Sharing is Caring
One fine and hot morning we travelled all the way to West Jakarta (an area I know very little about) to visit a friend and have a much needed catch up. It was a few days before the second lockdown in Jakarta and I feel grateful to be able to have the chance to visit his sanctuary in the midst of industrial West Jakarta.
As we arrived at Parama Space, we were blown away by the size of this rustic industrial blank canvas. This big building used to be a bolt factory, now turned into a chic space for events like weddings and houses huge production studios inside. However, if you wandered deep enough you can find a little oasis, a cozy teal coloured oasis in this big industrial space.
It says “Coffee/Breakfast/Lunch/Dinner” on its facade and a bright neon tagline inside that shouts “Sharing is Caring”. This oasis is home to Savior Table, three people were working there that day, one chef, one server, and Edgar himself.
I was first introduced to Edgar during IMAJI Studio’s last exhibition (IMAJI Studio x Sulla Home) he was the owner of a chic fine dining restaurant in the heart of Jakarta called Savior Pakubuwono. The restaurant had been there since 2018 catering to mostly expat clientelles and private events. Serving handmade pasta, imported Japanese beef, and the most exquisite truffle risotto in Jakarta (in my humble opinion). But when the pandemic started they had to shift gears, most of their expat clientelles went back abroad, people were no longer indulging themselves with fine dining experiences moreover events.
After the first lockdown in March (a day after our exhibition ended), Edgar and his team stuck around until April and had to reassess the situation. They scaled significantly down and took a more sustainable approach to their business.
We used a lot of imported ingredients for Savior Pakubuwono, we imported beef from Japan and things from Europe. So as we step back from our business model we look for ways in how to incorporate local ingredients to create international standard dishes.”
It started with the intention to help his team, one his employee’s wife sells chilli in the traditional market and when the pandemic started, traditional markets in Jakarta was hit the hardest. So Edgar started sourcing ingredients from traditional market vendors. The team focused on what they do best, make quality sauces that are convenient to use during lockdown. We can agree that lockdown is making everybody a great home cook.
Now we source directly to the vendors from the traditional market.They supply us daily with fresh ingredients and we pay them right away, there are no installments or due dates like before with big suppliers. It is a healthier food supply chain for us.”
Edgar spent 7 years working for a bank in Japan catering to the exclusive clienteles mainly handling private events, banquets, and private dining. The work ranges from designing the client’s menu, arranging their dining experience, to getting the chef to come to their tables. Edgar reminisced, “Although the job exists in different countries, attention to detail in the service and the hospitality industry is uniquely a Japanese culture.” From this experience he always reminds his team that they are not in the F&B business they are in the hospitality industry therefore scaling down does not mean service cannot be impeccable.
Today, Edgar and his team work together to make sure Savior Table flourishes. Establishing their new venue just a hundred meters from their old one in collaboration with Beyoutiful Clinic, only serving bookings and intimate dinners. “They are no longer my staff, they are my partners. It’s a basic rule of adapting and surviving. Everyone of them has to learn to multitask, if you were a cook once now you are not just a cook. You have to be able to cook, and to present yourself too.” Edgar does profit-sharing with his team as his new business model to drive and motivate them by cultivating a sense of belonging to the brand.
Bringing us back to the yellow neon light inside the teal colored kitchen that says “Sharing is Caring” I have come to understand that the tagline itself does not only apply to Savior Table’s customers but to the team too. Where it started with a good intention to help out an individual became an idea that would feed plenty of mouths. Life is a cycle and when we put a positive perspective on things, it may not turn out the way we expect it too but it can turn out for the better. Its reassessment and scaling down actually brought Edgar and his team back to their roots. Savior Table is a testament of bigger isn’t neccessarily better, instead an intangible aspect of survivability in this pandemic starts with humanity and caring for others.
IMAJI Studio for Savior Table
We had the pleasure of designing Savior Table’s new naturally dyed uniform for their newest revival in the clinic. Savior table deliver a decadent array of flavors from spices collected throughout Indonesia’s archipelagi with Japanese finesse. We pay homage to Edgar’s Japanese rootss by using the shibori method for the motif, that is inspired by topography lines found in maps.
Advice for people whose business are still struggling in the pandemic:
“Be realistic, base your decision on your financial strength. Don’t lose time or lose sleep doing something that will burden you. Always adapt and stay efficient, do things yourself if you can and don’t forget to stay creative and have empathy for others.”
Now Serving at Beyoutiful Clinic
Jl. Pakubuwono Vi no. 5a, South Jakarta
Daily In House Dining 9:00 AM-5:00 PM
Rooftop & Private Dining by RSVP only
Delivery via Gojek: Savior Table