy comfort food~
Due to how well it’s known for its authenticity, I’ve set the bar relatively high before coming to Plan B. In the end, I’m giving it a 3.5 out of 5.
To be fair, there are plenty more dishes I haven’t tried on their menu, so I’d definitely come back here to venture beyond the sea, particularly on their fideua dishes and the baked pastries they have by the bar (I was tempted to buy their tiramisu for to-go, but decided that I’ll have a reason to come back).
Jalan Tentara Pelajar
Rukan Permata Senayan
Blok D 25-26
Jakarta Selatan 12210
+62 (0)21 5794 0821
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M – Sa 08:00am – 12:00am